With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner -- in fact, voting is open right now at musicawardspoll.dallasobserver.com -- we're looking to spend the next several weeks taking the opportunity to highlight some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "Best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.
Today we're highlighting the best in class for local metal bands. These five acts run the gamut for the genre, from the most technical varieties to doom, thrash, sludge and goth. Each one is pushing the envelope for what metal can be, and each stakes a worthy claim to be called the best in North Texas.
Baring Teeth began in 2007 under the moniker Soviet. After two years, they changed their name to Baring Teeth and haven't looked back since. The band features Andrew Hawkins and Scott Addison, both formerly of Man is Mostly Water, and local metal mainstay Jason Roe (formerly of Between the Buried and Me, among others). Baring Teeth plays a brand of technical death metal that its members are all old hands at. It is no surprise then that Willowtip Records, famous for its roster of technical death metal and grindcore acts, was eager to sign the band up. After releasing their debut album Atrophy in 2011, Baring Teeth is welcoming the release of their newest effort, Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins, on November 25.
It's amazing what a family can do together. Like the Partridge Family but with three long-haired Texans and more weed, Mothership started in 2010 as a labor of love in the Juett family. Brothers Kyle and Kells started the band, along with their father John, as a project to play the brand of psychedelic, space and hard rock genres that dominated the world in the 1970s. In 2011, John Juett stepped aside paving the way for Judge Smith to take over on the drums. Since then the band has taken off like their namesake releasing two full-length albums. The band's 2013 self-titled debut placed their name firmly in the discussion for the best metal acts in the area. Their follow-up album, Mothership II, drops November 11 and is sure to continue the band's flight.
Pinkish Black is a tribute to a fallen friend as much as it is a unique brand of gothic rock. Pinkish Black formed in 2011 with the remaining members of the Great Tyrant. Following the death of local legend Tommy Atkins, band mates Daron Beck and Jon Teague soldiered on and formed Pinkish Black. The band has maintained the high level of excellence and innovation that we had come to know from the likes of Teague and Beck over the years. Pinkish Black's style is so eclectic that it is not fair to classify them to simply one genre. If you like doom metal, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like drone, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like goth metal, you will like Pinkish Black. The band has been campaigning on their last release, Razed To The Ground, which was released in September 2013 on Century Media Records.
What can be said for Power Trip that you haven't heard? The band's reputation in the city of Dallas precedes them. Few bands have a live show that can be described more as a fight to survive than a mere night at a rock concert. Formed in 2008 by Riley Gale, along with Blake Ibanez, Nick Stewart and Chris Whetzel and later joined by Austin metal boss Chris Ulsh, Power Trip has played a brand of thrash metal that is not an homage to the genre's forefathers. Instead the band's influences are all over the spectrum: Part thrash, part death, part hardcore, part punk. They are a Frankenstein's monster of subculture staples playing with such ferocity that when you listen to Power Trip, you don't "hear" someone else, you are hearing Power Trip. The band is currently working on a follow-up to their acclaimed 2013 debut, Manifest Decimation, which is out on Southern Lord Records.
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Denton's Terminator 2 knew the challenge ahead of them when they started the band in 2010. First, that they were entering the top-heavy and ever competitive genres of sludge and doom. Second, their name would call back to the classic film and potentially put off audiences. Then again, the band's brand of noisy sludge isn't trying to win audiences over with charm. A Terminator 2 show is an assault on your body. It is loud and invasive, you will be sore the next day and you won't have moved a muscle while it happens. Lucky for Terminator 2, that is the name of the game in the world of sludge and doom. To this end, the band excels at the sound. The band's EP, Grueling And Worthless, is available on their bandcamp.