March 27, 2006

Three heavy hitters from Prosthetic Records

CANNAE - Gold Becomes Sacrifice

CANNAE (KA-nigh) is named after one of history's most celebrated military achievements, taking place in the summer of 216 BCE. Hannibal led his troops through the Alps, elephants in tow, into Italy and defeated the mighty Roman army, despite being outnumbered in what has been dubbed the "world's bloodiest battle" still to this day, topping both the crusades and two world wars.

From the evaporation of original members’ previous bands (fortydaysrain, Ookla The Mok and Grimlock), CANNAE immediately came out swinging the release of their debut album, Troubleshooting Death in 2000. An all out slugfest, Troubleshooting Death was produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge, Cave In), and helped usher in the rising success of the metal and hardcore scene in Massachusetts upon its release, making CANNAE a force to be reckoned with.
After a succession of successful Northeast shows and tours alongside the demise of the band’s first record label, CANNAE inked a deal with Los Angeles’ Prosthetic Records. 2003 saw the band release their Prosthetic debut, Horror, produced by Killswitch Engage’s Adam Dutkiewicz.

Shortly after the release of Horror, in the midst of mass praise, drummer Michael Boutillette left the band. After a summer tour with a last-minute session drummer, Colin Conway (Frozen, ex-The Year of Our Lord) took over the drum throne. After touring extensively with metal heavyweights Chimaira, Soilwork, Bury Your Dead, Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying and 3 Inches of Blood, CANNAE saw more line-up changes within their ranks. Bassist Daniel Campenella and guitarist Jason Zucco went their ways in the spring of 2004. Shortly thereafter, Shane Frisby (then the band’s tour manager) came into the fold already knowing the songs. He quickly snatched up a bass and has been pounding it out ever since. Still lacking a second guitarist, numerous shows were played throughout New England with Zucco filling in until a suitable replacement could be found.

After coming out of countless auditions for a new guitar player empty-handed, the band headed down to Florida as a four-piece to record GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE with producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, God Forbid) in early 2005. Conway handled the drumming and second guitarist responsibilities, temporarily filling the vacant spot. Guest solos from both Suecof and the legendary James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Testament) were laid down for inclusion GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE. It wasn't until the end of the recording process that CANNAE met guitarist Alex Vieira (Capharnaum) who was more than eager to join up and record a few solos of his own.

Swinging in full force with the juggernaut GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE behind them, CANNAE hits the metal scene with their most focused and mature effort to date. Showcasing rabid musical intensity and technicality, combined with vocalist Adam DuLong’s harsh, yet articulate vocals and unparalleled fret board talent, GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE is an abrasive, brutal record for fans of metal and hardcore alike. This is one record that will separate CANNAE from the rest of the crowd, catapulting the band above and beyond the current trends and fashions in metal.
Hannibal and his motley troops’ historic victory over the superior Roman forces teaches everyone an important lesson that war is often won with intangibles such as fierce dedication and unity towards a common purpose. Such is the case for CANNAE, a band with unparalleled dedication and intensity. GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE is just the beginning.


BYZANTINE - And They Shall Take Up Serpents

"I think we have a knack for achieving a good balance of chaos and melody," explains Byzantine singer/guitarist Chris Ojeda. "The warthog chasing the butterfly."

Byzantine have translated their interest in religion in American society, the idea of extraterrestrial life, and Southern history/heritage into an unorthodox brand of heavy music. While these themes might bring to mind bands like Slayer, Meshuggah and Clutch, one should imagine a pure and wide-reaching amalgamation of these and so many more bands to understand what Byzantine have accomplished with The Fundamental Component.

The quartet's debut full length, The Fundamental Component is characterized by long songs, melodic thrash and Tony Rohrbough's scathing guitar solos while still embracing technical chaos and the violent groove of bassist Chris Adams and drummer Matt Wolfe. As such, the band have shared the stage with bands as diverse as Lamb Of God, Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall and Nora, and joined a roster featuring similarly talented bands like Himsa, All That Remains, Cannae and Crematorium.

To be sure, growing up in West Virginia has helped Byzantine develop a unique sound. Without a dominating hometown scene dictating sound and style no SoCal hardcore, no NYHC, etc. Byzantine have been free to mold their fondness for bands like Testament and Meshuggah into a unique hybrid of melody, rhythm and aggression that is familiar and attractive without feeling regressive or clich»d.

ÏWe are quite alienated from any big scene,Ó explains Ojeda. ÏTherefore, we tend to think for ourselves a lot more when writing material. We have just as much influence from Skynard and Chet Atkins around us as we do Slayer and Overkill. So we mostly just write what we know.Ó

Despite all its forward-leaning tendencies, what Byzantine know has more that a small throwback to the heyday of thrash. In the grand tradition of Hetfield, Mustaine, Cavalera and Shuldiner, Ojeda plays guitar while singing no small task. Need proof? When was the last time you saw a guitar-playing frontman in this generation of metal? It's truly a dying breed.

Ultimately, Byzantine aren't about this generation or that, progressive or retro, circle pits or floor punches, they're about making solid albums and good heavy metal songs. Strong out of the gate and strong in the finish.


CREMATORIUM - The Process of Endtime

First breathing life in 1991, Crematorium entered the Los Angeles underground scene as a band that would defy the preset laws of what extreme music was in the scene of the day. Hints of what was to come was evident in even the bands early works such as the Dark Manifestations (1993) demo, the Unholy Massacre (1994) EP and the Epicediums Of The Damned (1997) full length. Recording various cover songs for compilation albums through 1997-1998, Crematorium laid to waste the Metallica classic Whiplash which threw the band in the faces of fans allover the world. Though the band had their own material, fans found it hard to find anything out about this band. Sadly enough the band was plagued with an ever changing line-up and when things seemed to be looking up, Crematorium fell out of existence.

Throughout the years of 1998 through the end of 2000, Crematorium laid dead in the water and nothing was heard from them. After 2 years and a lot of trying Crematorium finally made the commitment to try the idea of being a band again. During 2001 Crematorium entered DDG studios to record the now classic and out of print A World Where Only Nightmares Prevail (2001) EP. The EP served as a raw offering which saw Crematorium further expand upon their sound and add a new level of dedication from the core of the band.

Playing shows and gathering reviews and radio airplay throughout 2001, Crematorium caught the eye of Prosthetic records and a deal was signed immediately. In 2002 Crematorium entered Speed Semen Clove Factory and began recording the For All Our Sins (2002) full length with Michael Rozon (recorded, mixed, mastered, produced). For All Our Sins yet again saw Crematorium experimenting with their sound and yet again pushing them into a realm all their own.

The new full length goes from dark ambient noise to old school style groove oriented death metal to sludgey doom breakdowns to metalcore style progressions to thrash metal influenced riffing to old school hardcore and everything in between. Crematorium serves as an example of a band that's ever changing and also offers up the question of what will they try next...? Plans for the band as of now include touring, writing another album and pushing the boundries until Crematorium is etched in the history books of the global underground.


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