Texas Murder Crew – Everyone’s Last Breath Review

Earlier this year, the “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew” cleaned up in ratings and accolades on this blog. Now we’ve got another crew in town – well, state – in the form of Texas Murder Crew. The big draw of this band for those unaware is guitarist Kevin Clark, who played on Devourment’s legendary Molesting the Decapitated. It’s amusing to me that, should I have been tasked with writing about Devourment as a promo guy, describing them as a “Texas Murder Crew” is the best description I would have never thought of. Mr. Clark and his cohorts evidently did though, and Everyone’s Last Breath is everyone’s first taste of a release from the band that isn’t a demo.

Everyone’s first thought about Everyone’s Last Breath will be that it doesn’t sound much like Molesting the Decapitated, much like Kill Everything’s Scorched Earth (which featured Brian Wynn, who also played guitar on Molesting the Decapitated) didn’t. This owes in large part to production choices, which on both records eschewed the classic, gore-soaked basement style of slam for a clean, crisp, and modern sound. Texas Murder Crew is also more accessible than Devourment and Kill Everything due to a slight infusion of slamming deathcore elements via Ingested and, in the occasional spot some melodies that owe more to Whitechapel’s debut than brutal death metal. Nevertheless, those big, beefy TXDM riffs n’ slams are here in full force, as are those faster churning riffs which punctuate them here as they do in Devourment and Kill Everything.

Everyone’s Last Breath begins with everyone’s favorite thing: a track entitled “Intro.” A piano melody made to sound like a horror theme kicks off the record, but is happily interrupted by a quick drum fill and the full band filling out the sound with harmony added on top that reminds of “The Somatic Defilement.” After this, it’s off to the races if “the races” are uniformly good, fun and brutal death metal. While it’s difficult to not make this read like a slight (and rest assured it is not one), Texas Murder Crew comes across like a ridiculously fun bar band, similar in this way to the best Goatwhore material. They’re not aiming for the arena or critical fanfare, they’re aiming for pits and headbanging, which suits me fine. Instead of being meticulous or thought-provoking, the structures here are meant to create and maintain energy. “Curse of Humanity” is a good example of success, as early on the song just stops for a second so a half-pound-burger-topped-with-brisket beefy slam can barge in ex nihilo. It’s obnoxious, but it’s fun and it works.

The downside of this style of structure is that one tends to remember parts and pieces instead of full songs. “Destroy the Witness” has a nearly unforgettable riff and vocal combo (you’ll know it when you hear it), but the stuff surrounding it becomes less memorable because it doesn’t exactly transition logically out of anything – it was simply time for a twenty-four-ounce-steak beefy riff, so Texas Murder Crew threw down a great one. That said, like the latest Gorevent platter, I always enjoy listening to Everyone’s Last Breath straight through and am compelled to return often enough. If I had to quibble, vocals can be a bit too omnipresent, which is likely a byproduct of having two vocalists. There is no problem with the vocals – they’re varied in (brutal) style, performed well, and phrased impressively – but it would be nice to hear Clark and his instrumental Crewmates bash out more unaccompanied riffs.

Everyone’s Last Breath closes with everyone’s most confused moment of the listening experience in “Stronghold.” It’s a short bruiser that seems to aim for a hardcore sound infused with some brutal death and a bit of grimy rap. It’s a corollary to “Intro” in a sense, as a quick-paced full band battering is sandwiched with a keyboard-driven melody, but here the band plays a slamming hardcore breakdown underneath it, and the vocals are delivered in a style reminiscent of hip-hop. It’s a cool ending to a cool record, and I find that it closes the brief experience nicely. I had a lot of fun with Texas Murder Crew, and they sound like a new band in the best of ways: they’re truly excited about their material. That enthusiasm is contagious, because when the Texas Murder Crew comes to town (or at least comes along with a new record), I’ll be excited too.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music
Website: facebook.com/Texas-Murder-Crew
Releases Worldwide: August 7th, 2020

« »