Category: Pantera

Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill

ARTIST: Pantera                  220px-Pantera_The_Great_Southern_Trendkill

TITLE: The Great Southern Trendkill

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: #4 US, #17 UK

SINGLES: Drag the Waters, Suicide Note Pt. 1, Floods

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you bought it, you know it. Otherwise, no.

LINEUP: Phil Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown, Vinnie Paul

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: An even louder and aggressive record than the other 90’s Pantera albums, except for the ballads.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Starting out with a hearty GROWL from Phil Anselmo, Pantera’s fourth major label album is loud and angry. Sometimes that’s all you need from metal, but, in this case it’s not

The songs that have a memorable riff and melody (well, as melodious as Anselmo gets) and hook are right there with the best of their tracks. That’s only a couple. The rest of the aggressive ones are just a blur of volume.

The ballads get them encroaching on Alice in Chains territory that doesn’t really bring out the strengths of the group (which in my ears are all metal). And that makes a track like “Floods” a bit schizophrenic, with a definite mellow kind of vibe, then it hits you over the head in kind of an abrupt transition.

It’s not bad, I’m not going to lie. But it’s something that won’t be on my regular rotation.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band was fighting among themselves, so Anselmo did his vocals in another studio away from the rest of the group.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A live track in Japan, and an anniversary edition, of course.

 GRADE: C+: I’m not feeling this one.

Pantera – Far Beyond Driven

ARTIST: Pantera                                 220px-pantera-farbeyonddriven

TITLE:  Far Beyond Driven

YEAR RELEASED: 1994

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: I’m Broken (#19 UK), Planet Caravan (#21 Mainstream, #26 UK), Five Minutes Alone (#13 Mainstream), Becoming (#12 Mainstream)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Metalheads probably know this whole record

LINEUP: Phil Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown, Vinnie Paul.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Instead of moving forward, or solidifying their progress, Pantera takes a step back artistically even though they capitalize commercially.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The leap to Vulgar Display of Power from their previous records was a large one, and one hoped that Pantera would keep at that same level, or even move forward.220px-farbeyonddrivenoriginal

That didn’t happen.

It’s not to say that Far Beyond Driven isn’t a good record. It is, but it’s disappointing as it seems recycled and some of the songs lyrics, while meaning well, just don’t go anywhere or move anyone.

The only notable song is their cover of “Planet Caravan”, which made for a great change-up. Unfortunately it was at the end, while most of the record was the same pounding metal. This is why sequencing is important.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original artwork was replaced quickly, but was released in Australia and New Zealand and on re-issues.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A Japanese bonus track and a live CD.

GRADE: B:  They went a bit backwards, while getting more popular

 

Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power

ARTIST: Pantera 220px-PanteraVulgarDisplayofPower
TITLE: Vulgar Display of Power
YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: #44 US, #64 UK
SINGLES: Mouth for War (#73 UK), This Love, Hollow, Walk (#35 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: On radio, no. Metalheads know this album by heart.
LINEUP: Phil Anselmo, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, Rex Brown, Vinnie Paul
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pantera releases their ultimate record and possibly the best metal album of the 90’s. It’s heavy, hard, and…catchy?

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The leap between Cowboys from Hell and this album wasn’t as big as the leap between hair metal and Cowboys, but it’s still a leap. Pantera’s settled into their new persona, and recorded a devastating record full of riffs and power.

The production is much better, with a more natural drum sound and a better vocal mix. Abbott’s guitar riffs are classic, and the solos are intense without straying too much for the song or showing off for showing off’s sake.

There are even a couple of slower songs, but unlike hair metal power ballads, they retain the intensity and power of the more riff driven songs – and that’s quite a feat. The last song, Hollow, is definitely a ballad, but its placement on the album as the final song is just right. It also shows that Anselmo can really sing instead of yell.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: During the recording of the album, Abbott moved away from “Diamond Darrell” or “Dimebag”. Rex Brown also stopped being Rexx Rocker. That last name belonged in a band like Britney Fox or something.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with an extra song (that’s not needed really) and a DVD.

GRADE: A : It’s almost the perfect metal album.

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

ARTIST: Pantera 220px-CowboysFromHell
TITLE: Cowboys From Hell
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: #117
SINGLES: Cowboys From Hell, Cemetery Gates, Psycho Holiday
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Sleep (?)
LINEUP: Phil Anselmo, Diamond Darrell (soon to be Dimebag), Rex Rocker, Vinnie Paul.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Former glam-metal wanna-be’s change direction, and become a hard and heavy band big on riffs and light on the foo-foo stuff.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It wasn’t much of a chance to take for Pantera, as their career as a glam-boy band had withered and died. So why not go for some attitude, swagger and some muscular riffs instead of the pretty stuff? The result was a total re-invention for the band and great success in the 90’s. They survived the grunge era because they were heavy and attracted a new, different fan base.

The best songs on this album are some of the best metal had to offer in the 90’s. While I feel the album is inconsistent at times, at its best it’s a landmark metal record that should be in metal fans collections. Of course, if any metal fan doesn’t have some Pantera, I’d have to question their sanity.

NOTES & MINUTAE: I’d love, love, love to hear those four glam metal albums of theirs, but I’m afraid to – especially Metal Magic. Go google that cover. OH! MY! GOD!

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with a CD of live cuts and a CD of demos. A bit much for my collection, but the main album is a big-time keeper.

GRADE: B+ : I almost upped it to an A- but the lesser songs are kind of forgettable. Still, metal fans must have this.