"And They Shall Take Up Serpents" (Prosthetic; 2005)

Reviewed by Snidermann

When the new Byzantine CD came to me to review, I knew I was in for something special -- and I was not disappointed. 

"And They Shall Take Up Serpents" thunders along at such a relentless pace, I had to take a rest break half way through. Byzantine is one of those band that puts it all up front for you to hear at and let me tell you, anyone who's into hard and heavy music, go out right now and check out this band. 

I spun this CD three times in a row from the moment I got it and, frankly, I can't get enough. 

In today's musical stalemate, Byzantine breathes a breath of fresh air in a metal scene that needs a powerful band at the for front.

For more information visit

"2003 European Sampler EP" (Self-produced; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was fortunate enough to catch Byzantine in concert as they were one of the opening acts for a recent Lamb Of God show in Baltimore during the Summer of 2003. At the time, I didn't know how fortunate I was to be witnessing their performance but it's now readily apparent to me. Seeing the band perform was enough to make me realize that they were worth keeping an eye on. Byzantine merged an old-school style with modern sounds for a refreshing combination. It wasn't completely easy to get a handle on the band's abilities when I saw them live, having not heard any of their studio work before, but it was enough to know that Byzantine had something unique to work with.

Byzantine was kind enough to forward a copy of the European demo they've been shopping around. Of course, by the time I got my lazy ass around to listening to it, Byzantine had already signed and announced a three-album deal with Prosthetic Records. They say hindsight is 20/20, but listening to "2003 European Sampler EP" was enough to quickly realize that Prosthetic Records' judgment of the band's abilities and commitment to the band was right on target.

Even a cursory listen to Byzantine's "2003 European Sampler EP" is enough to make you realize this band has struck upon a creative merging of thrash metal's staccato aggression while infusing a host of modern and evolved metallic styles without resorting to trendy idioms. Elements of progressive metal (think Meshuggah) and hardcore (the sturdy drumming comes to mind) provide a host of opportunities for Byzantine to add fresh angles to the classic thrash vibe that underscores their songs. The inclusion of actual guitar solos (!!!!) is refreshing and only adds to the desire to root for the band's success. The vocals range from gritty growls to melodic.

Of the six tracks "Hatfield" is probably my favorite because it fuses all of the band's best qualities into one condensed and intense gem of a song. "The Filth Of Our Underlings" rates a very close second as the song's progressive tendencies really catch my ear. Regardless, the other four tracks all wind their way around complex and charging rhythms all the while dangling melody and song-writing chops in front of you and daring you to take notice.

Byzantine's "European Sampler EP 2003" keeps things heavy and intense without falling prone to being a blur of noise. The six tracks contained herein should whet your appetite for what this band will soon offer through their first full-length disc to be produced by Chris Adler (Lamb Of God) and David White (Full Devil Jacket).

Byzantine is an act to watch out for.

"European Sampler EP 2003" was produced by Byzantine and Russ Fox.

Byzantine is OJ on vocals and rhythm guitar, Tony on lead guitar, Cid on bass, and Wolfe on drums.

For more information visit

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:10 -0400 .