Houston Calling

Review: Houston Band Coalition’s Music For The Masses, Volume I (Various Artists)

May 20th, 2006 · No Comments

Obviously, Tool is a major influence on today’s rockers. Just as Limp Bizbit and Korn spawned nu-metal imitators during the mid-nineties, hard-edged bands for the most part now stay a good distance away from the stereotypical rap rock genre and stick with the tried-and-true. There are a few exceptions here, however. Lonestar Pornstar, voted “Best Alterative Rock Band” in the 2005 Houston Press Music Awards, continue to force Fred Durst back into our minds. They do it better than most, so it’s easy to ignore the fact this music played itself out after the Woodstock ’99 fiasco. Similarly, Hectic’s “Rise” alternates between a Durst sound-alike and low, gutteral vocals. The fact that it’s the album’s rawest, hardest song is its saving grace.

It makes sense, however, that bands would imitate a respected band like Tool, and many songs on Music For The Masses, Volume 1 have the same low-key, bass-driven rhythms and throaty vocals as Maynard and company. The collection’s standout is Rhenium, whose songs always seem a cut above, and “Jack” is no exception. The song’s radio-friendly vocals and melodic, Bourland-eqsue bass give it enough edge to appeal to the masses — if “Jack” doesn’t get Rhenium noticed nationwide, there’s simply no justice.

Literary references are rife in metal music (remember “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”?), and Music For The Masses… has two obvious examples: “Jack” and Copious’ “The Bride,” which reference Jack The Ripper and Frankenstein, respectively. The latter is best described as a metal version of Red Hot Chili Peppers (“I’m not sick, I’m a genius… You’ll be my robotic queen… You’re my creation”).

Other, better-known Houston bands also emulate their influences on the album. Hollister Fracus mirrors White Zombie with “The Power,” while Prognosis channels Filter and Chevelle on “Torn,” the album’s best bet for a mainstream radio hit (although Trace Element’s balladry on “Oceans” and Sevrin’s catchy “Fade Out” vie for a close second). Despite the similarities to other groups, Music For The Masses, Volume 1 proves that there is no good reason for the music industry to ignore Houston. All it would take is for one of these bands to make it big, and the suits would come calling. The world already has its eyes on the local hip-hop scene — maybe metal’s not far behind. Music for the masses, it’s not, but there’s definitely an audience for this music. Labels, take notice.

There are a few Houston Band Coalition bands playing around town this weekend. Check it out:

Saturday, 5.20.06

A Thousand Mile Stare / Truck / Dcyfer @ Club 494 in Humble
Chrome44 / Dawn Over Zero / Jack in the Pulpit / Makeshifte / South @ The Engine Room
Damascus / Sound Breaking Ground @ Forgettaboutit
Dine Alone / Stillframe / Makeshifte / Spiracell / The Vanished @ The Meridian

Sunday, 5.21.06

Prognosis @ The Howling Coyote

Also, on June 1st, HBC has a new member showcase at Fitzgerald’s that features Dcyfer, Sound Breaking Ground, Consumned, and South. It should be a good show, so come out and give your support. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Music For The Masses, Volume 1.

Tags: Music

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