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Class 6(66)

Pantera: Far beyond driven

13/08/09  ||  Trauma

Introduction

Here we have album number three from the Cowboys From Hell (hey, if they’ll forget about their glam metal dayz, I will too since they were certainly a different band). It’s also what I believe to be their last real good record. With “Cowboys from hell” they had a bunch of good songs but still some filler, “Vulgar display of power” saw a flawless record with not one subpar track, and “Far beyond driven” takes a step back, and half of one down (in tuning). It’s still a classic though, and allow me to explain why.

Songwriting

7. There is nothing bad about the actual songwriting on the album. If nothing else Dimebag could write one thick, meaty, and hard riff. Multiply that by something like 100 and you have his entire career. Vinnie lays down his monstrous beats that compliment everything so well. That’s proof positive they are brothers if not a great writing team. They produced more than their share of hit songs including some on this record so how can the songwriting be called bad? There are a few boring tracks on this record, but you show me another band that can create songs like “I’m broken”, “5 minutes alone”, and “Becoming”. No, don’t really show me, that was fucken rhetorical.

Production

9. This is a good production. Awesome guitar sound/clarity? Check. Awesome bass sound/clarity? Check. Awesome drum sound/clarity? Fucken check. The sound of all those instruments would be nothing with having a great mix, albeit a guitar heavy one. Terry Date was not a bad producer, this is evidence. Phil’s vocals sound slightly muffled, but he probably cups/fellates a mic in the studio.

Guitars

10. In the realm of heavy metal there were few guitarists if any that could surpass Dimebag in skill and creativity. Maybe only Zakk Wylde had a better grasp on the pentatonic scale, but that’s all he’d surpass Dime on. On this album Dime tuned his woody to C#, thunk up the heaviest and grooviest riffs since 1992 (not all of them reaching the same climactic awesome), and let loose. One of the worst tragedies of this past decade was the moment a fucken certified retard walked up on stage with the idea that Dimebag deserved to die. Fuck Ohio, their retards, and one specific highway patrol officer that has nothing to do with this review.

Vocals

7. “5 minutes aloooooooonnnnnnneeeee”, “I’m brooooookkkeeeennnnnnnnnn”. Notice a pattern? He’s got his unique aggressive vocals. But he’s not why I love Pantera. Some stuff on this record is just annoying, like “Good friends and a bottle of pills”.

Bass

9. Rex holds his ground while Dime shreds without any backing rhythm guitar tracks. The bass sound is pretty good, too. Give me one reason to rate it less than a 9 and I’ll give you two reasons to go die.

Drums

9. One of the most solid drummers around. It sounds like he’s pounding his kit the same way he would down a steak or three, which is pretty damn hard! It’s a shame his excellence is wasted with the loss of Dimebag. Hell Yeah was a sad attempt at recreating the groove.

Lyrics

6.5. I’m hurt, I’m angry, I want 5 minutes alone in some room to beat the shit out of you, I’m a fucken drug addict and alcoholic. That’s Phil, love it or hate it.

Cover art

8. Iconic as ever. But the original artwork is better.

Logo

7. They change the font’s graphic but the font itself stays consistent through their career. This time it’s nice and rusty with some bullet holes.

Booklet

5. I don’t have the booklet, I made an online purchase for this record. Probably not too different from VDoP’s, you know, lyrics, pics, boring stuff.

Overall and ending rant

Although it hits some armadillos along the highway one cannot deny how good the album is overall. It starts out fantastic up until “Good friends and a bottle of pills”, and after that it takes some time to recuperate until “Shedding skin”. Plus, the Black Sabbath cover could go. About even in terms of powerhouse songs with “Cowboys from hell”, but nowhere near the perfection of “Vulgar display of power”.

8

  • Information
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: East West
  • Website: www.pantera.com
  • Band
  • Phil Anselmo: vocals
  • Dimebag Darrell: guitars
  • Rex Brown: bass
  • Vinnie Paul: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Strength beyond strength
  • 02. Becoming
  • 03. 5 minutes alone
  • 04. I’m broken
  • 05. Good friends and a bottle of pills
  • 06. Hard lines, sunken cheeks
  • 07. Slaughtered
  • 08. 25 years
  • 09. Shedding Skin
  • 10. Use my third arm
  • 11. Throes of rejection
  • 12. Planet caravan (Black Sabbath cover)