March 6, 2015 Sons of Texas – Baptized in the Rio Grande (Album Review)
Southern Rock is about to be blasted back with vile vengeance. Sons of Texas is not ashamed of their origina. In fact, guitarist Jon Olivares states, “We’re proud of being a Texas hard rock band, that’s everything to us.” Spawning from the town of McAllen, Sons of Texas bring a gritty new sound from the South to the Hard Rock scene. Taking shape around 2013, the band is fronted by Mark Morales on vocals, Mike Villarreal on drums, Nick Villarreal on bass, and Olivares as well as Je De Hayos on guitar. Those unfamiliar with the young band, imagine being tossed into an amped Pantera style southern sound that will be sure to have them banging their heads. Produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, All That Remains, Hatebreed), Sons of Texas now release their debut album, Baptized in the Rio Grande, March 3, 2015 via Razor and Tie.
Leading an eleven album track is “Never Bury the Hatchet.” As the band’s second single, the song also happens to be one of the hardest and fastest on the album. Morales vocals are strong and give listeners the more Metal side of Sons of Texas right from the get go. The second track, titled “Pull It and Fire,” is about financial and employment struggles any listeners can relate to. Along with catchy lyrics, the song is pulled off with a brilliant pace of energy that continues with lead single and title track, “Baptized in the Rio Grande.” The song itself is about being proud to be born and raised in the South. Matching the prideful tone is thrilling guitar playing of Olivares and De Hayos showing off their Southern Rock talent to the core. Next comes “Nothing King,” going back to the heavy basics of Rock and jamming with brutal riffs and technical double bass beats that create an excellent groove. Showing how they really can rock, “Blameshift” delivers an adrenaline rush, complimented by a brilliant guitar solo of De Hayos toward the end of the song. On “The Vestryman,” listeners will be reminded of the good ol’ Pantera days of Rock. As Morales belts out vocal lines and Olivares and De Hayos power through riffs, they pay homage to the Southern greats that Sons of Texas get their inspiration from. Continuing the aggression, “Morals of the Helpless Kind” is a well-structured tune with lyrics about being betrayed but still going strong. As one of the most positive songs on the album, it will leave the audience feeling uplifted and rejuvenated.
Track nine, titled “Drag the Blade,” is a straight up Southern Hard Rock jam that is tight from beginning to end. Showing their more mellow side, “September” is about life struggles and how to triumph over the odds. It is a very powerful and lyrical piece that stands out on the album, showing the band’s capability to be diverse. Last but not least, “Texas Trim” is a brutal tribute to the state these boys love. Continuing the vivid Southern theme will have the listener rocking out and singing along, ending this debut album on a high note.
Sons of Texas is a highly talented young band that is bringing the roots of Southern Rock back to the listeners. Amply pronounced in their name, they hail from Texas and are darn proud of it. Their influences, such as Pantera, are finely crafted into their music while they still bring their own touch to the genre. Baptized in the Rio Grande is perfect for metalheads that like a Southern mix with imaginative lyrics to blast through their ears. The exciting news about Sons of Texas is there is still room for growth as well, so give this rising act a listen. CrypticRock gives Baptized in the Rio Grande 3 out of 5 stars.