As anti-rock ‘n’ roll as it sounds, everyone has to grow up sometime. Including rap metal artists.

That’s the message from Jason Taylor, lead singer of the Fort Worth metal outfit Sweetooth, which is on the bill with a head-spinning collection of Tarrant County noize bands for an Aug. 9 show at Lola’s. All the groups on the marquee roster –– Southern Train Gypsy, Volume Dealer, and C.R.O.M.A. –– are friends, friends of friends, or have performed together in North Texas’ crowded but often underappreciated metal scene. And while you can expect plenty of sonic mayhem at the Lola’s gig, Sweetooth will also be featuring new material that marks a distinct change from the screamy, strutting, rhyme-dropping style that marked its early days.

Back in 2002, when Sweetooth was signed with the national indie label Last Beat Records, they were riding high on the wave of testosterone-fueled rap metal bands like Pimpadelic. “Back then, when we used to headline Trees, we’d jump around onstage and tear our shirts off,” said Taylor with a chuckle. “We were terrible.” Over many months now, Sweetooth has been working on a new album that Taylor says will still be loud and heavy but feature more of a deliberately polished Southern rock groove –– anthemic choruses, instrumental hooks, lyrics you can understand. To his mind, it’s music that’s made with craft and technique rather than pure adolescent self-expression. Think Corrosion of Conformity or a heavier Alice in Chains.


Three of Sweetooth’s new songs –– “Belly of the Whale”, “Buried Alive”, and “Planet Cemetery” –– are available on the band’s YouTube channel. North Texas producer extraordinaire Will Hunt (Burning Hotels, Chrome Pony) was so impressed with Sweetooth’s new material that he agreed to produce more tracks, which the band will release in dribs and drabs throughout the rest of 2013. The tunes will be bundled as an album and dropped sometime next year.

In the meantime, Taylor is excited about the upcoming Lola’s show with his longtime pals. He particularly wants to plug his friends in C.R.O.M.A. (the acronym stands for “Catastrophic Results Of Mishandled Anger”), a new-ish metal act that includes two former members of the now-defunct rage rock outfit Within Chaos. That group,like Sweetooth, was once signed with a national label and played with big-time acts like Metallica and Drowning Pool back in the ’00s. Think of the Aug. 9 show as a convening of older but wiser North Texas metal stalwarts.

Your regular HearSay writer is on family leave but will return soon.

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