Melding differing types of rock and metal together are American metalheads Sons of Texas. Formed in 2013 from, as their name suggests, the lone star state SOT are vocalist Mark Morales, drummer Mike Villareal, bassist Nick Villareal, and on guitar Jon Olivarez and Jes De Hoyos. Their new album Forged by Fortitude, coming two years after their début Baptized in the Rio Grande (both Razor & Tie/Spinefarm), is a continuation of their radio-friendly hybrid of rock and metal.
The record gets off to a venomous start with heavy, almost industrial, metal singing from the same hymn sheet as Slipknot. ‘Buy In To Sell Out’ and ‘Down In The Trenches’ are vicious explosions of metal, with monolithic riffs and soaring solos combining well with the harsh vocals of Mark Morales.
The title track is another ripe example of this, the serious groove of the gargantuan guitars and pounding drums sitting nicely alongside Morales’s throaty roar. This is when Sons of Texas are at their best when things are heavy and at full throttle; as shown on the funky bass intro of the catchy yet guttural attack of ‘Feel the Need’. Alas, as is sometimes the case with this kind of commercial Heavy Metal, things stray into formulaic waters. ‘Cast the Stone’ and ‘Jaded Eyes’ are an example of this, forgetful songs that unfortunately get lost in the thudding mire.
The rocky lead single ‘Beneath the Riverbed’ with its melodious, Black Stone Cherry-esque chorus shows the variation present on Forged by Fortitude. Whilst this song works rather well it feels out of place alongside the rather muscular, hard rocking nature of the record up until now. Another such number is ‘Turnin’ The Page’, a staid, by numbers Nickelback like proto-ballad that will no doubt be lapped up by rock radio. They save the best of this till last though in the dynamic ‘Slam With The Lights on’, a song about every adults’ favourite form of exercise that sounds like a heavier take on fellow Texan compatriots ZZ Top.
A good sophomore release from these Texan rockers, which mixes heavy metal thunder with a strong sense of melody.