The Black Stymphalian is the solo project of super-talented, multi-instrumentalist Jaymz Stephenson. An idea that came into existence in 2006 as an outlet to explore a wider range of musical styles and genres from thrash to progressive and raw industrial sounds. The Black Stymphalian’s first track, ‘Falling Into Darkness’, was recorded in early 2007 in Jaymz’s bedroom, it featured Richard Dowson on vocals. Whilst recording this Jaymz realised the potential of his creation and decided to take a more serious approach when recording in the future.
2010 saw the release of the long awaited EP, “Digression” in which Jaymz was able to fully explore different styles and genres. As well as diverse musical styles “Digression” also brings together vocal talent from the four corners of the globe with a different singer for each of the five tracks.
The first track on “Digression” is ‘Deadlock (The Fall of Angels)’ featuring Tony Hayes on vocals. As soon as the track kicks in you are grabbed by the pace a ferocity of the riff. There is a heavy Exodus feel to the music and the vocals, which is no bad thing! The solo towards the end of the track is like a ride on a swirling rollercoaster! Jaymz’s talent is clear for all to see right from the off, the riffs, structure and solos on ‘Deadlock’ all flow smoothly together creating a great sound!
The 10 minute progressive epic, ‘Falling Into Darkness’, which was rerecorded with John Holterman taking on the vocal spot, is a much darker track than ‘Deadlock’. The vocal style is also completely different and therefore creates a wholly different sound. There is a hint of Dream Theater about this track, the pace is slower and there is more of an atmosphere with the haunting keyboards adding to it. Jaymz again displays his considerable guitar playing skills in the last few minutes of the track.
Next up ‘Embrace The Decay’ features Chris Gillespe on vocals. As is the purpose of the project, ‘Embrace The Decay’ is different again. The opening has a more metalcore feel to it, very reminiscent of Unearth, which is in no small part thanks to the vocal stylings of Gillespe. Huge riffs, pounding drums and powerful vocal all mixed in with slow groove breaks and mid blowing solos all go into creating a great sound.
‘Where The Strong Become Weak’ returns to a darker place, the very atmospheric introduction along with the opening bars of music scream death/black metal. When Greg Fender’s vocals come in the direction of the track leans more towards metalcore but still with a hint of death metal lurking in the background… There is another stunning lead solo near the end of the track that just adds to Jaymz’s ever growing reputation!
The final track on “Digression”, ‘The Watcher’, is by design again different from the other tracks. The clean guitar intro with whispered the vocals of Ian “Rip” Giedrojć over the top is truly menacing. Again, there is a Dream Theater feel to the first few minutes of the track. After around 4 minutes the track explodes into life, Giedrojć’s powerful voice making the transition from quiet whispered vocals to strong clear singing with ease, but just as the song gets going it ends, leaving the feeling that there should be a little more…
“Digression” is an impressive collection of varying styles and genres of music, carefully constructed by Jaymz Stephenson. The mix of genres and styles may not appeal to everyone but what is not in question is the doubtless talent of Jaymz. Work is currently underway on the debut album from The Black Stymphalian and we are looking forward to hearing it!