Review : Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill
Metal-archivesBefore I start off this review in going into what was and still is an amazing album, let me give you some insight as to the feel behind this album. I will start off by quoting the great American author Henry Miller from his 1945 novel "The Air Conditioned Nightmare." And I quote;
"The Southerner has a different rhythm, a different attitude towards life. Nothing will convince him that he is wrong, at bottom he has supreme contempt for the man in the North. He has his own set of idols - warriors, statesmen, mens of letters - whose fame and glory have never dimmed. The South remains solidly against the North, in everything. It wages a hopeless fight, very much like the fight of the Irish against England."
And by saying that it gives you an idea of the mentality, the feel, heart, and soul of Pantera which is southern culture and southern pride. And in that southern culture/pride it brings out sometimes the mis-concepts, stereotypes, stigmas of practically anyone and everyone below the Mason-Dixon line. My theory of why Pantera was so controversial in many ways was that they were proud of their southern roots and homeland and didn't go with the flow with the whole rebel flags and that stuff. And yes I have watched the videos of his so-called racist rants on stage. That's NOT racism. When you come from the south, that's just a general rule of thumb for respect. I'll go more into that later. But for not only Phil but the rest of Pantera, they were that rowdy bunch of southern boys who just got into trouble. It's a very common thing when you hear it from the mouths of mothers in the south talking about their sons and their taes of general hell-raising.. It's expected of us. It's a way of self-education to not do stupid shit because in the end....it comes back to haunt you. Aside from the ominous hints I've been dropping, the FEEL of the south is here; the Spanish moss, the alligators, the intense raging heat, the watered-down beer and burning feel of whiskey. Even the underbelly that's nothing but unemployment, anger, drugs, depression, poverty, etc. It's all there. That fiery red phoenix from the south is glowing with anger. And not a bird that burned faster, hotter and sadly shorter than Pantera. That was one freebird they couldn't chain that's for a damn fact....full text
MetalstormSince Phil Anselmo joined Pantera they had gone from strength to strength with sales increasing for each subsequent album and along with their worldwide reputation as a devastatingly violent and energetic live act; this album was highly anticipated in the barren metal years of the mid-nineties. The pressures of success had however, along with excessive alcohol consumption, exhausting touring duties and Phil's drug problems, caused a rift in the band and the recording of this album was anything but a smooth process. What this in-fighting, drug addiction and despair with success spewed forth was one of the most powerful pieces of pure hatred, attitude and anger filled music ever to come out of the American deep south.
The first ten seconds is an aural assault on the listener as the screams come at you with the full force of all Phil's pent-up frustrations. The guitar barbarity and drum battery will quickly have you starting a mosh pit with any unsuspecting and unfortunate individual to cross your path. Before long Dimebag Darrell's trademark Southern Hard Rock, groove layered guitar flair rears its head and the riffs are as enticingly sinister as they are absorbingly technical. The lyrics lecture us on a wide variety of topics from the evils of the media to the corruption of the justice system. There are momentary breaks from this franticly heavy barrage on tracks like the comparatively slower "10's" and most notably on "Suicide Note Pt. 1" an acoustic tale of depression. Using unusual sound effects this sombre episode looks at the man contemplating suicide and divulging his innermost emotions. "Suicide Note Pt. 2" is Pantera's attempt at creating their fastest and heaviest offering yet as they get deep down into the angers and frustrations of life and offers a warning not follow the same path. One of the major standout tracks on this album is "Floods", the guitar solo on this song is widely renowned by guitar aficionados as one of Dimebag Darrell's very best in his illustrious career and the song itself is again a rather morbid look at the state of mankind....full text
Metal-observerAs all fans of Metal know, Dimebag Darrel got shot by a rather disturbed person last year. PANTERA may never have been my favourite band but that doesn't hinder me from hearing that its talent at display on their records. The aforementioned Dimebag was one hell of a guitarist, creating many memorable riffs. It's enough to mention the main riff in "Walk" to make people nod. I have seen him on the cover of countless guitar magazines, not just Metal related ones. He was considered to be among the best guitarist in the world and if I had something to say in that case, both Dimebag Darrel and Trey Azagthoth (MORBID ANGEL) would have been much nearer the top. Not only was Dimebag a great guitarist, the rest of the band could their stuff too. His brother, Vinnie Paul, played the drums and a guy named Rex abused the bass guitar. It was Philip Anselmo's entrance, however, which saw PANTERA reach the peak of their career, some might even be unaware that PANTERA released four albums before he joined the band.
"The Great Southern Trendkill" starts the album with a bang, it's quite obvious that PANTERA have turned up their speed since "Far Beyond Driven". In my opinion "The Great Southern Trendkill" saw the start of the vocal decline that I mean P. Anselmo has gone through. Here he uses a more aggressive variant than before, more screaming, less singing. Those who've heard SUPERJOINT RITUAL and didn't like the vocals, should know what I mean. It's important to mention that his vocals still were good on "The Great Southern Trendkill", but not as good as they used to be (IMO). The title track is best when Dimebag let’s loose on the guitar, some really nice playing there at the end of the song.
"War Nerve" is a much better song, with some really heavy drumming and some nice riffing going on. I imagine this song being requested when PANTERA played for a crowd, as it is an invitation to headbanging. "Drag The Waters" also a good song, starting with a good riff and the sounds of a cowbell (Texas Forever). P.Anselmo also does a very good performance in this song, as he sings rather than scream. One of the best songs on the album if you ask me. He continues his good performance in the next song, “10's”. Unfortunately I find the song itself to be a bit boring and it's Anselmo's performance which saves it from mediocrity. "13 Steps" starts with a little drum solo from Vinnie Paul, really pounding drum sound. Although "13 Steps" is a good song, it can't compete with either "Walk" or "Five Minutes Alone", from their previous records. It's obvious that the most of the PANTERA magic was lost between "Far Beyond Driven" and "The Great Southern Trendkill", magic that especially saturated "Vulgar Display Of Power"....full text
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