It’s a remarkably exciting time for heavy music, with bands drawing on death metal, black metal, hardcore punk, noise and more. And Texas is leading the charge.
Andy O’Connor is a freelance music and culture writer who covers the heavier side of things for SPIN in his monthly column “Blast Rites.”
The underground metal and hardcore scene – where the DIY ethos and in-your-face aesthetic of punk meshes with the bludgeoning power of metal – isn’t unique to Texas. But O’Connor argues the ferocity of its bands is.
“People know what’s up with Texas,” he told the Standard. “They know how intense it is. They know the quality of our bands and it’s being recognized all over the country and the world.”
It’s impossible to survey the current scene without accounting for the influence of two titans of Texas metal: Dallas’ Power Trip and Austin’s Iron Age. Peers and mentors to one another, both bands suffered tremendous losses during the pandemic in 2020: Power Trip frontman Riley Gale died in August, and Iron Age guitarist Wade Allison died in September.
Their deaths haven’t diminished either band’s influence over the state’s current crop of extreme metal bands. Whether it’s the blackened “screamo” sounds of Austin’s Portrayal of Guilt, the old school death metal sounds of Longview’s Tribal Gaze or the crushing hardcore of Lubbock’s Judiciary, Texas metal and hardcore underground is undoubtedly having a moment right now.