Sunday, December 22, 2013

Southern Front - Join or Die

Southern Front
Join or Die

Austin's own brutal metal warriors deliver a punishing LP with 2011's Join or Die even if the record has a mild identity crisis. Call it "Family Guy disease" in that Family Guy's most funny and brilliant moments are when the show hits its own groove but, inevitably, it goes back to ripping off The Simpsons. Family Guy's weakest moments are when it plagiarizes The Simpsons, but it just can't help itself.

Join or Die has the same problem. The record's best moments are when Southern Front gets into a groove and dives into some original riffing, like the verse riff on "See Sharp" or the breakdown on "Opposition." The original parts are awesome but then the band dives back into the pool of used PANTERA riffs. It's not just Pantera. It's LAMB OF GOD and MACHINE HEAD and any of the other typical American metal bands, but it's mostly Pantera. I realize that there are no new ideas and everything comes from somewhere but those generic passages on Join or Die are easily identifiable. "Hey, that's the Sepultura part" and that sort of thing.

Then again, there's another side to this "influence" issue. If any of you remember when the first DOWN album was released in 1995, Phil and Company went out of their way to point out that Down wasn't so much influence by BLACK SABBATH itself rather than it was influenced by bands that were themselves majorly influenced by Sabbath; TROUBLE and SAINT VITUS specifically.

The same logic can be applied to Southern Front. It's not so much that Southern Front is influenced by Pantera than it's Southern Front having so much in common with the bands like PISSING RAZORS and SKINLAB that were heavily influenced by the Cowboys From Hell. This is likely closer to the reality of the situation than anything else.

Nitpicking aside, let it be known that Southern Front is out-of-this-world talented and can play circles around your band. Constantly playing live around the state, Southern Front is determined to fly the flag of the Texas Metal legacy.


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