Texas Metal Outlaws

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The heat, the attitude, the METAL! Texas doesn’t do subtle and it sure as hell doesn’t do mellow, as evidenced by the forthcoming self-titled album of molten Lone Star metal from TEXAS METAL OUTLAWS. Each of the album’s nine tracks features a unique line-up of players from the deep well of Texas metal talent.

Masterminded by Ignitor/Witches Mark guitarist Robert Williams, the full-length LP features performances by members of Ignitor, Agony Column, WatchTower, Dangerous Toys, Militia, Assalant, S.A. Slayer, Riot, Helstar, Syrus, D.R.I., Las Cruces, Wicked Angel, Byfist, Immortal Guardian, Force Of Rage, Manowar, and many more!

The complete list of players on Texas Metal Outlaws is as follows:

– Jason McMaster (WatchTower, Broken Teeth, Ignitor, Dangerous Toys, Evil United, etc…)
– Stuart Laurence (Agony Column, Ignitor)
– Robert Williams (Ignitor, Witches Mark)
– Mike Soliz (Militia, Assalant, Oblivion Knight)
– Donnie Van Stavern (S.A. Slayer, Riot, Pitbull Daycare)
– James Rivera (Helstar, Distant Thunder, Shadowkeep, Malice)
– Larry Barragan (Helstar, Eternity Black, Santa Oscuridad)
– Felix Griffin (D.R.I., Bat)
– Al Berlanga (Syrus)
– Robb Bockman (Witches Mark, UADA)
– Scott Palmer (Witches Mark, Byfist, Demontuary)
– Carlos Zema (Immortal Guardian, Vougan, Outworld)
– Billy Dansfiell (Agony Column, Ignitor, E.K.U., Zero Percent)
– Ross The Boss Friedman (Manowar, Ross The Boss Band, The Dictators)
– Cody Gilliland (Immortal Guardian)
– Richie Turner (Agony Column)
– Chris Alaniz (Agony Column, Cheetah Chrome)
– Mark Zamarron (Las Cruces, Odometer, Wicked Angel)
– Pat Doyle (Ignitor, The Offenders)
– Michael Paul Toupin (Raging Saint, Force of Rage)
– Stan Martinez (Target 7, Social Slut)
– Stony Grantham (Shadowkeep, Byfist)
– Brendon Bigelow (Ignitor, Death of Millions)
– Logan Orlando Olivero (Against The Plagues, Whore of Babylon)

Visit the TMU RECORDS store to purchase and hear a full album stream.



Subtle, restrained, understated – NOT words to describe anything coming from the state of Texas.  That includes the self-titled and debut release from TEXAS METAL OUTLAWS.  It is intended blend old school metal with a new-school heavy rock.  An ensemble work that includes old guard members of IGNITOR, SLAYER, WATCHTOWER, MILITIA, HELSTAR, SYRUS, D.R.I., LAS CRUCES, and BYFIST along with new guard players from WITCHES MARK, IMMORTAL GUARDIAN AND FORCE OF RAGE: the collection of songs is all metal, all the time.

Well, except for that one song……but we’ll get to that in just a sec.

Title track “Texas Metal Outlaws” announces itself fast, hard and heavy with dueling guitars and pounding drums that any self-respecting metal fan expects.  “Malt Liquor Maniac” aptly named for its growling, maniacal laughter opening keeps the tempo up and the guitars hot.  “Rebel Years” brings the vocals.  “Black and Green” drags you into the churning undertow of all the heavy guitar riffs and pounding bass you could want.

Texas Metal Outlaws pays homage to classics with a cover of RIOT’s “Running From the Law” featuring Donnie Van Stavern (RIOT) on bass.  “Sound of Scorn” is up next with a slower, relentless beat.  Don’t think you’re getting a break though.  The song is more like listening to a challenge for alpha position between the outstanding vocals and the expert instrumentation.  Who will come out on top?  You’ll have to listen to find out.

“Within the Spell” is almost a relief bringing us back to the fast and familiar rhythms that guitar fans will gravitate to.  “Echoes of Memory” flaunts the magic that happens when musical talent and passion collide.  Check the video below to hear it for yourself.

Now.  THAT song. If you’re a child of any time before 1975, you probably remember the tune “That’s What Friends Are For.”   If you don’t remember, then picture this:  1985, Dionne Warwick and a harmonica.  Are you thinking WTF??  Be patient because your “WTF” will evolve into “hell yeah” as TEXAS METAL OUTLAWS put a distinctly Texas metal twist on a song about friendship that you’d never expect to hear on a metal album.  Neither mashup nor cover, the song exemplifies what this album is all about; blending old styles and fresh elements to create something entirely new that is both unique and entirely gratifying.

So, “Keep screamin’, like a demon.  Knowing you can always count on me.” Or in this case, on TEXAS METAL OUTLAWS, to keep the loud, fast, heavy metal music faith.  After all, that’s what friends are for.

Lori Cox – Shockwave Magazine


Everything’s Bigger In Texas! Well yeah, who am I to argue with this searing 9 track compilation that even includes a flame grilled cover of Dionne Warwick’s ‘That’s What Friends Are For’, uniting the cream of the Texas underground both old and new on this hell fer leather git-out that’s bigger’n Dallas!! With names like James Rivera (Helstar, Distant Thunder, Destiny’s End, Seven Witches, Malice, Flotsam and Jetsam, Agent Steel, Shadowkeep), Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, IGNITOR, Evil United), Donnie Van Stavern (S.A. Slayer, RIOT, Pitbull Daycare) and Felix Griffin (D.R.I. , Bat) among its bigger names along with guests like Ross The Boss Friedman (Manowar, Death Dealer, Ross The Boss band, The Dictators), “Texas Metal Outlaws” has been 4 years in the making by TMU Records, whose ‘… primary mission is to preserve and resurrect lost and unheard classic metal gems from the 1980’s underground Texas metal revolution..’. Well, if that’s what these cowboys were fixin’ to do, then they’ve pretty much succeeded on this hugely respectable album that includes members from newer underground bands like Ignitor and Witches Mark although judging by the highly talented musicianship and even more impressive composing, let’s just say this ain’t their first rodeo! From the epic speed metal titled opener ‘Texas Metal Outlaws’ this could be a super group with Jason McMaster’s still amazing screaming blended with some passionate melodies punched out by Riot’s Donnie Van Stavern and hammered in by Felix Griffin’s frantic drumming – and that’s before the twin bronco solos of Robert Williams (Ignitor) and Stuart Laurence (Agony Column) come stampeding in – yeehaw!!!! With Ross The Boss Friedman nailing a guest lead on the dexterous warrior metal of ‘Rebel Years’, Carlos Zema (Immortal Guardian, Vougan, Heaven’s Guardian, Outworld, David Shankle Group) add’s in his own fantastic vocals resplendent with tons of passion and an incredible range to boot on this stirring piece. If it’s operatic doom you love, then check out the dark n slow ‘Sound Of Scorn’ led by Mark Zammaron’s (Odometer, Las Cruces, Wicked Angel, Passage Temple) outstanding vocals and a totally addictive evil, twisting riff from Williams and Laurence once again. With Cody Gilliland’s (Immortal Guardian) double bass drums hammering in on ‘Echoes Of Memory’, the song then evolves into a slower more atmospheric piece, the splendour of which is made by James Rivera’s classic vocals and a triple guitar attack with heaps of power melodies and classically inspired solos including a guest slot from Helstar’s own Larry Barragan, along with some massively plucked bass lines from Stony Grantham (Shadowkeep, Byfist). “Texas Metal Outlaws” is an outstanding release from the Lone Star state’s deep well of talent, so y’all better check this out, because it’s like a whole other country…..!

Rating: 5/5  –  Shan Siva – Battlehelm.com


A joint effort from a whole host of talented Texan metal musicians, Texas Metal Outlaws’ self-titled album is an awesome no-nonsense assortment of metal tunes. Wailing guitar solos, both soaring and deep growly vocals, and hammering drums make this a fantastic energetic album. Some riffs are reminiscent of classic power metal, and this combined with the raw rock style

An explosion of sound greets the ears as Texas Metal Outlaws opens; something like a combination of power metal and old-school rock/metal. Guitars and vocals wailing, crazy drums smashing, it makes for a really energetic and exciting start to the album. Blistering guitar solos and harmonies also add to this energy – not once do they slow down. Malt Liquor Maniac opens with a very interesting burp sound effect; the song as a whole is a little tamer than Texas Metal Outlaws. Chugging old-school riffs accompany the alcohol-riddled lyrics sung deep and growly. The main rhythm is very catchy, and has a malevolent tone about it that conjures images of heavy drinking in grungy bars.

An uplifting and fist-raising third track, Rebel Years has a solid rhythm, soaring vocals reminiscent of early ‘80s Iron Maiden, along with frantic guitar riffs that get your blood pumping and head banging. Black and Green begins with an intense chugging guitar rhythm, followed by some really ominous vocals. The verses are very intense, both lyrically (about death) and rhythmically but then it erupts into a chorus full of emotion and guitar harmonies, and then an incredible final exit guitar solo that gives the song the right balance of everything to make it an all-over fantastic song.

At the halfway point in the album, Running From The Law is a cover of the Riot song. It is very similar to the original however they have added their own style; it has more grit, and the vocals sound more powerful. Like the rest of the album so far, the guitar work is out of this world. As someone who has never been into covers, I can say that I really enjoy this one.

Sound of Scorn has a slow rhythm but it is very catchy. The verses chug at a steady pace, which screams early Black Sabbath vibes, along with some of the lead riffs. The guitar solos however are unique in style so give the song it’s own special flavour. A little faster paced than the previous song, Within The Spell features a cool technical opening riff that breaks into a raw rocking verse. The song evolves into plenty of fiddly guitar parts, again with an Iron Maiden vibe.

Blasting open with in-your-face blast beats and crazy guitar rhythms, Echoes of Memoryhas an explosive intro that segues into a slower more Black Sabbath-y rhythm. Very Ozzy-style vocals complement the guitar parts. The solo and harmonies also fall in line with the whole old-school vibe that the album has.

A glorious ending to the album, That’s What Friends Are For begins with a left-of-field sad harmonica part that sounds a little out of character from the rest of the album. Just when you think this is how it ends, it abruptly and violently becomes a more filled-out and emotional tune. This song is definitely full of feeling; the melody tugs at the heartstrings, and gets you thinking of fond memories. The guitar lead parts hit the right notes and harmonies to give the song that mood. It reminds me of a recent Alice Cooper song, Something To Remember Me By, which invoked a similar emotional impact.

Overall, ‘Texas Metal Outlaws’ is a fantastic album that screams old-school, and features a great song dynamic. From explosive melt-your-face-off intros, to emotional, nostalgia-inducing choruses, and everything in between, this album is well worth the listen.

Nerrilee Morale – Overdrive Music Magazine & Website


It’s true: The stars at night are clear and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.  As a cultural matter, Texas pride lies deep in the hearts of denizens of that fair state.  As a musical matter, Texas has a rich heritage of underground heavy metal excellence spanning the decades and subgenres from death metal to doom to prog to traditional metal.  So I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone launched a project geared specifically to celebrating Texas metal.  In this case, “someone” turned out to be Robert Williams, guitarist of Ignitor and Witches Mark and an accomplished music journalist (at Metal Rules) in his own right.  Williams’ plan was elegant in its simplicity:  Assemble a cast of Texas underground metal musicians, from the well-known to the obscure.  (Among the marquee names are James Rivera and Larry Barragan from Helstar, Donnie Van Stavern from Riot and S.A. Slayer, Mike Soliz from Militia, Jason McMaster from Watchtower, etc., and Ross the Boss – wait a minute, he’s a New Yorker, right?  That’s okay, we all need more Ross the Boss in our lives.)  Write a batch of killer, stylistically disparate songs for them to perform.  Sprinkle in a couple of cover tunes.  Call it the “Texas Metal Outlaws.”  What started as a simple premise turned into a labor of love for Williams and his collaborators, spanning four years from inception to completion.  The fruits of this endeavor are an album entitled Texas Metal Outlaws, which is seeing the light of day on CD (via Heaven and Hell Records) and vinyl (via Texas Metal Underground Records) later this month.

Highlights are plentiful on Texas Metal Outlaws.  Opening track, the suitably monikered “Texas Metal Outlaws,” is a speed-demon kick in the (broken) teeth a la Thundersteel-era Riot or fast Ignitor, featuring McMaster’s trademark screaming vocals and lyrics extolling the virtues of Texas metal as a “hydra of sound” or a “bloodbath of steel,” humorously “from the land of Shiner Bock and big ass burritos.”  Equally satisfying, albeit in a totally different style, is “Sound of Scorn,” a terrific doom number with lumbering, monolithic riffing and an impassioned, intense vocal from Mark Zammaron (Las Cruces, among others) singing, “I am the trumpeter / And I blow sounds of scorn.”  Powerful, impactful stuff, and my favorite track on the album.  The Riot cover, “Running from the Law,” is executed with all the love and care and attention to detail it deserves, showcasing Donnie Von Stavern on bass, appropriately enough, and McMaster and Soliz tag-teaming the vocals splendidly, employing a far more restrained delivery than one might expect, given their wailing pedigree.  The song featuring James Rivera, entitled “Echoes of Memory,” flirts with blastbeats and more extreme elements, just as latter-day Helstar have done.  Williams is to be commended for tailoring his writing style to the different vocalists, and presenting songs that embrace a wide swath of Texas underground metal history, rather than being restricted to the hammer-down, no-frills trad metal favored by Williams’ regular bands.

Without question, there’s some really well-done, top-notch material on Texas Metal Outlaws.  But the album is not an unqualified success.  For my taste, a couple of songs miss the mark.  Track 2, “Malt Liquor Maniac,” is a stripped-down-and-dirty biker-metal type ditty that sees Williams barking out gruff effects-laden lead vocals himself with some cringe-inducing lyrics (oh, I know they were supposed to be tongue in cheek) about drinking 40 oz bottles from the corner store, “even chug the bitch foam,” and being victimized by the titular character who is so “drunk now and later” that he is “clearing out your bank account and your refrigerator.”  You get the picture.  Its placement as the second song unfortunately kills a lot of the momentum generated by the opening “Texas Metal Outlaws.”  And the closing song is a silly rewrite of “That’s What Friends Are For.”  Yeah, the Dionne Warwick song.  Instead of singing things like “Keep smiling, keep shining / Knowing you can count on me for sure,” the TMO version has lines like “Keep slaying, keep raising / Goathorns in the air cause I am sure.”  I mean, it’s clever and the guys obviously had quite a laugh taking the piss out of this maudlin song, but it’s not the kind of thing I’d want to hear more than once or twice.  (You know that Twisted Sister Christmas album where they do a metal-lyric version of “Twelve Days of Christmas”?  Yeah, it’s kinda like that.)  Furthermore, a skeptic might view Texas Metal Outlaws as simply an Ignitor album disguised by a plethora of guests; after all, several members of Ignitor feature prominently, and the creative braintrust powering this machine is clearly Ignitor’s six-string tandem of Williams and Stuart Laurence, who played nearly all the guitar parts, wrote nearly all the music (Williams) and recorded, mixed and produced the album.  Of course, the musical diversity on display and the aforementioned guests should effectively rebut that sentiment.  Also, the tracklisting is a bit on the skimpy side, with just six original songs plus the two covers and a 36-minute total running time.  But I choose to laud Texas Metal Outlaws for what it is.  It ain’t perfect, but when it’s good, it’s really really good, folks.  I applaud the effort, I applaud the results, and I sincerely hope there’s more where this album came from.

Rating 8/10  –  Kit Ekman – truemetallives.com