Dunno how much you guys know about a metal band out of Austin, Texas named SOUTHERN FRONT, but I am here to educate you. This band is yet another late night discovery while messing around online, avoiding work, and generally fucking off. The music and Zak Ward’s vicious vocals are like a blade cutting through flesh and bone. THIS is a band that does it right, people, and you best believe you’ll be hearing a lot about them in 2015. Their new record is called Death Throes, and is available now (Click HERE to purchase). This is a DIY band from top to bottom, but you’d never know it from the sound of this record. The production is A-1 and the sound is crystal clear. So what about the songs? Glad you asked…
Opener “Face Down” comes charging out of the gate, drummer Payton Holekamp leading the attack, flanked by guitarists Jon Butler and Jason Bingham, with bassist Eric Houser bringing up the rear and holding down the bottom end while Zak spits fire. “Blood of Christ” was my immediate standout 30 seconds in. I just love everything about it, from the massive riffs and melody to the breakneck speed it tears off at, out of nowhere. Eric Houser’s bass is prevalent on “Butchering the Bloodlines”, and coupled with Holekamp’s relentless tom-tom hits it makes this another crushing tune designed to be played over and over. There’s a dirty, messy vibe going on in “Go Blank” which is followed by a peaceful acoustic interlude “The Void”. Only 49 seconds long, it’s still powerful, and I would love to hear a longer version if one exists.
The brutality resumes with “Obstacle of Forgiveness” featuring more of a death metal growl from Ward, which is great because me LOVE death metal!! “Burned Awake” is easily the most melodic tune on this album, which is not to say it isn’t heavy because it is. But there’s something a little different here. I’m sure when you guys hear it you’ll see what I mean. Closing out the record is “Dead Horse.” This song sounds like it could have come from the thrash days of yore, but it’s got even more balls than some of the bands did back then. Man alive, this track fucking slays!!
If I have one gripe with this record, it’s only that it’s too short. SOUTHERN FRONT have shown us that they are fully capable of hangin’ with the big boys and making some of them look nervously over their shoulders at what’s coming. And that’s why I would have liked two or three more songs, because the talent is clearly there. Pick up Death Throes at the above link and be sure to crank that shit loud, people!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Blood of Christ”, “Obstacle of Forgiveness”, “Dead Horse”, “Butchering the Bloodlines”