James Byrd's Atlantis Rising
Beyond the Pillars
Style: Heavy Metal
Release date: 15 July, 2011
Playing time: 58:54

James Byrd never seemed short of ideas – his guitar-playing and compositions always contained that distinctive edge that made his music a real pleasure to listen to. “Beyond the Pillars” is an apposite testament to that. Half the album dates back to the 1980’s right after Byrd had left his band of the time: Fifth Angel. Those songs were eventually re-recorded and released in James Byrd’s first solo album in 1990. Here, however, are the original and rawer versions. 7 new compositions were added and the result is this neatly packaged “Beyond the Pillars”.

I notice that the 7 ‘older’ songs (such as ‘Fallen Warrior’, ‘Fly To The Sun’ and ‘Remember Love’) are shuffled up with the ‘newer’ compositions, as if Byrd didn’t want us to distinguish which ones belong to which era. Sly move but spot on too.

Despite their classic old-school style, the songs sound surprisingly fresh. I mean I still hear so many contemporary bands that struggle to come up with songs as skilfully crafted and meaningful as these. Freddy Krumins, who sings in all the album’s vocal tracks, sounds like a cross between Harry Conklin (Jag Panzer, Satan’s Host) and James Christian (House Of Lords). Definitely a top-notch Metal singer. Another remarkable aspect of these songs is how European they sound despite the band’s 100% U.S.A. origins – and yet there’s nothing outlandish or fake about them.

The sceptic listener might grunt forth accusations about outdated music. To hell with that I say – these are great songs from a fine ensemble of musicians. In fact, I augur that this album will kick-start a wider acknowledgement of the talent of James Byrd and co.

Particularly recommended: ‘Stranger in the Night’, ‘Chasing the Shadows’ and the instrumental ‘Requiem Atlantis’.


01. Chasing the Shadows
02. Fallen Warrior
03. I Don't Believe in Love (Falling in Lust)
04. Fly to the Sun
05. On My Mind
06. Waiting in the Shadows
07. Remember Love
08. Angel of Mercy
09. After the Fire
10. Eye of the Storm
11. Stranger in the Night
12. Let it Out
13. Gotta Find You
14. Requiem Atlantis (instrumental)

Label: Lion Music
Distribution: Border Music Distribution AB
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 7 July, 2011
Website: www.jamesbyrd.com