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Byzanthian Neckbeard
From the Clutches of Oblivion
January 2014
Released: 2014, Self-Released
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

When thinking of the Channel Islands, particularly Guernsey, one of the first things you’re probably not thinking of is a talented group of bearded stoner rockers, but the islands latest export is exactly that in the form of four-piece Byzanthian Neckbeard. Formed in 2013, these guys have been enjoying some of the successes that UK bands dream of, making an appearance at Bloodstock festival this year shortly after the release of their debut album, From the Clutches of Oblivion.

Like many stoner acts, the music is all about those fuzzed up riffs. Opening with Doppleganger, the album starts as it really goes on. They set a good groove that is backed by some mid-paced drumming, but the tone always promises a little more than it ever provides and could have benefited from a bit of depth to the guitars. Following on ‘Indoctrinate the Priestess’ is perhaps the most awkward track with vocals failing to fit comfortably with the backing riffs. Cutting through the murk, the cymbals on ‘Planet of Doom’ provide a dramatic and refreshing intro that cuts into a bouncing groove. Heading into ‘Hive Mind Overload’ the album takes on a sludgier tone, moving down the strings for an all out heavy groove that run throughout the song and carries through into closing track, ‘The Cyberdwarf’.

While the doom and stoner rock market may be awash with bands at the moment churning out album after album, many of which most land in the mediocre, it can be difficult to pick out the great albums. Byzanthian Neckbeard are hardly challenging any standards in the genre with their straightforward groves that are comparable to STEAK or Iron Monkey. While they may not be changing the face of any genre, their music has an edge of fun that can be refreshing in a genre that can take itself a little too seriously. From the Clutches of Oblivion is hardly going to blow your mind but it is half an hour of sludge based fun, well worth a listen.

Review by Caitlin Smith
Track Listing

1. Doppleganger
2. Indoctrinate the Priestess
3. Planet of Doom
4. The Ganch
5. Hive Mind Overload
6. The Cyberdwarf


Phil Skyrme ­ Vocals & Guitar Dan Robilliard ­ Bass
Jon Langlois ­ Guitar
Paul Etasse ­ Drums

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» From the Clutches of Oblivion
by UK Team

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