Texans Witch Child have been kickin’ around the local scene for a good few years now without making much of a noise in the big wild world, so I was surprised when Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams asked me to write a few words on their new album for the mag… They must be doing something right to get into the pages of the world’s greatest online heavy metal read!

So, on having a listen to Machine Enslavement, my first thoughts were how good it sounds for an indie release. The guitars of David Gonzalez and Randy Carbajal carry real presence, and on this reviewer’s favourite cut, When Danger Calls, the pair fit together really well, backing the characterful vocals of Locust to a heavy metal tee.

That’s a high point, for sure, and whilst there aren’t many actual low points on the album some of the material does lack a little focus at times, and songs can meander their way into blind alleys when a little attention to tightening up their arrangements might pay big dividends. These guys have got the talent, that’s not the question. They just need to rein in the ambition a tad at times.

Vocalist Locust holds his own well in the production – singers often get swamped at this level I find, either because the producer/engineer lacks expertise in recording vocals or there just isn’t any time after the band spends half it’s studio time miking up the drum kit to do the singer justice- but his strong, bold vocal style (which veers from Tom Araya to King Diamond and back again) is sure to give the band an edge if they can use this release as a spring board to make the step up to the next level.

That next level would be to hitch their wagon to a decent label to give them the promotional pitch they deserve, and on this evidence songs like Bleeding For You and doom-ridden closer Wages of Sin, which features some nice work from the rhythm section Fernando Guillen (Bass) and drummer Aaron Coronado, they are certainly ready to take the plunge.

Machine Enslavement is out now.