To Release is to Resolve (April 7, 2015)
I don't know how, but I never really offered my ear to these guys before coming across this; actually, like 85% of the whole New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement (NWoAHM from here on out) kinda slipped under the radar. That being said, the new release from the West Virginian neo-thrashers has compelled me to rectify that.
This is some balls-to-the-wall metal right here, man. The first time I listened to it, I just banged my head and smiled. Frontman OJ is his own man, but occasionally passages lead me to believe he has transformed into Phil Anselmo, particularly on the tracks "A Curious Lot" and "The Agonies"; his growls and screams are war cries, beckoning you to get into the pit.
But the album is so much more than just a rocking thrash record and it took me my second listen to truly comprehend that; there is a complexity to the arrangement and technique to the instrumentation that dares me to call this music cerebral; it's not Devin Townsend level thinking man's metal, but it's a step in that direction. The guitar work is splendid. The majority of the record I'd say brings to mind a combination of Lamb of God and Nevermore, with some Meshuggah thrown into the mix on songs like "To Release".
It's a kickass record. Pick it up. Byzantine'll rock your face, mind, body, and soul. I'll have to check around the competition, but as it stands right now, it's probably one of the top five thrash albums of 2015. And if you're in West Virginia, the band has a couple shows later this month. Check 'em out!