Houston thrashers Legion invade Zombies

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Two weekends ago, I trekked up I-35 with friends for a solid Saturday night of face-melting metal at Emo’s in Austin. Though I have plenty of ways to get my metal fix in San Antonio, we wanted to check out Times Of Grace, the new project that reunites current Killswitch Engage guitarist/producer Adam Dutkiewicz with KsE’s original lead vocalist Jesse Leach.

Times of Grace’s lineup is a throwback to KsE’s Alive or Just Breathing era — Joel Stroetzel is the touring guitarist for TOG right now, so they’re only missing two members from 2002. That said, the band stuck to new material off their notable recent debut, The Hymn of a Broken Man, rather than rehashing old AJOB songs. And it served them well. Though TOG isn’t the focus of this post, their live show was one of the best I’ve seen so far in 2011 and I’ll be keeping tabs on them.

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About an hour before TOG took the outside stage at Emo’s, we headed to the inside bar to supplement our beers with a Black Tooth apiece. We were immediately sucked in by Legion, a young thrash metal outfit from Houston. Their racing twin guitar attack and clean vocals caught my attention, and I immediately noticed the huge black X’s on each member’s hands, denoting their age (or lack thereof). Since none of these guys looked a day older than 18, we were struck by the sharp contrast between their fresh faces and throwback style of playing.

Dripping with old-school thrash riffage and unmistakable stage presence, their set channeled early-era Metallica and included a more-than-admirable rendition of Slayer’s “Angel of Death.” Kudos to whoever started Legion off right in regards to influences. My favorite song of the set was “Machine,” as the breakdowns effectively pulled the audience back into the groove. I bought their $5 EP after the show, and singer/guitarist Drew Habryl revealed that the performance was Legion’s very first outside the Houston city limits — I told him that he needed to book some shows in San Antonio, stat. If you're a promoter, venue owner, or band who would like to reach Legion for future booking, contact them at legion731@aol.com.

And if you want to check out the band locally, you're in luck! Due to a last minute cancellation by SA’s Bastardwolf, Legion is filling a slot on the “Night of the Thrashing Dead 3” showcase this Friday, February 18, at Zombies, 4202 Thousand Oaks. The show is only $5, headlined by Austin’s Birth A.D., and Legion plays third in the six-band lineup. Doors are 8 p.m. You metalheads will definitely hear more from this great up-and-coming band, so remember — the Current told you first.

Contact Nicole Chavez with news, notes, and tips for Up All Night at nchavez@sacurrent.com. Feedback is appreciated!

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