Byzantine may have the best name in modern heavy metal; and here I thought people in West Virginia were slow-witted. Its also refreshing to see a young metal band focusing their songwriting on something other than the human body (or the dismemberment of) or (sob) self-or-ex-girlfriend-effacement. So as far as their non-musical influences are concerned, I am very impressed with Byzantine.
As for The Fundamental Component...a Prosthetic Records press release described them as an amalgam of Clutch, Slayer, and Meshuggah, interestingly enough its slightly accurate. Of course if you combined the first two bands (the American ones) you'd probably just get Prong. And that is precisely who Byzantine reminds of the most, albeit a much more Meshuggah-influenced Prong. Its thick and meaty, but it isn't afraid to be literate or legible.
The Fundamental Component starts very strong with 'Hatfield' and the trend continues. I'd say the first time I cringed when listening to this album came when I heard the clean-vocaled chorus of 'Stoning Judas'. Until that point I had been intrigued, but then they had to go all emo-metal for a second (luckily its only a few small fragments of the album). I personally do not like the whole clean and catchy mixed with pummelingly heavy trend that is occurring in Amercian metal, and The Fundamental Component is muuuuuuuch better than any Killswitch Engage or As I Lay Dying record ever will be. It just seemed like a very intelligent and talented band was dumbing-down their sound for a brief moment in order to quickly catch the attention of some 16-year old Hot Topic customer.
Other than that, it is a very strong techinical-metal album; certainly better and fresher than the last two Meshuggah albums. It is understandable why Lamb of God's Chris Adler took a liking to this band. This album has about 8 and 1/2 good songs out of the ten. Hopefully the next album will feature less singing, more solos (because this guy can shred), and maybe a slightly beefed-up drum sound. Overall I can only see this band getting better, but then again, I've been wrong.