It has been almost thirty years since Pantera changed the landscape of the metal scene with Cowboys From Hell (East/West, Atco) and its repercussions still live on in music today. It’s an obvious comparison to make for the debut album of the Exhorder spin-off project, Heavy As Texas, but it’s one that needs to be stated straight off the bat. However, there are numerous other influences and musical styles that are present throughout the album.
Picture this scenario, it’s been a long, frustrating week and the human race has infuriated you to no end. An outlet is needed to place your anger. This album fuels that rage. ‘Blind’ displays this fury clearly as machine-gun-like guitar riffs punch through the air as Kyle Thomas viciously barks out at the world. The band has you under your control, forcing you to headbang no matter what.
Underneath the rust and sludge of the Pantera-tinged, Thrash is a large amount of grungier undertones that reveal themselves at various points in the release. The catchy chorus ‘King of Fools’ gives off airs of the heavier side of early Alice In Chains due to the use of distorted vocals over the sludgy sounding guitars.
Heavy As Texas leave their best to last with the two final songs of the album. Both clocking in at over seven minutes apiece, the project really develop their horizons, making the most out of a multitude of different instruments and their own sounds. In turn, Thomas equally goes through several different vocal styles from the hard spitting barks that were prominent in the album up to that point into crooning melodies.
While their debut album offers not much in terms of brand new sounds to the musical world, the vehement rage inside however is so pure and undoubtedly real that you can’t truly expect anything more at this stage of the side projects life. As the end of the album indicates, when more styles of Rock & Metal are utilised, the band shines and evidently, if this is what is the future for the band, then we are all in for a happy surprise.
6 / 10