In a music world dominated by radio stations that tell you who and what to listen to and play the same 10 songs over and over again, music fans are missing out on real artists who actually have to work to make their music and money.
So many artists are corporately created, bought and owned – but there are a few bands and artists right under your nose in the local scene that you’re missing when you’re busy being force fed horrible music on TV and the radio. Here is a short list of underground industrial/metal/rock bands that call Texas home and deserve your attention.
Drummer and mad scientist Bradley Bills has created something unique and amazing with CHANT. For many years he was just one drummer playing a random assortment of drum sets, but now the Austin Texas based CHANT has evolved into a full-on tribal-industrial assault that burns deep with intensity. Bills, along with the help of his partner in crime Kristopher Robin, tag team an arsenal of drums consisting of trash cans, satellite dishes and a conventional drum kit. Think of it as a Gothic Blue Man Group, but instead of the show being full of humor it’s full of dark and unbridled intensity. CHANT is embarking on another tour with industrial masterminds KMFDM in October. Visit www.CHANTproject.com for tour dates. Stand out tracks are “Need,” “Crash Me,” and “Revolt.”
2. Solemn Assembly
If you’ve been to the Church (Lizard Lounge) in Dallas on Thursdays or Sundays during the past 15 years then you will most likely know the name Joe Virus. He has been the resident DJ at the Church for 14 years. However, he doesn’t just spin records – he’s also the founder, writer, vocalist for his industrial band titled Solemn Assembly. The band has released many albums over the years, but in 2012 Virus and company released their most solid effort yet titled Aftershock. The album embodied all the perfect varying elements of synthesizers and distorted vocals to create an almost flawless industrial album. Solemn Assembly will be performing live at the Church Sept. 29 with Combichrist. Check out https://www.facebook.com/SolemnAssembly for more updates. Stand out tracks include “Oontz 4 Ur Boom,” “Falling,” and “Ghost.”
3. The Razorblade Dolls
If synthesizers aren’t your thing and you want some soul-ripping guitars instead, be sure to catch Dallas-based group, the Razorblade Dolls, live. Since their first performance with Wednesday 13 in 2006, they’ve terrorized and delighted the local music scene with over-the-top theatrical performances and ground-pounding industrial metal music. They’ve performed with some of the genres best acts including Combichrist, Mindless Self Indulgence and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. On stage, frontman Chris “Smitty” Smith can sometimes be seen beating himself violently with chains, rolling around on stage while covered in barbed wire and cutting through a pig’s head with a chainsaw. The Razorblade Dolls truly capture the spirit of old school Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper shows. Find out when and where they’re appearing next by visiting http://www.therazorbladedolls.net. Stand out songs include “The Damned Thing,” “The Earth Dies Screamin,’” and “the Wrists.”
The future of Dallas music is bright with the up-and-coming group Unitcode:Machine. These fresh faces have already landed gigs with Project Pitchfork, Cylab, Ayria and will be appearing with Combichrist in September as well. Their music consists of beautiful melodic beats as well as strong, thumping synths which mesh perfectly with Erik K’s and Katrin X’s duet-styled vocals. Nosophobia, their debut album, is a little under the radar right now, but with time and experience industrial fans all over will be glad they discovered this emerging act. Go to http://www.unitcode.net/ to learn more and purchase merchandise. Stand out tracks include “Stare Inside,” “Imperfect,” and “Reflect.”
5. One-Eyed Doll
If you take schizophrenia, homicidal tendencies, and dark sense of humor and mix it all with some rockin’ guitars and drums you get Austin, Texas’ One-Eyed Doll. The deranged duo of Kimberly Freeman (vocals, guitar) and Junior (drums) make up one of the most unique acts in Texas rock. Freeman has what seems like an unlimited range. She sings beautiful melodies from the soul and the heart, but can also imitate the voices of disturbed little girls and redneck, country women. She’s not afraid to hop into the crowd to create some mosh-pit mayhem either. Together, with the talented drumming skills of Junior, they’re a furious show of rock ‘n’ roll and theater. They’ve also completed two full-length tours with Otep and just recently toured with Polkadot Cadaver. For more information venture to http://www.oneeyeddoll.com. Stand out songs include “Be My Friend,” “Plumes of Death,” and “Dirty Man.”
These five electrifying acts will surely give you plenty to do in the underground music scene. Stay tuned for part two as more and more amazing music brews in the Texas state.
Kimberly Freeman of One-Eyed Doll
Frontwoman and guitarist Kimberly Freeman entertains and amuses with crazy hats, voices and contortions during a concert at Trees in Deep Ellum while opening for Otep.
Smitty of the Razorblade Dolls
Razorblade Dolls frontman Chris “Smitty” Smith performs at the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum. He belts out a song here while covered in barbed wire. The infamous pig head also makes an appearance.
Joe Virus of Solemn Assembly
DJ Joe Virus is the frontman and writer for Solemn Assembly. Here he is performing at the Church in Deep Ellum. Solemn Assembly released their strongest album in 2012 titled Aftershock.
Katrin X of Unitcode:Machine
Co-lead singer Katrin X of Unit:Code Machine sings at Trees in Deep Ellum while opening for Project Pitchfork. She adds a smooth and elegant touch to a rather intense band.
Eric K of Unitcode:Machine
Vocalist and writer of Unit:Code Machine Eric K. performs at Trees in Deep Ellum while opening for Project Pitchfork. The band will be performing with Combichrist in September.