Predictability is as underrated as a comfy old of pair of trainers for moochin’ around in, and if we were gambling peeps round Ghost Cult Towers even before picking up Sons Of Texas début Baptized In The Rio Grande we’d have had some pretty strong suspicions as to whether or not it would carry the expected Southern flavours of the Lone Star State.
And a seam of a Southern groove does indeed hit the back of the throat as strong as a slug of straight-up Bourbon from the outset, and is the underlying theme of each of the eleven songs. The initial impression is that Sons of Texas are a Face Off mixture of Down and Black Stone Cherry with Zakk Wylde picking up the tab, particularly on the opening and title tracks. Mark Morales manages to incorporate elements of both Anselmo and Chris Robertson to his delivery representing the band by mixing aggression where it’s needed (but without spilling over and losing the melody) with some quality choruses and hooks, in particular when things kick back during ‘Breathing Through My Wounds’ and ‘September’, two powerful, rocky balladic reflective moments that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Stone Sour album
Elsewhere there are touches of Disturbed or Shinedown, and ‘The Vestryman’ has NOLA (Elektra) etched into its’ spine, but these are mentioned more as pointers of where the band sit sound-wise and stylistically. Clearly receiving the backing of Razor & Tie, Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, All That Remains) is behind the production desk, bringing forth a full, thick and expertly balanced sound, it isn’t long before you embrace the appealing, honest enjoyability of Sons of Texas and accept Baptized In The Rio Grande in its’ own right as fine, Southern, hard rock album imbued with a song-writing maturity beyond the years of the contributing members all while retaining the requisite youthful energy to put the songs over.
You can rest assured, predictability isn’t the only thing that is welcome – giving people the big, stompin’ rock songs that put a grin on the face and an involuntary bob in the neck are too, and Sons of Texas have those in spades.