Album Review: Byron Nemeth – The Video Chronicles

Byron Nemeth – The Video Chronicles

Byron Nemeth

photo by Carmela’s Metal Life (https://www.facebook.com/carmelasmetallife); photo courtesy of Byron Nemeth

The Backstory

I’ve known Byron Nemeth for a couple decades, but I’m not sure how; we have, however, been on each other’s mailing lists for a very long time. Our connection is most likely tied to our presence in the Cleveland music scene in the mid-1990s. Byron was Cleveland-based at the time; I was an annual attendee and regional director (for parts of Michigan) at Undercurrents Music Conference in Cleveland.

For The Video Chronicles, Byron Nemeth (guitars) is joined by Mark Boals (vocals), Jeremy Colson (drums), and Philip Bynoe (bass), plus special guest pianist David Kole. Quite a pedigreed group of musicians – you can google their backgrounds if you’re curious.

EP Review of Byron Nemeth: The Video Chronicles

Byron Nemeth - The Video Chronicles

image courtesy of Byron Nemeth

This is ’70s-influenced ’80s heavy metal at its heaviest. The Black Sabbath/Dio influence is palpable. The musicianship on this album is exceptional, as should have been apparent simply by reading a list of those involved, but it’s a tightly-performed, impeccably-produced rock album with great songs.

The first of the four tracks, “A New Freedom,” drives hard, contains forceful axework, pounding drums, and a sort of soaring-but-sometimes-clipped vocal style that somewhat recalls Master of Puppets-era Metallica but with a little more overt classic metal influence.

“Everybody Knows” is another heavy rock track. This one has a solid, driving, engagingly rhythmic guitar line with rather playful runs that remind me a bit of earlier Y&T, while the tempo and vocal style are heavier metal in nature, though a bit more tunefully-oriented than in the opening song.

“Riding On the Flames” is Dio-esque in nature. No, Boals’ vocals don’t sound like RJD, but the soaring nature of them and of the plodding, powerful yet soft music are precisely what you’d expect from some a slower-paced Holy Diver-era song. Slow pace; lots of power.

Fourth and final track “Fight” is probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s a power-driven song, driven by its heavy, medium-paced drum and bass line, Mark Boals’ insistent medium-high level vocals (and controlled screams toward the end of the track), and the song’s signature, memorable, occasionally-repeated guitar riff. But it’s the solos and riffing in the long bridge that are something special in this song.

As a collection, The Video Chronicles is a great set of classic-style hard-rocking metal. For fans of that genre, this is a must-listen.

Looking Ahead

Byron is currently on tour as the guitarist of heavy metal band Kill Ritual. The Kill Ritual tour dates are currently listed on Byron’s website. Upcoming dates include: tonight, March 7, at The Loading Zone in Great Falls, MT; March 8 at Railyard Alehouse in Billings, MT; March 9 at The Garage in Moorhead, MN; March 10 at Every Buddy’s Bar in Chippewa Falls, WI; March 11 at The Elbo Room in Chicago, IL; March 12 at The Detroit Pub in Clinton, MI; March 14 at Chuck’s Steakhouse in Akron, OH; March 15 at 5th Quarter Lounge in Indianapolis, IN; March 16 at Firebird in St Louis, MO; March 17 at The Roxy in Overland Park, KS; March 18 at Seventh Circle in Denver, CO; March 19 at Phil’s Bar & Music Venue in Pueblo, CO; March 22 at Blooze Bar in Phoenix, AZ; March 24 at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, NV; and March 26 at The Other Place in Modesto, CA.

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