“Salvation” by Byzantine

Artist: Byzantine
Title: “Salvation”
Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Date: 4/17/2007
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

After touring for their album “And They Shall Take Up Serpents”, the West Virginian Thrashers in Byzantine decided to deliver a DVD video to the fans that doesn’t follow the conventional manner of such things. Yes, there are videos and live footage along with interview stuff but the whole package is laid out quite differently. It begins with several songs performed in the studio and they all have a short clip from an original film they shot leading into it which seems to follow the story of a young lady in an ambulance who is already dead or dying. These are straight performance clips and there is not much to them in terms of overall content except for the solid thrashing Metal and that is actually never a bad thing as opposed to wide scenery and content which matters little to the end result. The fact that they present a number of songs to the viewer in this fashion reminded me of when I would sit in on my friend’s band practices as they showed off their wares and chilled with those who knew them outside of the gigging environment. It was rather intimate, even for a Heavy Metal band. They didn’t do a bad job with this section to be honest and it’s a quick moving half an hour of Metal. One thing I have found myself enjoying most about the music of Byzantine is the level of groove in their overall riffing. It’s very much the kind of stuff that one likes to head bang to when it comes down to it and more people are leaning to this kind of Metal as that which serves their need based on it having just a little more “oomph”. The guys also make sure to hand over a healthy amount of bonus features as well so we can discuss them now.

Bonus Features: “Jeremiad” video, Guitar & Bass Tutorials, Interviews, Behind The Scenes, Live Concert Bootlegs, Deleted Scenes and Outtakes, Photo Gallery. The video for “Jeremiad” has a great song behind it but I wasn’t really too sure about what was happening in the video. It revolves around a Funeral Home but I think I was looking for a little more story in the images I was seeing in the final version. Still it’s nice to see some of the cut scenes on the DVD as an added bonus piece. The tutorials with guitarist Tony Rohbrough and bassist Skip Cromer might appeal best to the axe-slinger who views the film, but I also felt it was nice to hear their own take on the music world of today and how they approach it. I’ve never been too big on deleted scenes and outtakes and this footage needed the option of playing all rather than stopping and returning you back to the menu. There is the standard band messing with one another while wasted and general goofing around. The best part for me as far as the bonus content is concerned was in the live concert bootlegs and in this segment we get five full songs from the group (“Hatfield”, “Stoning Judas”, Slipping On Noise”, Five Faces Of Madness”, and “Justicia”) – this footage is fan shot and from small clubs it seems. A priceless moment is when they begin to jam on “Detroit Rock City” and inform the crowd that if they are going to play KISS then they need to go back out and pay eighty dollars to come back in.

Overall this is the kind of DVD that the diehard fan would most appreciate because it takes some cool aspects of their daily routine and blends it together with their films and live footage. If you are a fan of Metal that has the older school vibe of Thrash meets Groove then you would enjoy this one.

Track Listing:
1. The Beginning
2. Kill Chain
3. Taking Up Serpents
4. Stick Figure
5. Salem Ark
6. Red Neck War
7. Cradle Song
8. The End

Official Website: www.byzantine.org

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