Sign of the Cross
American Christian metalcore band Texas in July (they’re actually from Pennsylvania) is a young band. According to the press release accompanying this, their third album, frontman Alex Good is just 19 years old; drummer Adam Gray is 20. However, I’m happy to report that Texas in July is a technically proficient band that features members who are virtuosos on their instruments, belying their age and supposed inexperience. In fact, when Gray lays down some jazzy, tasty licks on his drum kit on final song “Cloudy Minds”, you get the sense that there may be a new drummer in town to take over the lauded position that Neil Peart currently occupies, should the Rush skin pounder ever decide to hang up his sticks. And despite the fact that this is a Christian band, you wouldn’t really know it unless you’re listening very closely to Alex Good’s guttural screams (and a quick scan of the lyric sheet demonstrates that the Christian themes are much more muted this time out). Clearly, Texas in July is much more than being Christian or metal, and have crossed over into some level of mainstream acceptance, with Texas in July rocketing up No. 152 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Not bad for a band dealing in thrash, which tends to be particularly niche-like in terms of its following, and one on an indie label.
Texas in July isn’t going to reinvent the wheel, but what this five piece does very, very well is generally play at speeds so breakneck, it’s as though their lives were depending on it. That’s not to say that the album is all that loud and fast: about halfway through the album, the band briefly slows things down to a mid-tempo for the lovely melodic ballad “Repressed Memories”, which sounds a little like Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”. Well, if you scrunch up your ears. There’s a lot to take in with this LP, with all of its jazzy, thrashy touches, and it actually plays like an album that has a definite start and end point. You may have heard this sort of thing before, and the band certainly lapses into cliché (see song titles “Bed of Nails” and “Cry Wolf”), but as a statement of teenage angst, Texas in July is certainly fun and accomplished, and should sate metal fans over till their next fix.