Byzantine’s Chris “OJ” Ojeda launches “quarantine jam” video of Metallica’s “The Shortest Straw” with members of Bad Wolves, Vio-lence, Five Finger Death Punch, Metal Allegiance; Byzantine announces livestream performance at Trident Music Facility on July 25th
Artwork painted by Eliran Kantor (Testament, Iced Earth, Sodom)
Last month, Byzantine‘s Chris “OJ” Ojeda (vocals/rhythm guitar) took part in a “quarantine jam” of Metallica‘s “The Shortest Straw” with Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves; rhythm/lead guitar), Phil Demmel (Vio-lence; lead guitar), Chris Kael (Five Finger Death Punch; bass/backup vocals), and Mike Portnoy (Metal Allegiance; drums), which was filmed and recorded at each members’ home. Watch the video of this one-of-a-kind collaboration here:
Chris “OJ” Ojeda comments: “Chris (Kael) and I have discussed working on something over the past few years since we are old friends. When I mentioned a Metallica cover during this time of restriction, he jumped at the chance. He was able to bring Mike (Portnoy) on board pretty quickly and I pulled Doc (Coyle) and Phil (Demmel) in. I have been musically dormant since the release of ‘The Cicada Tree’, spending time raising my 3 kids and building Trident Music Facility, so it feels GREAT to track some guitars and vocals again. ‘The Shortest Straw’ is quite possibly a perfect Metallica song. I am a piece of driftwood in a sea of Gold performing this classic tune with these fantastic musicians! We hope you enjoy.”
Byzantine released their latest album, The Cicada Tree, to critical acclaim in 2017. To state that The Cicada Tree is “classic Byzantine” in no way implies that this is an album solely rooted in the band’s past. Certainly, all of the hallmarks that have made their sound so compelling for close to two decades are present and correct: muscular yet lithe riffs and fluid leads play against gripping, dynamic and at times unpredictable rhythms, while rich melodies and lyrics that are both involved and intelligent wind their way through every track. But, once more, the groove metal unit has continued their steady evolution – the interplay between their members organic and natural, imbuing the record’s sixty-two-minute running time with a freshness and urgency.