Release: 26 October 2018
Label: Heaven and Hell Records
What the hell is the deal with all of these old guys? Riffs? Coherent song structures? Vocals you can understand? Real drums? I mean, they don’t even quote “Bleed” or “Rational Gaze.” I don’t think I heard one 8 string guitar on here. Oh my god, this is not metal. Like, have any of you ever heard Chaosphere? Do you own a copy of Nothing? I mean, like, I can’t even with these people.
Excuse me, I apologize for that. I don’t know how that guy got in here.
This eponymous debut record from the quasi-supergroup Texas Metal Outlaws is an enjoyable listen. Kicking off with a self-titled track featuring the unmistakeable snarl of former Watchtower vocalist Jason McMaster, what we get is 9 tracks of various luminaries of the Texas metal scene showing how to craft a proper metal song. Other musical highlights include “Malt Liquor Maniac,” the doomy “sound of scorn,” the cover of Riots “Running From the Law,” and the Priest meets Maiden “Within the Spell.” Of course, this being metal, the record isn’t without its silly moments, like “Black and Green,” the aforementioned “Malt Liquor Maniac,” and the album closing cover of Dione Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For.” Good, old school metal albums that aren’t made by asinine hipsters doing a bit (I’m looking at you Canadian power metal) are always a welcome listen in current year. The biggest area where the record suffers is the production. I don’t know if the online review copy I listened to has a purposely downgraded production as some sort of anti-piracy measure or something, but it lends an overriding muddiness to the sound. On some songs, particularly the ones that lean more in the doom metal direction, or have extended sections that lean in that direction (“sound of scorn” and “echoes of memory), this isn’t much of a problem. However, on the faster numbers it makes sometimes renders the guitars undefined, the vocals slightly weak, and the snare drum a bit of tin can-like quality. Overall, though, a good record that is eminently enjoyable for any fan of old school metal.