Robert Meadows, king of Austin

6. Howl

MetalSucks presents South By South Death at the Dirty Dog

Prior to this performance I was only casually acquainted with the band’s fifth full length Full of Hell, which is quite solid. Since then, Vincent Hausman dropped the guitar to focus fully on vocals which seems to have been beneficial for the band. his performance was great and songs new and old we executed with unbelievable intensity.

The band’s new album, Bloodlines, drops April 30th via Relapse

5. The Beards

Midgetmen’s Jumpstart at The Side Bar & The Australian Music Showcase at BD Riley’s Pub

If you are unfamiliar with The Beards you are missing out. However, if you yourself do not have a beard or are a lady with an undying appreciation for them, kindly ignore this recommendation until you have a beard (this includes ladies). They are a quartet of bearded men from Australia that managed to put out three full-length concept albums all about the joys, trials, and triumphs of having a beard. Their sets were intimate for those who were bearded (i.e. they’d stroke your beard, you’d stroke theirs, beard on beard rubs, etc) and hilarious both in song and in-between.

The band is currently backing their self-released third album Having A Beard Is The New Not Having A Beard.

4. Junius

Metal Wreckage Showcase at the Sixth Lounge Rooftop

I’ve adored this band for quite some time and have managed to not see them on every trek they’ve made through my local venues, so I was very excited for this one. The band played a flawless half hour of their amazing ambient dark metal/hard rock that presented many tracks from their recent album Reports From The Threshold Of Death. In person the band is heavy on a level that I’ve only encountered seen one other time. That band was Gojira.

The band is currently backing their second LP Reports From The Threshold Of Death via Prosthetic Records

3. Royal Thunder

Pitchfork’s Show No Mercy Showcase at The Mohawk, MetalSucks presents South By South Death at the Dirty Dog, and The Converse/Thrasher Death Match at The Scoot Inn

I haven’t been able to stop listening to Royal Thunder’s CVI since I left Texas. As I type this “Shake and Shift” is pouring through my speakers and Mlny Parsonz’s voice is trying to tear my focus away from this entry. The aforementioned CVI was one of my favorite records of 2012 and my expectations were high for seeing them live. They did not disappoint, so much so that I tried to see them four days in a row. I succeeded only thrice because I made the mistake of leaving the venue to get food before they went on and was denied re-entry upon my return. Anyway, Parsonz is phenomenal live the rest of the band managed to capture your attention with their abilities. I’d see them again tomorrow if I could.

Royal Thunder released CVI in 2012 on Relapse

2. Clutch

The 11oo Warehouse and The Converse/Thrasher Death Match at The Scoot Inn

Clutch barely made it on this list before Royal Thunder. Royal Thunder was just as good but Clutch are one of my favorite bands of all time. Their setlists both days were perfectly balanced between material from the new album, Earth Rocker, and classics like “The Profits of Doom,” “Texan Book of the Dead” and “Gravel Road.” These shows at SXSW were my fourth and fifth time experiencing the glory of Clutch live, and only managed to get me excited for when they play San Francisco next week.

Clutch’s new album, Earth Rocker, is out today via WeatherMaker Music

1. A Life Once Lost

Metal Wreckage Showcase at the Sixth Lounge Rooftop

Before this performance was even two songs in, I text my friend, “Dude, A Life Once Lost got awesome!” I first saw A Life Once Lost in 2006 at Ozzfest, and when I did I saw a completely different band. Since then the band took a completely different direction to both their music and their stage presence. Douglas Sabolick’s guitar work would be so easy to get lost in if it weren’t for vocalist Robert Meadows being such a fantastic madman of a front man. Meadows was was all over the place. He shared the mic with fans during the band’s closing number, even having a fan join him on stage (by force), he stood on Jordan Crouse’s bass drum and hung from what little cover the awning provided, and this served as foreshadowing as Meadows later scaled that awning and stood over half of the audience and screamed from atop  Austin. In short, the man (and the band overall) put on a hell of a show!

The band’s latest album Ecstatic Trance is out now via Season of Mist


Every Band I Saw

The Circle
Royal Thunder x 3
A Life Once Lost
Power Trip x 2
The beards x 2
Countless Thousands
KEN Mode
The Kickback
Murder By Death
Clutch x 2
Hatred Surge
Freedom Hawk
Ancient VVisdom
Orange Goblin
and countless other bands that mumbled their names

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