Sons Of Texas: Baptized In The Rio Grande

Lone Star metallers try to reproduce the steel

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If any album should start with a “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be… Pantera!” then this has got to be it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that and this debut album dishes up a similar level of groove-heavy ferocity on more than a couple of occasions.

In fact, if you didn’t know, you’d surely believe that vocalist Mark Morales was actually Phil Anselmo circa 1994, awoken after being cryogenically frozen – spitting forth, as he does, the same Southern-tinged roar and lyrical bile on neck-destroying tracks like Morals Of The Helpless Kind and album opener Never Bury The Hatchet.

Of course, with the bar being set so high, no one is going to be binning their copies of Far Beyond Driven, especially when Breathing Through My Wounds succumbs to the worst kind of radio-friendly ballad clichés, but there’s enough pace, flair and grit to make Baptized… stand out ahead of many of the other mere Pantera copyists.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.