If you think of southern rock, you usually think of big guitar chords from the beards to ZZ Top or from the strings of the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. There’s a certain aura – expectation even when you get into the south. Fresh from the Razor and Tie ranks, Sons Of Texas has released their debut album, Baptized In The Rio Grande which is full of southern muster. It’s not going to necessarily take the mantle of Texas rock, but the album does what it should accomplish and that is to carve out a lane for a young, passionate band.
Listening to the whole album, Baptized In The Rio Grande would be perfect in a southern rock festival setting. There are rare points where the album lets up on it’s full aggressive assault. I would have to think that while the band recorded this with producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Hatebreed) that it had to be in mind. The title track is a hometown anthem where vocalist Mark Morales uses his strong vocals to claim his devotion to the lonestar star. Guitarists Jes De Hoyos and Jon Olivarez alternate parts that hearken back to classic rock bands.
“Never Bury The Hatchet” acts like an opening bell to the madness with a furious assault of guitar and drums welcoming the listening to that Texas sound.”Blameshift” sounds like the perfect merge between Morales’s vocals and De Hoyos’ guitar solos. One thing that you cannot doubt is that when Morales sings about something, you can definitely feel the emotion in every word that he accents.
There’s are a couple of ballads on the record named “Breathing Through My Wounds” and “September” that slows the album down a bit. I was not sure to feel about it – where I’m glad that the band was showing another side, but with the whole theme of the album being a relentless rock record, it may not fit. I may have preferred a straightforward rock record, but I do get the placement of the songs. They do show potential that I would imagine would be explored more in subsequent albums.
Overall, BITRG is an enjoyable listen especially for a young band right out the gate. There’s a constant theme, and while I like to hear what else they have in their box of southern rock tricks, I can hear tracks from this album being played in rock festivals across the country – no matter where you are from.