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Metal Magic

Pantera - Metal Magic ©1983 Metal Magic
1. Ride My Rocket
2. I'll Be Alright
3. Tell Me If You Want It
4. Latest Lover
5. Biggest Part of Me
6. Metal Magic
7. Widowmaker
8. Nothin' On (But the Radio)
9. Sad Lover
10. Rock Out

Pantera rode the tough guy metal wave to the hilt in the 90s, earning the respect of jocks everywhere who wanted an excuse to pummel people in moshpits everywhere. But while Pantera made a name for themselves being tough looking men, it really needs to be pointed out yet again that Pantera's roots were firmly in big foofy hair metal. And sadly, the most derivative, weakest sort of glam metal.

Metal Magic is the Pantera's real debut. They did not suddenly emerge from Texas when Cowboys From Hell was released in 1990. No sir. They spent the 80s toiling away on the glam metal circuit in spandex and oversized hair. Even Phil Anselmo, who joined in 1987, played the part. Metal Magic is where Pantera began. And yes, the music on the album is as garish as the truly awful album cover. While Pantera was the home of future guitar hero Diamond Darrell, this band was stuck in the worst cliches of glam metal and spent far too much time waxing poetic about their wieners. The vocalist on this album, Terry Glaze, was a tepid, underwhelming lack of force while the rest of the band plugged away at various mainstays of glam metal sounds. There is the unfortunate power balled, "Biggest Part of Me", which quite unbearable. There's the requisite songs about getting it on (I suspect "Ride My Rocket" has nothing to do with the space program being based in Houston, Texas). Metal Magic spends much of its time just being truly second or third rate hard rock. If someone were to make a mockumentary about glam metal, they would find this album to be too weak to be satire.

Needless to say, Pantera of later years went through a lot of trouble to pretend this era never existed. One can see why they'd prefer these albums are never brought up, but they probably should have just written them off as "misguided youth" with a chuckle and dismissive wave of the hand rather than the supposed hostility some have reported. Metal Magic is no Cold Lake, but only because they were young and didn't know any better. However, it is worth noting that Pantera has always been a slave to the prevailing style of the times. When glam was the big thing, that's what they followed. Once Metallica took hold of the metal audience, Pantera wasted no time in suddenly becoming tough guys with scowls and workingman clothes. These guys wanted stardom and they would have gotten a turntable DJ and go-go dancers had metal embraced that.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2010

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Far Beyond Driven

Pantera - Far Beyond Driven ©1994 EastWest
1. Strength Beyond Strength
2. Becoming
3. 5 Minutes Alone
4. I'm Broken
5. Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills
6. Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks
7. Slaughtered
8. 25 Years
9. Shedding Skin
10. Use My Third Arm
11. Throes Of Rejection
12. Planet Caravan

This has got to be the most overrated, awful band around who go steadily downhill with each passing year. Vulgar Display of Power was a good record with a fair share of grooves, but this??? I never could listen to this clear through because Phil Anselmo had become decidedly cheesy in his singing approach. Ugh. Maybe the only redeeming factor is in their cover of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan". Unfortunately, Pantera has been all-too-responsible for bringing back in the illiterate, beer-bellied, over aggressive doofus element into metal music, replacing fans with overbearing jocks with wit to match.

And kids, remember this drunken bunch of rednecks used to be a makeup-clad glam band until it became cool to be heavy. Talk about a discreet sell-out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1997

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