@planetmosh reviews Baptized in the Rio Grande by .@sonsoftexas on .@razorandtie
Baptized in the Rio Grande is the debut album from Sons of Texas, who are, unsurprisingly, from McAllen, Texas. They are: Mark Morales: Vocals, Mike Villarreal: Drums, Nick Villarreal: Bass, Jon Olivares: Guitar and Jes De Hoyos: Guitar. The band formed in 2013, and made the decision to stay in McAllen and forge their own path rather than move to Austin, which is the expected route for bands in Texas. This past year they signed to record label Razor and Tie, home of one of my favourite bands, Wilson, whose first album with the label, Right to Rise, is one of my records of the year. They attracted the attention, and secured the services of Josh Wilbur, who has produced albums for among others Hatebreed, Lamb of God and Crowbar.
I’ve listened to this album in the background three or four times now, and the first couple of times I wasn’t too sure, there’s a couple of standouts but apart from that I found it passed me by without making too much of an impression. Today though I sat myself down and had a proper listen and totally fell in love with it. It’s hard to pigeonhole Sons of Texas, they seem to span several genres within this one record. Opening track Never Bury the Hatchet is straight up metal, with a vicious, screaming vocal from Morales and frantic, speed metal drums from Mike Villareal, one half of the brothers who make up Sons of Texas’ rhythm section. It’s followed by Pull it and Fire, which honestly made me think I’d skipped to another album by mistake. Gone is the growling, replaced by a rocky, bluesy clean vocal, the dual guitars come to the forefront, including a great solo from de Hoyos, and it’s an utterly different sound. The whole album is like that, skipping from genre to genre, rock to metal to blues riffs and lyrics that will make you laugh, cry and empathise. Title track Baptized in the Rio Grande is as hooky as it gets, one of those songs you know would be awesome live. Track of the album is Breathing through my Wounds, a stunning ballad that shows the full range of talent this band possesses. The vocal is heartfelt and powerful, and it’s just a massive stadium song. If you listen to Never Bury the Hatchet and Breathing through my Wounds back to back you’d never believe they were recorded by the same band. It just shows that music is music, and if you have the ability to create something then you should never feel restricted to a genre. Nothing King and The Vestryman are both excellent, hard and heavy. It’s impossible not to nod your head and the air guitarists among us will have a field day with it. I think what’s made the difference today is sitting down and paying attention to the lyrics, there’s a lot going on here. Sons of Texas are a band with stories to tell, from the heartbroken angst of Breathing through my Wounds to Texas Trim, possibly the only song ever to be written about the delights of a particular style of bikini wax! It’s a classic hard rock song with brilliant dual guitars from Olivares and de Hoyos but the lyrics are the highlight. You will honestly be missing out if you don’t pay attention to them.
So here’s my advice…make sure you get hold of this album, and when you do, sit down and give it a proper listen. There’s a hell of a lot to listen to and it deserves nothing less than your full attention.
Never Bury the Hatchet
Pull it and Fire
Baptized in the Rio Grande
Breathing through my Wounds
Morals of the Helpless Kind
Drag the Blade