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avatar for Byzantine


Byzantine The warthog chasing the butterfly: a lumbering, snarled beast out of a nightmare, chasing the erratic dance of a delicate, winged insect. Founder and front man, Chris Ojeda, stated, "early on in our career, when we were still in the demo phase, a friend described our music as sounding like a warthog chasing a butterfly: the juxtaposition of jagged rhythms alongside melody. That comment really struck a chord with me and I thought then that we may be onto something." In 2000, West Virginia natives Tony Rohrbough, Chris "Cid" Adams, and Ojeda found themselves writing music together after their former bands fell apart. For the next two years, Byzantine operated as a 3 piece, backed by a drum machine; recording two demos and playing select local shows. It wasn't until guitarist/drummer, Matt Wolfe, joined in 2002 that the full brunt of Byzantine could be seen and heard. Byzantine's new lineup quickly caught the attention of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, whose band just finished recording their groundbreaking album, "As the Palaces Burn". Ojeda remarked, "Adler contacted us and said he loved our demo and asked if we would like to do a few support shows along the East Coast. This was our ticket out of West Virginia and we jumped at the opportunity." Byzantine signed with Prosthetic Records soon after and released their debut album, "The Fundamental Component" in 2004. In the summer of 2005, Byzantine began work on their second album. Chris Adams parted ways with the band before the release of their sophomore album, "…And they shall take up Serpents". This album defined the band's unique style: a perfect blend of equal parts Pantera, Testament, Meshuggah, and Opeth. Pittsburgh area musician, Michael "Skip" Cromer, was hired to fill the open bass position and the band finally had a cohesive lineup. In 2007, the band released their third album, "Oblivion Beckons". This album was slated to propel the band across the heavy metal landscape. Unfortunately, the album never lived up to its potential as Byzantine disbanded 1 day after the album's release due to financial hardships. "We were immensely ill equipped to be a professional band," Ojeda said. "We didn't have a manager, a lawyer, or a booking agency. We had no clue how to run a band like a business. We basically threw a chain around ourselves and jumped in the water: sink or swim. The music swam and the musicians sank. It was a very dark time in our lives: failing at something we had worked so hard for." Five years later, Byzantine reunited and started writing new music. This time around, the band would take a complete DIY approach. Byzantine used Kickstarter to raise enough money to fund their comeback album, simply titled "Byzantine". Released in 2013, "Byzantine" took the metal world by complete surprise; garnering multiple 'Album of the Year' awards and solidifying the band's cult, underground status as one of the most underrated bands of the NWOAHM movement. Later in 2013, new members Sean Sydnor and Brian Henderson replaced former bassist Cromer and founding member Rohrbough, respectively. With the band's fifth album in the works "To Release is to Resolve", Byzantine has joined up with booking agency, Tone Deaf Touring, and the world class PR and marketing company, The Syndicate. Ojeda stated, "We were completely gone in 2007; to have a second chance to make a first impression is a blessing we do not take lightly. We slammed the door on ourselves in 2007 and now we are forcing it back open. This time around, we are not going away without a fight."

My Bands Sessions

Wednesday, March 18

11:00pm CDT