It's no secret that the success of bands like Rigor Mortis, Pantera and Drowning Pool has turned North Texas into a melting pot of heavy metal. Narrowing this list down to 10 was no easy feat. There are more than a dozen local acts signed to big record labels, and new bands with serious potential are springing up on a regular basis.
Here are North Texas’ brightest (or darkest) metal acts gracing stages this year.
Baring Teeth pushes the boundaries of technical death metal. It's a wonder the 10-year-old trio has only two records to its name. The band, which formed in 2007 under the name Soviet, comprises Andrew Hawkins, Scott Addison and Jason Roe (formerly of Between the Buried and Me). Baring Teeth's second album, 2015's Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins, is even more menacing than its Gorguts-inspired debut.
Tyrannosorceress is more than just a kickass portmanteau; it's one of black metal’s finest newcomers. Formed in 2010 by members of Dallas-based Cleric, Tyrannosorceress showed great promise with its 2011 demo but disappeared shortly after. It turns out the wait was well worth it — the band’s 2017 debut LP for Tofu Carnage Records, Shattering Light’s Creation, is as devastating as befits a band named after T-rexes and sorcery. As Noisey’s Kim Kelly puts it, “Their take on black metal is aggressive, smart, supremely melodic and often downright frosty.” You can pick the album up here.
Morgue Meat calls its genre of music “Texas Trill Slam," and it works. The band has been spotlighted in Metal Injection's “Obituarist” column, written by The Black Dahlia Murder vocalist Trevor Strnad. Last year, he called Morgue Meat one of 26 bands “to poop on your party this summer." That's quite a compliment coming from Strnad. Morgue Meat's 2017 debut, Mutilation in the Chapel, is brutal, gory and filled with guttural squeals and slam-worthy riffs. You can pick it up here.
Seeker is one of the more interesting bands on Victory Records. The trio formed in 2011 and originally presented itself as a deathcore descendant at a time when the subgenre was in decline. Seeker has toured extensively but mostly stayed under the radar until morphing into a crusty, tinnitus-inducing, dissonant beast. Now it's one of Dallas’ most promising acts. Metal Hammer called Seeker’s latest album, 2016’s Loss, “an explosive and brilliantly vicious assault of grinding nihilism, filth-laden crust and thrash-inspired attacks.” You can purchase it here.
Brad Luttrell, Kevin Ortega, Alex Moore, Irving Lopez and Bryan Fajardo (known for drumming in Noisear, P.L.F. and Kill the Client) formed the dark, angular, grindcore band Cognizant in 2011. The band continues the trend of Gorguts-inspired metal that seems to be emerging lately and sets the bar extremely high for anyone wishing to blend brutality with extreme technical precision. Cognizant is performing at Three Links as part of 1Fest: Dallas with Thou, Cloud Rat, False, Moloch, Steel Bearing Hand and Wildspeaker on July 20. You can cop tickets here.
Warbeast needs no introduction. Formed in 2006 under the name Texas Metal Alliance, the band adopted the Warbeast moniker in 2009 and signed to Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records soon after. Warbeast is not just another thrash band cashing in on the subgenre’s revitalization. It's a North Texas supergroup comprising Bruce Corbitt (Rigor Mortis), Scott Shelby (Gammacide) and Joey Gonzalez (Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Superjoint), and newcomers Drew Scoup and Lyric Ferchaud. Corbitt announced he was battling esophageal cancer earlier this year and subsequently retired from music. The band’s upcoming album, Enter the Arena, will be its last. You can pre-order it here.
Power Trip is North Texas' most critically acclaimed band today. The crossover thrash act has made quite a name for itself with its pummeling and often chaotic live performances. Power Trip's sophomore album, Nightmare Logic, was released earlier this year via Southern Lord Recordings and further solidified the group as a major player in the thrash subgenre. Pitchfork describes it as embodying “a platonic ideal of heavy metal escapism” and “balancing modern intricacy and old-school aggression.” Pick up the latest LP here.
Steel Bearing Hand
Steel Bearing Hand formed in 2009 as Live by the Sword before changing its name the following year. After releasing its four-track demo, the band changed tack somewhat by fusing black metal with vicious thrash assaults. Steel Bearing Hand’s 2015 self-titled debut is bound to leave its booted foot in your throat. If you are the type to wear chain mail and wage war against tyrannical foes of ancient Cimmeria, you have found your new favorite band.
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Wildspeaker is a crusty quintet that meshes blackened hardcore with razor-cutting anguish. The band, which formed in 2013, signed to Prosthetic Records and put out its sophomore album, Spreading Adder, earlier this year. Metal Hammer says: “The Texan quintet bringing a raucous energy to an album extols the virtues of the natural world while condemning humanity." It's true. The band’s lyrics address the environment, mental health and other topical issues. Yet, somehow, Wildspeaker still conveys the beauty of life. You can pick up the band’s latest album here.
Turbid North was formed in the frozen tundra of North Pole, Alaska, before relocating to DFW in 2007. According to the band’s website, the “cold, dark environment” of Alaska “helped shape the atmospheric sound of the band.” While it has been a few years since the band's last release, 2015’s Eyes Alive, Turbid North has toured consistently. The band recently wrapped up a North American tour supporting Entombed A.D. and Full of Hell.