A MUCH DARKER FAITH
…And the dark shall inherit the Earth
Acadia in Houston to host Baptized By Fire, Dawn Of Dissolution, Black Standard, Not My Master and Wills Dissolve tonight
by Ryan A Vasquez
Take a moment today to appreciate the beauty and glory of everyday wonders like a sunrise, sounds of laughter and innocent faces because once night falls in Houston, Texas this evening, something terribly dark and relentless will surface from Acadia. Five to be exact. Once this occurs, the demeanor and tendencies from others will be infected with this phenomena for the remainder of the night, so practice caution and Godspeed from this point. For those who hold strong to their beliefs as their shield, “…abandon all hope who enter here,” (taken from Inferno in The Divine Comedy).
Baptized By Fire
In 2016 a dark entity arose in Houston, Texas. One which shocks and silences the innocent with a portal-to-Hell opening track, if the opening audio of agonizing screams in eternal Damnnation didn’t scare them off yet.
Baptized By Fire (BBF) created a black death metal which audiences may hear influences from Belphegor, Morbid Angel and Deicide. RoM – TUJ recently spoke with Jim Case, guitarist for BBF, and found out more about their experience with the Houston circuit.
“Given the overwhelming amount of great bands we have in the city, overall our scene does continue to flourish but I think the scene would do much better if everyone would take a more old school approach to going to shows,” Case said.
“With so many genre separations we inevitably have less show attendance,” Jim Case said, guitarist for BBF. “People these days seem to stick to the genres they like the most, whereas metal shows in the past included all types of bands and was a lot more united.”
The video seen above is the single “Into the Fires of Phlegethon” released in 2016 which will be off the debut album currently in the final stages of production. Case explained to RoM – TUJ that despite their youth in the circuit, the support they’ve received from the Houston scene has been very fortunate for BBF.
“We recently did a mini tour in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico with our good friends in Venereal Baptism and Sacrocurse,” Case said.
“It was amazing to say the least and we can’t wait to go back…to doing a more extensive tour of Mexico soon,” guitarist Case said.
When it comes to live performances, BBF pledges to continue delivering a razor sharp performance as humanly possible, but to those who have never heard the blackening sounds of this band, RoM – TUJ was told three words how to describe it:
“…dark, heavy and evil,” Case said.
Dawn Of Dissolution
Enter the dark musical journey of Dawn Of Dissolution (DoD) where in this world, DoD could be seen as it’s own country playing their songs like battle-cries mixed with the sounds of their native folklore. Each arrangement crafted to have balance between the orchestral interpretation and a speed death technique.
DoD became complete and circuit operational in 2016 and originated from Porter, Texas, which is just north of Houston and east of Spring and The Woodlands in Montgomery County. DoD created a symphonic extreme death which audiences may hear a range of influences from Ne Obliviscaris, Finntroll and Amon Amarth.
RoM – TUJ recently had some Q & A time with DoD and they had very positive things to say about Scout Bar and Acadia in Houston, two venues that have been strong assets to DoD’s career.
“Both venues have offered us the opportunity to play with some excellent touring acts that include Nile, Overkill, Ne Obliviscaris, Sonata Arctica… Insomnium is one of the band’s biggest influences, so we’re proud to share the stage with them [June 12 at Scout Bar],” DoD as a group said.
They explained how Josh Vickery, talent curator at Scout Bar, has been an excellent advocate and advisor for DoD for the past couple years and mentioned how Tommy Skinner at Acadia is always evolving the venue’s lighting and sound.
“We know that we’ll reach a sizable audience each time we play [both Scout Bar and Acadia] and those venues certainly have the production professionals who can represent the band well,” DoD as a group said.
Yet, being a symphonic death metal band in Houston, RoM – TUJ was told, has it’s disadvantages. “Because we are one of the few bands in the area that play this style music, we can’t put together anything like a showcase of local symphonic or melodic death metal,” bassist and producer Vincent Mannella said.
“A lot of the tours [in a similar genre] we would love to see play here don’t come around as often because Houston isn’t perceived to be the right market,” lead/rhythm guitarist Andrew Carter said.
But this didn’t phase DoD because the full-length album “Prophecy Of Oblivion” was released in 2017 with the video “Advance to the Front Lines” seen above as the official single. Vocalist Adrian Socacio explained the 2015 debut release “Nightfrost” was actually a concept album written entirely by lead/rhythm guitarist and composer Joseph “Marduk” Martin when he was 16 yrs old and more inspired by blackened death metal then. “Even the vocal melodies and lyrics [were] all Joseph’s idea,” Socaciu said.
“On ‘Prophecy Of Oblivion’ each band member had much more input on what the album was ultimately going to be,” vocalist Adrian Socaciu said. “I wrote much more of my own lyrics and vocal melodies on that record.”
DoD recently parted ways with drummer Cole Jones and have welcomed previous drummer for Suicide Pandemic and current drummer for Baptized By Fire, Adrian Galindo as the official beat master for DoD as well. Be sure to visit BandCamp and Bigcartel on info to purchase the latest album “Prophecy Of Oblivion.”
California, Pennsylvania and New York are not the only places in this great nation where powerful straight-up metal bands are born. Right here in the Lone Star State, a Houston-born metal organization may have set the “standard” for what a non-conforming anti-trend pure American metal band should sound.
Black Standard (BS) was formed in 2012 and have been no stranger to the Houston circuit as well as other spots in Texas. They created a groove-style death/metalcore which audiences may hear several influences such as Devil Driver, Lamb Of God and Machine Head. RoM – TUJ recently had a chance to catch up with BS and discussed how the H-town scene was since 2012 compared to today.
“The Texas music scene has improved so much in the last half decade…thanks to the diversity of talent here in our city,” BS as a group said.
“[Houston] has a sharp rise in immigration of people from around the globe,” BS as a group said. “Houston and Texas as a whole has a whole new array of listeners to all kinds of music, and that’s a win-win for everyone.”
BS spoke very highly of the Scout Bar for the numerous opportunities to share the stage with incredible acts such as Dope, Flaw, Amorphis and Swallow The Sun and pointed out the continued support they get from two particular venues in the course of their career:
“BFE and Acadia are our mainstay locations,” BS as a group said. “We are fortunate to have great working relationships with the coordinators for those venues, and so we always do our best to book as many shows as we can [there] and make them as rowdy as possible.”
Two years after forming, BS released their debut five track EP “Something To Stand For” showcasing the early stages of their developing signature sound including the single “White Walls” as seen above. Since this release, BS felt their sound had radically evolved, which will prove itself once the new material generated is wrapped in the studio as of late and in the hands of a producer currently under review for the position.
“The biggest evolution by far was the addition of our two newest members, Justin del Busto and Chris Spence back in 2015,” BS as a group said. “Justin brings in a thrashier style of guitar playing to the mix…Chris primarily played acoustic fingerstyle guitar before he swapped to a six-string bass for BS, so makes for some interesting soundscapes on the low end.”
“…the rest of the band has upped the ante in their musicianship and songwriting, the new songs have become far more technical and have brought in influences of thrash and black metal, even traces of jazz and ambient well up to the surface from time to time,” BS as a group said.
Expect a high-energy, attack on the senses performance as BS does at every show tonight at Acadia. “You can expect us to turn everything up to 11 and stir up the crowd into the biggest riot imaginable,” BS as a group said.
Not My Master
Far west Texas where the terrain turns to desert and the wilderness of the Franklin Mountains State Park reaches back yards sits the town of El Paso. With the influence of Cuidad Juarez, Mexico just below and Las Cruces, New Mexico above, this created the perfect melting pot of Texas outlaw anger to fuel the musical fires of Not My Master (NMM).
When NMM formed in 2016, they had yet to find the right bassist for their slow, dark and developing sound. Chris Kidwell, vocalist for NMM, talked to RoM – TUJ about the period of trialed candidates before taking Rudy Barajas from a previous project at NMM’s first show, therefore completing their signature sound of a heavy southern doom metal audiences will find similar to Down, Crowbar and Clutch.
“We went through…three before [Rudy],” Chris Kidwell said, vocalist for NMM. “One guy auditioning had a bass that looked like a huge dildo. I was like naw bro we’re good, NEXT!”
Once NMM aquired bassist Barajas they were complete and circuit operational, which left RoM – TUJ to wonder what condition the El Paso scene was currently in.
“I think a lot of people sleep on El Paso [ ] because we’re a border city that’s pretty far from major cities like Dallas, Austin and Houston, but we really have some great bands here,” vocalist Kidwell said.
Aside from the growing support from the El Paso circuit, NMM also has a following in Los Angeles. “…our show with Soulfly as Nailbomb at the Whiskey A Go-Go was a show that really sticks out in mind,” Kidwell said. “Great energy from the crowd, [it] was packed, I really enjoy playing there.”
NMM recently signed with Distilled Entertainment as their management and the videos available on YouTube, including the video above “Where’s God Now?” will all be a part of the debut EP “Disobey” scheduled to be released in February. The producer in the studio for this project is Chris Collier, formerly a part of projects from such artists as Korn, Prong and Fear Factory. “Our music is very bipolar, but aren’t we all?,” vocalist Kidwell said. “That’s probably why folks identify with our music.” NMM also picked up a sponsorship with Coldcock Whiskey, Dirtbag Clothing and Pickbay which they said helped with getting their name out there and tour support.
Each member felt they took away something different from this whole experience with NMM over the years. Vocalist Kidwell recalls being totally broke and learning to treat the band as a business if they wanted to take this venture seriously. Drummer Charlie Gonzalez felt their songwriting had matured as well as their musicianship and guitarist Chelo Styles felt absolutely no regrets over the years. As vocalist Kidwell put it so clearly as far as the pursuit of it all: “If you want something, go get it.”
For those whom have never had the opportunity to experience NMM live, they feel if you become a fan, you become their friend as well but consider this:
“We aren’t a band with whiny clean vocals, skinny jeans or pretty little haircuts, we’re fucking metal…and we’ll melt your faces off,” vocalist Kidwell said.
When something beautiful merges with something dark and deathly, a new form of artistic expression is made and best conducted under the direction of Wills Dissolve (WD). When a band has this much creative influence, the audience has no choice but to be in awe from what is being performed.
WD formed in 2015 in Houston, Texas and developed a progressive death/ambient sound similar to the influences of Opeth, Between The Buried and Me and Burzum. Not only does their sound have a classical overture style writing format with clean passages of vocals but will flip the script and go deadly without compromising the genre with involving more fusions. RoM – TUJ learned more about this eclectic style of music WD created and life for this amazing group of musicians.
“Despite being active for two years now, we have not played very many shows,” Nick Block said, vocalist and guitarist for WD. “We produce and record our music ourselves, and that has taken precedence so far.”
Learning about the industry and all that is required seemed to have shaped the mentality of this band as much as growing musically.
“Since we self-produce, record and promote, there have been a lot of lessons learned along the way,” vocalist and guitarist Nick Block said. “We’ve evolved in our songwriting and have a better feel for combining our ideas.”
This evolution, considering this band’s youth in the circuit, is beneficial in the songwriting process in the future due to the lengthy pieces, such as the video above “So Do Not Mistake These Ashes” created for the full length album, “The Heavens Are Not on Fire,” scheduled to be released this year.
WD explained to RoM – TUJ how the process works which is systematic enough where writing doesn’t become a losing uphill battle with that much content. “Andrew and I write most of the material,” vocalist Block said. “Sometimes the material starts from a guitar idea, other times it is written with a specific emotion or story in mind. After we have written about 90% of a song, we bring the compiled ideas to [drummer] Branson and [bassist] Shaun for them to write their parts and to work out some transitions or other ideas they may have…”
“The heavy/clean dichotomy is kind of our schtick,” guitarist and vocalist Andrew Caruana said.
Those that will be attending the show at Acadia tonight can expect an incredibly creative and moving musical experience from Wills Dissolve. Vocalist Block had this to say to the first timers of a WD show:
“…expect to be mesmerized by ambient and clean passages, only to be ripped back to consciousness by a flurry of blast beats,” guitarist and vocalist Block said.
See Baptized By Fire, Dawn Of Dissolution, Black Standard, Not My Master and Wills Dissolve tonight at Acadia in Houston if you haven’t been scarred away yet. Lighting a candle before you go is encouraged, but nothing will save you either way once the dark has consumed you.