I am currently in the midst of a signing tour for my latest book, PURE MURDER. Nothing helps me keep my sanity more when I am on the road paying outrageous sums of money for gas, dealing with complete fucking morons behind the wheel, and trudging through Texas-sized traffic jams than listening to heavy metal at full volume.

Here are some quick reviews of some of the metal I cranked on my recent trip to the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas, home of “Sparky” the out-of-service electric chair, for a booksigning.

METAL CHURCH: This Present Wasteland Advance Copy – the best Iron Maiden album since Powerslave. I’ll be doing a full review in the near future as well as an interview with the band, so stay tuned.

A STORM OF LIGHT: And We Wept the Black Ocean Within – Neurosis/Red Sparowes/Battle of Mice contributor Josh Graham’s latest project sets the sludgy/doomy tone of the majority of this road trip. Appropriate since I mainly took the backroads of Texas to avoid the interstate idiots. ASOL’s sound makes me think of molasses metal. I look forward to giving this one more spins.

THE ACACIA STRAIN: Continent – good guitars, decent vokills — for one song. Then is comes around again sounding exactly the same. RRRRROOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR. Same note, same inflection, same boring, montonous drone. This one got ejected before the fourth track had ended. Do not pass Go.

ICE AGES: Buried Silence – cool, dark industrial for the metalheads who dig Skinny Puppy. Not normal MetalSucks fare, but will put the creepy in your panties.

MACHINERY: The Passing – perfect music to listen to while driving through College Station – Aggieland – what with them being tools and all. The town was overrun with freshly scrubbed kids eagerly preparing for the first day of college in two days – great place to blast some obnoxious old-school metal. Don’t remember much of the record but I enjoyed the annoyed faces of the soon-to-be-drunk-and-vomiting-in-the-Dixie-Chicken-Ags.

MOSS: Sub Templum – the doom continues as I drove into Huntsville, the town that leads the world in executions. This is the aural equivalent of Stephen King’s “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” otherwise known as the “dude who turns into a plant” segment from George A. Romero’s Creepshow. Heavy as fuck, time to take a bath music. Loved it!

REMEMBRANCE: Silence the Moments – Doom, doom, doom, doom, doom, doom, doom…great album! Who says the French are pussies? These guys slay, at a very, very glacier-like pace.

PYRAMIDS: self-titled – favorite album of the trip. My fellow Texans (whom I have never heard before) rock a mixture of black metal, pop, and ambient-techno remixes that completely blew my mind. This 2-disc album (yes, album) combines the oppressive blackness of Blut Aus Nord, random Steve Vai/Joe Satriani guitar histrionics, Bono vox compressed in a swirling tornado, and Streetcleaner-era Godflesh. Sounds pretty horrible, right? Wrong. It’s fucking brilliant. This album immediately jumps into the #3 slot for my favorite album of 2008 and will receive dozens of spins while I finish writing my seventh true crime book.

SATYRICON: My Skin is Cold EP – Like Volcano? Then you’ll like this teaser for the upcoming November full-length release. Only one new track, outtakes from Volcano, and two live cuts. All are strong and perfect for driving in a torrential downpour bypassing a five-car pile-up (for real).

Final Roadkill Count – (1) armadillo, (1) raccoon, (1) skunk, and (1) kitten.

[Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of six true crime books, including his latest, PURE MURDER, about the murder of two teenage girls. He recently attended the execution of one of the killers, Jose “Joe” Medellin.]

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