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Archive for the ‘texas metal’ Category

Lizzy Borden Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, August 16, 2014

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Last night marked the third time since 2001 that I’ve seen Lizzy Borden.  I’ve been a fan since being introduced to them via their first EP.  They’re currently touring on the “30 Years of American Metal Tour” and last night was the 3rd of three shows in Texas.  One of my lifelong friends lives in San Antonio so I picked him up before the show and we headed to Fitzgerald’s after grabbing some Thai food.  We missed the first band and stayed outside on the patio during the second band.  Not my thing.

James Rivera’s Metal Asylum came on next playing songs from many of the bands that’s been involved in over his career as well as some of his favorite cover songs.  The sound in this venue was horrible and I’m not sure that it was equipment issues.  Beyond the huge shows at the AT&T Center and Alamo Dome, every bar gig that I see in San Antonio sounds like shit.  Last night was no different.  Rivera sounded good through most of his set, but it did seem that he was having trouble hearing himself.  Between going in and out during most of his set, it was enjoyable.

While on the patio during the second band, I saw Lizzy and his bassist, Marten, by their RV and spoke to them for a minute.  Lizzy asked how the crowd was and I told him, “Maybe 100, probably a little less.”  He looked disappointed.  By the time that they came on stage, a lot of the crowd had already left.  I figured that would happen as a lot of the crowd was there to see Rivera as he’s still very popular in Texas.

Lizzy came on and the sound issues continued through his set.  I stood up front for much of the show but moved around to gauge the mix and it was just awful.   Nonetheless, the band was solid although I was surprised to see them with only one guitarist which happened to be Ira Black who has notably played with Metal Church and Vicious Rumors as well as being on the last Lizzy album.  He played well but some of the guitar harmony stuff was noticeably absent.  Lizzy did costume and mask changes between every song which got a little tedious.  I’d love to see him just do a tour with no makeup.  Maybe I’m just getting old but I don’t need the theatrics to keep me interested in a band or their show.  His music stands on its own for me.  But that’s his thing, so be it. It was good to see them again and I really liked watching Marten’s bass work.  He’s good.

It was a fun show and a great night with one of my best friends.  And for the record, Lizzy and drummer Joey Scott (Lizzy’s brother) signed The Book in 2001 back in Norfolk.

Militia Concert Review, Austin, TX 8/3/2013

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Militia is back!  If you weren’t at Multiply Infest (the former Antone’s) last night, you missed a speed metal/thrasher’s dream show.   The Texas metal legends played their first show in about 4 years to a crowd of 100 or so metalheads.

Militia released Strength and Honor last year and I think it was a killer release.  The band had suffered a slight personnel change with Phil Achee’s departure.  Mike Soliz handled drum duties on the album and did a fine job.  For last night and hopefully on a permanent basis, Mike Botello is handling drum duties.  Botello and Soliz have some quality Texas metal history as they were both in Assalant together.

When I last saw Militia, 2009, they were great and I expected last night to be the same.  To be honest, they were better.  This was my favorite of the 4 shows I’ve seen since 2008.  Mike’s vocals were stellar.  He recently turned 50 and I am amazed that he can still hit those insane high notes.  The whole band was tight and Botello’s drumming was a perfect fit.   Tony and Jesse’s guitar work and Robert’s bass work was as badass as it has ever been.  I really enjoy watching him play.

Militia mixed the setlist up with 7 classic songs and 7 from Strength and Honor.  They were solid and the crowd was totally into it.  It was great seeing some other Texas metal legends from Devastation and Solitude Aeturnus come to town to see the show.

I’m looking forward to more shows from them.  Long live classic Texas metal, I only wish I would have been here in the 80s to have experienced it first hand.

And make no mistake about it, no matter how many great metal bands there are in Texas these days, Militia is ruling the roost once again.

Written by The Metal Files

August 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

Meeting Harlan Glenn of Juggernaut 08/04/12

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE TEXAS METAL…but let’s clarify (again)…classic Texas Metal.  Since moving to Austin in 2006 I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of guys from a lot of those classic bands thanks in large part to Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Watchtower, Dangerous Toys etc).  Jason’s still one of the hardest working guys in the business and it’s not difficult to catch one of his several bands playing around town.  Last night was one of those nights as I popped into the Red Eyed Fly to see Jason’s Metallica tribute called Killa Maul which only plays the first Metallica album in its entirety.  As a bonus, San Antonio’s Martyrhead was opening up.  They’re a Motorhead tribute which features Bob Catlin (SA Slayer, Juggernaut) and Art Villareal (SA Slayer, Karion).  Definitely some Texas metal legends.  As I was talking to Jason during Martyrhead, he pointed out that the guy in front of us was Harlan Glenn of Juggernaut.  Of course I asked Jason to introduce me and he kindly obliged.

After talking with him for a few minutes, I asked him if he was going to be around for the night as I wanted to run over to my apartment to get my book and Juggernaut CD for a signature.  He said he was there for the night and would sign anything.  I run home and return quickly and we started talking again and he signed the book and the CD.  It was cool hearing stories from the old days in San Antonio with Juggernaut and his life now in Los Angeles.  Quite interesting.  I always liked the album he did with them (Baptism Under Fire) and their song on Metal Massacre VII, In The Blood of Virgins.

It was a nice random meeting and I love it when I am able to get the book signed by someone from the old “underground.”

All photos by David Prewitt/DaveTV (another Austin legend in his own right).

Harlan and a happy dude

Harlan signing the book and CD

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

August 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Talisphere 1996 Demo Review

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80s Texas metal.  I love it.  There was so much of it that I’m still playing catch up.  Back in Virginia in the 80s, my only real knowledge of Texas metal was Watchtower and Pantera (pre-Cowboys).  Since moving here in 2006 I’ve gotten an amazing education on the scene that they had here.  I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with guys who were in a lot of these bands.  Just recently the guitarist for Karion gave me a copy of the CD/DVD set of their old demo and it’s great.  Read about that here.  While doing some research on Karion’s history I found a demo by a band called Talisphere which featured Karion’s singer, Chris Cronk.

This 3 song demo is so damned good and it’s unfortunate that there’s not a whole album.  Chris Cronk told me a week or so ago that a new release by Talisphere is in the works.  The songs on here are great American traditional metal and almost what you’d expect from San Antonio.  I was pleased that this didn’t sound like Pantera.  So many bands tried to emulate their sound but fortunately for me, Talisphere stayed true.  Chris’s vocals are powerful and soaring.  For those that don’t know, he auditioned with Fates Warning to replace John Arch before they settled on Ray Alder.  I think I may have enjoyed the post-Arch era stuff a bit more with Cronk.

Chris Cronk – Vocal
John Fiarro – Guitar
Sean Noone – Guitar
Henry Sanchez – Bass
Mario Sevilla – Drums

Download the demo here.

Written by The Metal Files

July 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Karion – Iron Shadows CD/DVD Review

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There’s no secret that Texas had a legendary metal scene in the early-to-late 80s with the likes of Watchtower, Militia, Wyzard, Syrus, SA Slayer, Juggernaut, Sentinel, Obliveon Knight, Assalant, Helstar, Pantera, Rotting Corpse, Gammacide and a ton of others.

Another band that deserves mention and praise from that era is Karion which featured Art Villarreal (SA Slayer), Chris Cronk (Jag Panzer, Fates Waring, Talisphere, SA Slayer), Pete Perez (Riot, Reverend, Spastic Ink) and Frank Ferreira (Helstar).

Starting sometime last year, Art and friend Bob “Dog” Catlin (Juggernaut, SA Slayer) began the process of cleaning up some Karion demos and the result is the 2-disc set entitled Iron Shadows.

Disc 1 contains 6 tracks which I believe are compiled from their 84 and 87 demos, although not all of the songs from the 87 demos are on the CD.  Karion brings that great style of progressive power thrash that was well-known in south central Texas at the time.  Good clean higher ranged vocals, solid guitar riffs and killer solos, great bass work and fine power drumming made this disc a valuable addition to your collection of true 80s metal, especially for the fans of Texas metal.

Disc 2 of a live DVD of a 1986 Karion show filmed from the balcony of the Villa Fontana.  The audio/video quality is much better than I expected and shows that the band had a really good fan base at the time.  Their performance is solid and makes me wish even more that I had lived in the area at the time.

One interesting thing that I found while doing a little extra reading about Karion is that vocalist Chris Cronk recorded 2 different demos with Fates Warning in 86 and 87.  I haven’t listened to them yet but a quick search will lead you to a download of those.

I can’t recommend this set of discs enough.  It’s been kicking my ass for a week now.  I recommend that you pick it up from Rockadrome Records in San Antonio.  Keep it local!

Written by The Metal Files

July 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

Militia – Strength and Honor (2012) Review

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Militia just released an album of all new material a few weeks ago. Yes. Militia. You know, Militia from Austin, Texas that’s been around since forever.

Before moving here I didn’t know who they were although I had heard their singer on the track Dangerous Toy by Watchtower as Mike Soliz was the interim singer between Jason McMaster and Alan Tecchio. It wasn’t until I moved here that I ended up meeting Mike and subsequently the rest of the band as they were doing some reunion shows. The original pressing of their EP The Sybling has fetch a few thousand dollars on eBay. Cult classic to say the least.

I was excited a year or so ago when they decided to start writing for a new album. I love all of the old Militia stuff and the other stuff that Mike has been involved in (Assalant and Oblivion Knight) so I was surely excited to hear some new product.

Strength and Honor is a self-engineered and self-produced record by he boys and because of logistics, Mike also played the drums. I got my copy on Monday and on my drive to Dallas yesterday I gave it several good listens. It’s fantastic. Really. Front to back the album flows well and I think the track order is perfect. Mike’s vocals are still superb. He’s taken good care of it over the years. Mike is also an underrated drummer. I was pleasantly surprised by his drum work on the album. The riffs and solos by Tony and Jesse are really quality and as always, Robert’s bass work is top-notch.

The songs that really stand out for me are Before The Fall, We Need A New Enemy, And The Gods Made War and The Judas Dream.

Now, I only have one complaint and that’s in the production. It’s a bit rough but it’s not un-listenable. To be honest, it almost gives it more of an 80s metal feel to it. The production value doesn’t detract from the quality songwriting, though. This album has it all and I highly recommend it to any who is a fan of 80s underground power thrash. You can get the CD directly from the band HERE.

9.5/10

Thrash to destroy!

Written by The Metal Files

April 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm