There is a considerable element of prophetic irony of a band titling their album "Oblivion Beckons" and disbanding just as it's released, but sometimes that's just the way things go. Regardless, Byzantine's now final tome possesses the bands fiercest thrash attack, along with some rather engaging technicality and brawn. However, it'd be hard to brand Byzantine as part of the new thrash movement as the bands propulsive grooves and virtuosity suggest Pantera more than Metallica.
Light elements of prog help the effort to maintain a convincing amount of diversity, as do the ever-hungry riffs that continually encircle the listener like a shark does its prey. But while this is instrumentally Byzantine's strongest offering to date, it still suffers from the bands inherent sticking points. The most damning of which are the times where gruff melodic vocals are attempted and generally offer painfully forced results.
On the other hand, the soaring clean vocal melodies that thankfully have more prevalence do seem better suited to the bands requisite chorus harmonies. To be sure this isn't metalcore/thrash revivalist drudgery, in fact this is probably Byzantine's most galvanized effort to date and a fitting end for them as they can walk away proudly. But for metal fans as a whole there's an element here that will be missing as the band repeatedly challenge the listener yet never deliver on the full promise of each song, instead getting bogged down or lost in the process.
(3 / 5)