Unearthing the Metal Underground: The Texas Metal Scene
There are a plethora of high-quality metal bands emerging from the state of Texas, and those who only know the state for Pantera will be shocked to learn about the high number of extreme metal bands who call Texas home. In addition to classic extreme metal bands like Absu, Averse Sefira, Thornspawn, and Imprecation, there are also a number of newer bands who are waving the flag of Texas extreme metal high. Today, we'll take a look at a few newer bands who hail from central Texas (basically, the areas in and around Austin and San Antonio), starting with Hexlust.
Hailing from Killeen, Texas, Hexlust plays thrash metal, although it's a far cry from the goofy, "pizza and beer" retro-thrash that is so prevalent in the metal scene today. Rather, Hexlust brings the eighties incarnations of Sodom and Sepultura to mind with their non-stop speed metal, with guitar solos that are quite varied, utilizing techniques from the straight-ahead soloing of Megadeth to the atonal madness of Kreator and Sodom. Although thrashing is what Hexlust does best, they aren't afraid to slow it down every once in a while, resulting in Celtic Frost/Hellhammer-influenced riffs that induce a good deal of headbanging.
Hexlust must be witnessed in a live environment to be truly appreciated, although they do have a few songs up on their official MySpace, the original compositions of "Tombs of the Blind Dead" and "Toxic High" as well as the covers of Sepultura's "Troops of Doom" and Sodom's "Sodomy and Lust." Although the production is only demo quality, the rawness is perfect for the gritty, classic death-influenced thrash that Hexlust plays. Currently, Hexlust is playing as many shows as possible, so if you're in the central Texas region, attending one of their shows would be highly recommended, because if you're a thrash fan, you won't be disappointed.
Hexlust performing their song "Hellhammer" in Austin.
Hod is easily the best blackened death metal band coming out of the San Antonio area, having formed in 2006 by a number of Texas metal veterans. Their first release was the infamously titled demo "Cry and Piss Yourself," although a full-length on Ibex Moon Records, entitled "Serpent" soon followed. Musically, Hod is driven by a variety of riffing styles, as well as the absolutely putrid vocals of Beer Reebs. His sickening growls and grunts are unlike any others in the Texas metal scene, and fit Hod's blackened death metal perfectly. For any old schoolers who may be wary of any extreme metal band formed in the new millenium, there should be no fears, because there isn't a trace of metalcore, nu-metal, or commercial sensibility in Hod's music, only pure, extreme metal that kills poseurs and takes no prisoners. Hod is currently working on their second album, and if the new songs played on their appropriately named "Campaign For Death Metal Purity 2010" tour are any indicator, it will be one hell of an album that all extreme metal fans should check out. In the meantime, prospective fans can check out Hod's debut album, "Serpent," on Ibex Moon Records, because it's one slab of filthy extreme metal you can't miss out on.
Hod's "Serpent of the Nightmare Empire"
Closing out this feature will be Austin's own Birth A.D., who draws inspiration from crossover bands like D.R.I. and Fearless Iranians from Hell, but add their own spin on the genre with their relentless riffs and satiric songwriting. Cuts like "Parasites Die" and "Kill Everybody" are darkly humorous with their satirical stabs against leeches and morons, while the cathartic "This Scene Sucks" sums up vocalist/bassist Jeff's thoughts on the Austin music scene. Birth A.D.'s music is incredibly genuine, as there is no trace of phoniness in thrashers like "Equal Opportunity" or "Cause Problems." The band even covered a song from the aforementioned Fearless Iranians From Hell, "Blow Up The Embassy," which is a superb take on a crossover classic. Birth A.D. released their debut EP, "Stillbirth of a Nation," in 2009, and is currently pursuing a record deal. They'll be supporting D.R.I. in California sometime this summer, but for now will be playing several shows opening for the aforementioned Hod on the "Campaign for Death Metal Purity" tour. Any old-guard crossover fans who are unfamiliar with Birth A.D. should check them out on MySpace and check them out in a live environment, because, like many crossover bands, the live setting is where their passion and energy shines through.
The official music video for Birth A.D.'s "Parasites Die"
While, as previously mentioned, there are a good deal of excellent metal bands from Texas, due to time constraints we can only discuss these three. Any readers who want to share some Texas extreme metal bands that were excluded from this feature can discuss them in the comments section below, as Texas metal needs as much support as it can get!
Make sure to check back every Monday, as Metal Underground.com will unearth more bands who are keeping the metal spirit alive.
Jacob Holmes is an extreme metal fanatic who writes for the San Antonio Heavy Metal Examiner. When not writing, he plays bass guitar in several local extreme metal bands in the central Texas area.
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