album appearances are located underneath the main discography.
Chasing The Shadows Away.
I Don't Believe in Love (Falling in Lust).
Fly To The Sun.
On My Mind.
Waiting in The Shadows.
Angel of Mercy.
After The Fire.
Eye of The Storm.
Stranger in The Night.
Let it Out.
Gotta Find You.
Some true musical treasure in the
form of this special release from the early days of one
of the worlds most accomplished guitarists, James Byrd.
A name synonymous with some of the finest guitar work
committed to tape, this unique release is an album any
fan of the former Fifth Angel guitarist will have been
longing to hear and serves as a reminder of just how
good a songwriter and musician Byrd is.
Comprised of 14 never before heard performances and 7
new songs, “Beyond The Pillars” is -literally- a lost
album. The material's origins date to when James Byrd
began writing and recording with vocalist Freddy Krumins
within days of departing Fifth Angel in the summer of
1987, with much of the music material Byrd had
originally intended for the second Fifth Angel album.
Like Deep Purple's “Smoke on the Water” release, “Beyond
The Pillars” was recorded on location. Brain Storm
Productions mobile captured the band's magic at the
infamous Music Bank sound stages in Seattle Washington
from the fall of 1987 through the winter of 1988. Fans
of Byrd’s solo debut “James Byrd’s Atlantis Rising”
(Shrapnel Records) will recognise 7 of the track titles
on offer here. However the versions here showcase a
rawer, heavier and more immediate delivery to those that
were later re-recorded on the now out of print “Atlantis
Rising” release by Shrapnel Records. Further treasures
are revealed in 7 never released songs rich in diversity
and depth that make this a “must own” part of any Byrd,
or indeed Fifth Angel’s fans music collection.
The forgotten masters that make up “Beyond The Pillars”
were undiscovered until early 2011 when Freddy Krumins
was going through a box of old tapes. Regarding the
discovery of the recordings, James Byrd comments, “I was
shocked to have had these masters turn up, and then to
hear the quality. I had long forgotten the sessions
after almost 25 years of other musical activities.
Everything sounds better than I could have imagined and
I think my playing was on a higher energy level than
what later ended up on the J.B.A.R. debut. I knew it
needed to be heard”.
On the musicians’ aim almost 25 years ago Byrd recalls,
“The goal was to create a musical statement which was
melodic and dynamic”. This material's character is
further shaped by a lyrical content which blends tales
of lost love, with Greek mythology and fantasy all
powered by the sublime vocals of Freddy Krumins, himself
a student of legendary vocal tutor David Kyle (who also
coached the likes of Geoff Tate/Nancy Wilson/Chris
“Beyond The Pillars” sounds like no other album from an
American group before or since. The combination of
European influences by groups and musicians such as
Scorpions, UFO, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Uli Jon
Roth, and James Byrd's decidedly classical influences,
is such that “Beyond The Pillars” captures the energy of
a newly formed group ready to take on the world.
From hard driving dark tracks tracks like “Chasing The
Shadows”, to power ballads like “I've Got To Find You”,
and lush instrumentals such as “Requiem Atlantis”, this
album showcases a level of maturity and sophistication
seldom heard from any band, let alone a new one from
America in 1987.
James Byrd -All Guitars
Freddy Krumins - Vocals
Ken Mary - Drums
Tim Wolf – Bass
Additional performances by:
J. Byrd - Bass Guitar
F. Krumins - Keyboards and percussion
Jeff Mills - Drums
Andrew Baldwin - Keyboards
Gary Thompson – Drums
Richard Stuverud - Drums
Heaven On Their Minds
Shot Down In Flames*
In My Darkest Hour
The Hunted Heretic
Bolero - No.46 Mvt. 3*
Goodbye My Love
An enhanced re-release of
one of the best albums ever produced within the progressive
heavy metal style and features guitar virtuoso James
Byrd at his incendiary best. The album also features
the astonishing vocals of Kendall Torrey, certainly
one of rock's unsung vocal geniuses. The pairing of
Torrey's impassioned vocals, and Byrd's soaring virtuosity,
proved that its sheer musicianship and socially relevant
content were a high water mark for the entire genre.
Seemingly almost more relevant today than when it was
produced, "Crimes Of Virtuosity" fit's the
definition of a timeless album.
The "Crimes Of Virtuosity
Special Edition", features the re-mixed Japanese
bonus track "Shot Down In Flames",
one of the hardest driving and politically biting pieces
of heavy metal ever recorded by the band. In addition,
the special edition features a never before released
symphonic performance recorded just before the COV sessions
in the same studio: "Bolero - No. 46 Mvt. 3".
Known in the neo-classical rumour mill as "Byrd's
Bolero", this melding of technical electric
guitar virtuosity, with symphony, predated later similar
hybrids by guitarist and long-time friend Yngwie J Malmsteen
by more than a year. Always on the cutting edge, James
Byrd unleashes a soaring blend of neo-romantic Mediterranean
melody and dynamics that are unsurpassed for beauty
and unique to this day.
Years ahead of its time,
"Crimes Of Virtuosity" is increasingly socially
relevant commentary set to a level of stellar musicianship
and intensity which is increasingly rare. This album
is a total knock out! Originally recorded on superior
analogue equipment, the album has a wonderful warmth
and depth lacking in many albums made today.
Beautifully repacked with
all new cover and booklet art, and with all lyrics included
in the packaging, plus two unreleased bonus tracks,
James Byrd’s Atlantis Rising Crimes Of Virtuosity
Special Bonus Tracks Edition is sure to be sought after
by existing fans of the band as well as creating new
James Byrd - All Guitars/
Kendall Torrey - Vocals
Randy Matthieson - Bass
Chase Culp - Drums
~ Dealt By Darkness
Messages From Home
All I Want
The Price Of War
"Anthem" is guitarist
James Byrd's 2002 follow up to "Flying Beyond
The 9", expanding and developing on the symphonic
metal advanced by that album. The nine tracks on the
CD are again extremely classical in nature, but also
feature elements of progressive metal (especially in
Michael Flatters vocal approach). Byrd lays down some
amazing, fast-yet-melodic solos that have been his trademark
since his work with Fifth Angel. Keyboardist/drummer/bassist
Brian Hutchinson also returns on this CD, but that's
not all - he also engineered, mixed and mastered as
well. Fans of Yngwie Malmsteen and Uli Jon Roth will
be able to relate to the music on "Anthem"
right away - even though Byrd skillfully manages to
carve out his own niche in the symphonic metal arena.
"Anthem" sets forth
9 tracks of highly polished progressive symphonic metal
featuring complex multi-layered vocal harmonies, AOR
melodic sensibility, and incredible guitar performances
along with rich orchestration. One of Byrd's finest
compositions is contained here with the epic "The
Price Of War" as well as the burning fretwork
of "Messages From Home", whilst "Killing
Machine" is home to some of the most complex
arrangements Byrd has fused yet into a metal framework.
James Byrd - All Guitars
+ Backing Vocals,
Michael James Flatters - Vocals,
Brian Hutchinson - Bass, Keyboards, Drums, Backing Vocals.
W.T.O. (We Took Over)
Everything To Me
Unity (While You Were Sleeping)
All Of Me (an allegory)
Avianti Suite Op.1 No.63
"Flying Beyond The 9"
took the best elements of Byrd's own history, and sets
them into an entirely new framework for the future.
The nine tracks on the CD are extremely classical in
nature, but also feature elements of progressive metal
and pop, without coming across as either retro or trendy.
The blazing melodic soloing which is Byrd's trademark
still commands the attention of the listener, while
keyboardist/drummer Brian Hutchinson and vocalist Michael
James Flatters contribute mightily to the overall sound
Flying Beyond The 9 is quintessentially
Byrd, yet entirely fresh sounding and capable of setting
a new course.
Beyond The 9 was in Lion Music's top 3 sellers of 2001.
James Byrd - All Guitars + Backing Vocals.
Michael James Flatters - Vocals.
Brian Hutchinson - Bass, Keyboards, Drums, Backing Vocals
Victor / Mascot
Heaven On Their Minds
In My Darkest Hour
The Hunted Heretic (When I Was Young)
Goodbye My Love
Crimes of Virtuosity was recorded in 1996 and first released
on JVC Records in Asia in late 1997. Featuring Byrd's
most passionate and aggressive guitar playing to date.
The album also features amazing vocal performances long-time
friend Kendall Torrey on lead vocals.
of Virtuosity is a decidedly aggressive album and it's
raw, in your face guitar tones mark a change in production
for Byrd, being decidedly un-processed and clear.
The album was featured on Masa Itoh's Syndicated Radio
Hour across Asia and reviews have been stellar. C.O.V.
was remixed for it's European release on Mascot Records
in 1998 as an HDCD.
Standout tracks include "Metatron"
which features one of the longest, fastest guitar solos
ever recorded, and a burning cover of the Andrew Lloyd
Webber classic "Heaven on Their Minds"
from the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
The album was again
later released in 2000 via mp3.com with 2 bonus tracks
was remastered for sale at Byrd's page at mp3.com page
(now redundant). If you own a copy of this you have
a TRUE collectors item. The track "Metatron"
went to #2 on the mp3.com progressive metal charts 10
days after release, and remained there for 9 straight
weeks. The track was still top 10 at mp3.com after six
months with many thousands of plays and downloads.
I've Got A Line On You
Lighting The Sky
The Long Road
"The Apocalypse Chime" saw James Byrd teaming
up with former Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason for 9
tracks that run the gamut of rock and metal. Recorded
in late 1995 and released on Shrapnel Records in 1996,
"The Apocalypse Chime" was Byrd's last album
on the Shrapnel label but suffered sonically at the
hands of a limited budget.
Byrd comments, "I
had a contract for two albums. This one, and Son of
Man. I wanted to make "Son of Man", the label
wanted a vocal album. I had limited funds for two albums,
so in the end, I'd used all the money to make "Son
of Man". By the time I had to make "The Apocalypse
Chime", I only had enough money to pay the players.
I had no budget left for mixing and mastering, so the
production is awful, and it's made worse by a "mastering"
job from hell. The guy who mastered the album really
made a mess of it I'm afraid because it sounded much
better before it was mastered. But I never even heard
what he'd done until it had gone to press. It's really
a shame because one of my favorite songs that I've written
is on that album; 'Visigoth'".
Despite its sonic shortfalls
the album was well received in the press for it's hard-hitting
performances and writing and was recommended in the
Martin Popoff book "The Collector's Guide to Heavy
Metal: Volume 3: The Nineties".
"The Apocalypse Chime"
is now out of print.
James Byrd - All Guitars
Robert Mason - Vocals. Chase Culp - Drums.
Doug Roberts - Keyboards.
Evan Sheeley - Bass on Dolly Dagger.
The World Requiem
Ezekiel (son of man)
Yeshua - Adonai Elohim
Out Of The Temple
The Teacher / Beatitude
Golgotha / The Right Hand Of Power
In My Fathers House
More focused than "Octoglomerate", and very
classical in it's approach, "Son of Man" marked
Byrd's 4th release and second instrumental album. Recorded
and engineered by Byrd in 1995, "Son of Man"
brought Byrd international fame as an important instrumentalist
when Yngwie Malmsteen granted his first, and to this day,
his only personal public endorsement of another guitarist
endorsement of Byrd to Shrapnel Records brought Byrd
into the limelight when Malmsteen proclaimed him as
"The most exciting European sounding guitarist
I've heard in years". Byrd was featured in
Guitar magazine as "One of The Ten Best Guitarists
You've never Heard Of", and proclaimed to
be "Too good to be true".
by Malmsteen in interviews of Byrd as "A great
Guitarist" and a guitarist "who really
has vision" furthered Byrd's visibility in
the press, and "Son of Man" became the most
critically acclaimed guitar instrumental album ever
released on Shrapnel Records.
Label budget constraints
meant Byrd was not entirely satisfied with the final
product, "I wish I'd gone a different mastering
route. There's some kind of processing in the mastering
that enhances the stereo field, but this tended to pick-up
the reverb on the tracks and make the album sound a
bit too wet, plus it tended to smear my faster guitar
Long out of print the album
has been known to see prices in excess of $80 on ebay.
James Byrd - All Guitars,
Fretted Bass, Keyboards & Piano.
Bill Roman - Fretless Bass.
Chase Culp - Drums.
Mourning World Blues
Dances With Knives
Why Have You Forsaken Me
Byrd's first all instrumental release, "Octoglomerate"
was recorded in 1993 for Shrapnel Records. The album features
a blend of Hendrixian space-rock and neo-classical influences
which remain unique.
"Octoglomerate" marked Byrd's introduction
to Yngwie Malmsteen who upon hearing the album, asked
to meet Byrd. The two became good friends when Byrd
found that Malmsteen admired his music and vision.
also marked Byrd's first effort at engineering, having
been recorded by Byrd in his basement on a single 8
track machine with almost no equipment other than his
guitars, amps, and a bare bones studio setup.
"I did this entire
album with a single eight track machine with no track
bouncing. Still don't know why it sounds good, but it
does, and I have no idea how I pulled it off. I had
to print all my effects while tracking because I only
had two devices: One old Midi-verb, and an even older
is an album made with virtually no commercial considerations
according to Byrd, and the album features very extended
concepts, embodying elements of blues, jazz, flamenco,
classical, funk, and metal. Impossible to put in one
category, Octoglomerate generated critical acclaim not
only from Malmsteen, but in the guitar press as well.
is now out of print.
James Byrd - Electric &
Classical Guitar, Keyboards, Bass Guitar on 'Octoglomerate'
and 'Why Have You Forsaken Me'.
Jeff Robinette - Drums, Sequencing & Percussion.
Joey Blair Mudarri - Bass Guitar & Fretless Bass
Let It Out
After The Fire
Angel Of Mercy
Driven By Desire
Eye Of The Storm
Bay Of Rainbows
Fly To The Sun
Recorded under his own name in late 1989, Byrd's 2nd album
was released in Japan and Europe to critical acclaim in
1990 on the Apollon and Road Runner labels, respectively.
Although slated for
release on Shrapnel Records in the U.S. in 1990, a lawsuit
between label president Mike Varney and his distributor
left Byrd's album undistributed in boxes for an entire
year while ads ran claiming it's availability.
Featuring the same melodic
writing style that won critical acclaim for Fifth Angel,
the album was a strong seller in Japan and Europe. "James
Byrd's Atlantis Rising" charted at #14 in Asia,
and was a top 20 metal release in European territories.
The album marked Byrd's first
instrumental track, "Bay of Rainbows",
a majestic anthem featuring backwards guitars and soaring
melodies. The album is now out of print.
"James Byrd's Atlantis
Rising" is now out of print.
James Byrd - Guitars.
Freddy Krumins - Vocals.
Ken Mary - Drums.
Evan Sheeley - Bass
Records / 1988 Epic
Shout It Out
Call Out The Warning
Wings Of Destiny
Only The Strong Survive
Cry Out The Fools
Fade To Flames
The genre defining album of the Power Metal movement.
Fifth Angel is on its umpteenth world re-release and
Byrd has never seen a cent from Epic.
by fans of melodic power metal to be a defining album
of the genre, the album that launched James Byrd's recording
career is now in it's umpteenth worldwide re-release
from which Byrd has never seen a cent in royalties from
The band Fifth Angel was created by Byrd in late 1983
and quickly snatched-up by California guitar-whiz promoter
Mike Varney and signed to his label, Shrapnel Records.
The album made it's debut on Shrapnel in late 1985 and
garnered critical acclaim in the press, particularly
In 1988 Fifth Angel were signed to Epic/ CBS Records
and the debut album was re-mastered, given a new cover,
and re-released. Feature articles in major magazines
like Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Pulse, and a whole slew
of European publications propelled the band into the
heavy metal spotlight.
endorsement deals with Ibanez and Peavey and full page
ads featuring him ran in major guitar magazines. The
band signed with Concret Management and Marketing but
Byrd parted company with Fifth Angel at the same time.
Fifth Angel went on to record the next album without
Byrd, but broke-up upon completion of the recording.
Drummer Ken Mary went on to play with Byrd on "James
Byrd's Atlantis Rising".
A Tribute To Frank Marino
2005 Wildmess Records
Byrd performs "The
Spirit Lives On Vol.2
A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix
2004 Lion Music
Byrd contributes a solo
to"Burning Of The Midnight Lamp".
A Tribute To Uli Jon Roth
2003 Lion Music
Byrd performs "Still
So Many Lives Away".
In The Wilderness Vol.1
A Tribute To Jason Becker
2001 Lion Music
Byrd contributes a solo
to "Outro Jam".