If your band isn’t going to do an amazing amount to really set your sound apart from the rest when it comes to the sound itself, then you better be damned sure it’s intriguing to start off with. Otherwise, it’ll come off boring and make you seem like yet another cookie-cutter band that gets old after a while. I had never listened to Byzantine before, and I had a slight fear that they would be a boring band that I’d have to dismiss immediately, but if their new album of “The Cicada Tree” is anything it’s definitely not boring.
To simply create metal that is melodic is a thing that’s been done for decades, and it’s still very much a thing that goes on today, of course. Byzantine has been one of those bands that I’ve heard over the years that’s more . . . “friendly” metal in a way that it’s not overly heavy, definitely metal not rock, and rhythmic the likes of which is quite tantalizing. And with an apparent return to form that had reached my attention, I felt that “The Cicada Tree” would be a solid place as any to go into the world of Byzantine. The eleven tracks that we’re presented with for this record are by no means pushover material, but it’s neither weak nor incredibly gripping. “The Cicada Tree” really fell in the middle for me after several listens, albeit leaning more towards the positive end simply because the harmony of the vocals, the sick rhythms, and overall sound all worked out pretty well and allowed the listener to access the whole of “The Cicada Tree” quite seamlessly. However, there just wasn’t all that much staying power that Byzantine had throughout the album outside of some riffs that were, admittedly, very tasty, but after they left we were confronted with a slightly generically framed example of melodic metal that gets a little old after a while. But despite all that, Byzantine still managed to pull through just barely with “The Cicada Tree” to show that they’ve still a fair grasp on their original style while still seemingly not keepings their horizons narrow, and I can easily respect that.
This is a piece that has just about as many positives as it does negatives, but I’m hopeful that there’s talent behind Byzantine that I’m simply missing because I’m not familiar with the band’s previous material. “The Cicada Tree” is a respectable album no question, and I think I owe it to myself and Byzantine to do more investigation into the group. Who knows? Maybe I’ll come full circle and call “The Cicada Tree” the fucking shit in a month. Only time will tell . . . now where to begin?
BUY “The Cicada Tree” via iTunes here.
LISTEN to “The Cicada Tree” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Byzantine on Facebook here.