The 10 Best Metal & Punk Albums Too Rough for the Texas 30
So, the Texas 30 has been revealed at last. And it's a good list, too: Well-considered, fair and complete. Even if a lot of the records that got picked tend to be a little... well, pussy, I guess is the word I'm looking for here.
These gentlemen would like five minutes alone with your list.
Now, that's no surprise, really. When you take a poll of the top music writers in the state like the crack staff at the Houston Press has done, the more extreme bits of musical Texana are sure to slip past the consensus. But the fact is that the Great State has produced more than its fair share of brow-wrinkling punk and metal in the past three decades that's too good to be wholly ignored.
While the best and brightest our vocation has to offer were consulted to assemble the Texas 30, I didn't consult anybody for this list. These are my picks for the best punk and metal albums written in Texas since the release of The Genuine Texas Handbook, the dated-1981 guidebook that inspired the Texas 30. Be sure to toss in your two cents in the comments section to let me know why I'm wrong or who I missed.
In the meantime, plug in those earbuds, because we're about to give YouTube a workout.
10. The Sword, Warp Riders (2010)
The Sword, Austin's thunderous Sabbath acolytes, put out the most consistent of their four full-lengths a couple of years ago with Warp Riders, a high-concept sci-fi triumph produced by Matt Bayles. Chock full of smoky, vintage riffing and howling, haunted vocals, the album sounds like the lost soundtrack to a very special issue of Heavy Metal. It's literate without being proggy -- an album ripped from the heavy-lidded dreams of laid-back Texas tokers everywhere.
9. Really Red, Teaching You the Fear (1981)
Stop us if you've heard this one before: A talented Houston band creates incendiary music around which a scene develops, brilliantly toils away in obscurity for a few years, then fades away quietly, leaving behind little besides the hard-won scars inflicted on Those Who Were There. That was the familiar story of Really Red, the leaders of Houston's punk scene in the early '80s.
Luckily, the group managed to get some tunes on wax, and they were pretty damn good: Singer Ronnie Bond was an agitator in the Jello (Biafra) mold, and crucial songs like "Teaching You the Fear" and "No Art (Houston)" managed to both excoriate the band's hometown and uplift it. An essential.
8. Insect Warfare, World Extermination (2007)
Houston's Insect Warfare didn't invent grindcore, nor did they take the genre in any innovative new directions. What they did do is absolutely perfect it on 2007's World Extermination, the band's sole album. Impeccably produced (for grindcore, that is), the record is a tight and furious stream of nihilistic auditory violence with just enough musical variation to keep things interesting through all 20 wince-inducing tracks. Simply put, it's on the short list of greatest grindcore releases of all time.