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on October 4, 2001
Pantera has cranked out a steady stream of thrash metal classics, culminating IMO with Far Beyond Driven, on which Dime's riffing and soloing touched the boundary between metal and noise terror. Recent releases have been somewhat inconsistent, and I agree with some reviewers that the band may be suffering from a lack of focus in the studio. Reinventing the Steel displays some touches of vintage Pantera but it's clearly not the caliber of the first 4 albums.
However, when I caught the band live earlier this year I was struck by how much better the songs from the album sound when performed live. The title track and "Revolution" were as hard and infectious as anything they've ever done, and the band played with ferocious energy (as they always do).
While I think it's far too early to write off the band, it will be interesting to see how they fare on their upcoming release and if they brought in outside help to provide perspective. Regardless, Pantera remains one of the top live acts in metal and I have faith that they'll step up and deliver the goods.
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on April 2, 2000
I should caveat this review with the fact that I am a big heavy metal fan, and was also extremely pleased with Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven, but Pantera's latest offering with the exception of a few songs is an extreme dissapointment, while the energy is still there the creativity and song essence is not. If your looking for great new heavy metal with a lot of aggresive power, creativity, and fantastic songs...check out bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Emperor...you wont be dissapointed ! These bands blow away Pantera!
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on January 12, 2002
Revinventing the Steele is an above average album that slams with brutal guitar riffis, screaming vocals, and pounding double bass. What is wrong, is that this is all that can be said about the album. Pantera, alone, kept metal alive during the grunge era and put on one of the most intense shows known to mankind. It is unfortanety that they have been in decline, and I feel the end is coming. Reinventing rocks, but it has many flaws. Instead of creating great songs, Reinventing sounds like riffs that have been spliced together and turned into songs. It sounds that Dimebag recorded a bunch of riffs on a four track over the years and then pieced together the parts in a week. Dime's playing has not improved and almost sounds like a bad parody of himself in some points. If he can't figure out what to do with a riff, he puts in a crazy squeal or slide. This formula worked well on Far Beyond, but does not pull off well on this album. It sounds unfocused. Phil needs to start SINGING again. Now that everybody is ripping off Pantera, it is hard for them to seperate themselves from the rest. They need to focus, and work on writing good songs, as on Vulger, not just riffs and yelling. I do not think they are focusing though. When Pantera first put out Cowboys and Vulger, Phil was so animated and excited about the band. Now he can barely string two sentances together. Over the last three or so years, Pantera have been doing too many warm up ozzfest type shows. The last couple of times I saw them, they were almost too drunk to play. This is not the mighty machine is saw in 92 and 94. I love Pantera, but they need to take a short break, get some sleep, and need to put out an album, soon. Four years was way too long for this album
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on August 15, 2001
Lets face it...Pantera's music has never carried a deep message and there music sounds more or less the same from one track to the next. Even with that in mind, I can't say enough about these guys. In this age when most metal acts attempt to do the whole rap-metal thing, these guys remain one of the only true metal bands that refuse to sell out. Also, they don't use their loud music to cover up weak musicainship. Philip Anselmo is probably the best singer when it comes to this kind of music. His voice is loud and rough, but not to the point where you can't even tell what he's saying. Dimebag Darrel is an excellant guitarist. Rex Brown's pounding bass lines fit the music perfectly. And of course, there's Vinnie Paul, who remains the best metal drummer that still sounds like he's in his prime. His rapid, non stop assault makes him one of the few drummers that still has a signature style. As for the album, it is awsome. The whole thing is perhaps one of the purest examples of Pantera's audio assault. Every track is unrelentingly fast and ferocious. The band's over-the-top lyrics are better then ever too. (esp. "Goddamn Electric") If you want to get started with Pantera, you really can't go wrong with any of the band's albums. Still, this is an awsome edition to their catalog. Also, you should check out their live album. I was fortunate enough to see them on tour last July and they were unbelievable. The live album does a fine job of capturing the bands ferocious performances. If you like hard music, you need to own at least one of the bands albums. Or if you think Slipknot or Limp Bizkit are great bands, you should pick this up for an education in real rock-n-roll. To see modern hardcore rock in it's purest form, there is no other option besides Pantera.
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on February 8, 2001
Here lately, we've been needing an album in mainstream rock that just really rocks good and hard. Slipknot's pretty heavy, but there's still too much hip hop in there. That is where this album comes in. The newest album by Pantera, a monument to true heavy metal. This album never stops pounding you from start to finish. The highlights would have to be "Goddamn Electric", which features guitar work from none other than Slayer's Kerry King, very cool stuff, and "Revolution is my Name", the single, which features some progressive-style solos and killer riffs. I once heard this song right after Metallica's "I Disappear", and, well, as much as I love Metallica, Pantera blew em away. The only song on here that I don't care for is "Hellbound", mainly because of the way Phil screams the word "hellbound", it's kind of irritating. But, his voice sounds great everywhere else, incredibly menacing, and Dimebag's guitar work shines. Pantera is one of those bands that will rarely, if ever, let you down. They play very technical and crushingly brutal music that will just fill you with energy. Just listen to the mighty "Death Rattle" to see what I mean (I'll put it up against any Cannibal Corpse song any day!). Anyway, if you love your music heavy (and I mean HEAVY), this is the album for you. Not quite as good as "Cowboys from Hell" or "Vulgar Display of Power", but definitely a good buy.
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on January 28, 2004
My only gripe with STEEL is the lackluster lyrical content, (mostly drug-related nonsense) but other than that, this record kicks major ass as only these Dallas Cowboys from Hell can! The production is crystal clear, Vinnie's drums are bigger than Texas, Dime's guitars are heavier than molten iron, Rex's bass sounds like a bass and rhythm guitar playing at the same time (AMAZING!), and Drill Sergeant Phil lays down the law in this heavy metal boot camp!
Ten tracks with blast beats that remind you of salvo after salvo of enemy machine gun fire, guitar solos that shred your
soul into a billion trillion fragments, grinding riffs from the
deepest chasms of Gehenna, punch-you-in-the-jaw-and-
break-all-your-teeth vocal delivery, a sonic and athletic performance that Metalli-crap and the rest couldn't match to save their life (I dare say, not even Slayer/Death Metal)... but only the lyrics don't do me justice. But
that's okay because STEEL, like all true masterpieces, have at least one flaw that actually gives the work its beauty, no matter how twisted that may sound.
We all found out the ugly truth about Metallica even as far
back as '91: they are only in it for the money. Pantera came
as the "messiah" of all that is good and pure about heavy
metal. And, (gasp) believe it or not, these guys actually
appreciate their fans! (well at least Vinnie and Dime do)
It's too bad these guys had to break up. It wasn't Phil's
fault or anyone else's fault. It was drugs. Vinnie and Dime
know the truth about drugs but Phil is enslaved by heroin
and thinks anyone who does not use is less than human. That's
bulls*** bigger than Texas. (hell, even the whole damn
South!) But Pantera made the best damn heavy metal in all of
God's green earth and NOTHING can take that away.
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on March 21, 2000
After the ordinary Great Southern Trendkill album I would have thought that this album would be something of a slight return to form for Pantera. Unfortunatley their latest effort really does not contain any memorable moments, just pretty ordinary heavyish songs. Death Rattle is the thrashiest song in the set and maintains interest for half of the song's duration but then loses momentum, Hellbound, the albums opener is weak, too weak to be an opening track, Goddamn Electric doesnt raise much of a headbang either and contains stupid lyrics, and as for the rest of the album, nothing interesting at all. Uplift probably raises an eyebrow of interest but its all a case of heard it all before, only it used to be better.
I believe that this album proves to the world that this band has exhausted all of its talent and is now scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of trying to accomplish anything musically, however diehard fans of this band will still lap this album up as it hasn't lost any of the distinct Pantera sound.
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on April 13, 2003
Before I begin, I would like to mention that I am burnt out with Pantera these days. "Vulgar Display Of Power" was a great album at first, but the music got REALLY old. Their concert CD had quite a negitive impact on my stance with Pantera in general. Filled with yelling interludes about trends and how they are kings of metal and all that nonsense coming from the annoying voice of Phil Anselmo, I immedietely lost all my respect for the band.
Simply put, this album would be more appropriate if it were just a really bad autobiography of the band. "Yesterday..." is a track condemning everyone initially turned off by their music. In particular, the lyrics tell that the genesis of Pantera (glam rock band without a trace of the style used by them now) is irrelevant to the fact that they are still "brutal metal music", and that the people that say they are fakes or posers due to their past, should forget about it and see what they are now as opposed to before. The song could've given an accurate and completely defensive message to those to only pay attention to their history and backround and not their music. Unfortunetely, due to Phil Anselmo's arrogance and fixed pursuit of being hardcore and tough (even though he was only in 2 of the albums made during their glam era, before turning it around), it remains a blatant attempt to try and keep people from questioning his masculinity. Besides, I've heard that they beat down fans or interviewers who ask about their glam period, proving that they have not yet gotten over their involvement with it. You could argue that they abuse these people in order to try and snap them out of their questions of the past and to make them look at the present, but the way I see it, they have remember that the past doesn't mean anything.
"Goddamn Electric" has references to Black Sabbath and Slayer, and is just a track basically telling you to be laid back and to enjoy life.
I've only commented lyrics up to this point in my review, and there is good reason for it. The music here serves no real purpose but to just fill up the backround. If there is a track telling you to be laid-back and to enjoy life, then perhaps the "intense and brutal" guitar riffs are woefully out of place. For good measure, writing a song addressed to fans telling them who they are and to accept them for who they are and what they do is fine. But putting these loud guitar-noises in the backround to it, and even screaming is just over-reacting.
Lyrics aside, the music is a mixture of Far Beyond Driven and Cowboys From Hell. Dimebag's guitar-riffs are grating and annoying. In "Vulgar Display Of Power", they were smooth, but not incredibly heavy, but this just sounds awful. I can't help but compare them to earlier Slipknot's guitar riffs. Guitar solos are nothing special. Vinnie Paul was always a great drummer, so I don't find his work here to be too shabby at all. But Phil Anselmo sounds just the same as always with his unskilled, throaty screaming, and awful singing.
The songs here are just pitiful. Lyrical emphasis is good for rap music, but it certainly isn't here. If you want anything from Pantera, I would suggest you stick with Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display Of Power. Hell, maybe even Far Beyond Driven. My perspnal recommendation to you is to stear clear of Pantera. Hypocritical, worn-out, and boring are keywords describing them. Not untalented by any stretch of imagination, but just annoying.
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on April 15, 2000
While it doesn't quite reach the level of Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven, in songwriting or intensity, this album rocks like 99% of other mainstream bands (although, despite their record sales, I hesitate to call Pantera's music "mainstream") can only dream of. From the opener "Hellbound" to the closing seconds of "I'll Cast A Shadow," this CD is a near-masterpiece. While there are a few weak moments on certain tracks, such as the excessive guitar squeals on "You've Got to Belong to It" and the lack of guitar solos in many places, there isn't a single weak song on here. Another thing I'm a little bit disappointed with are the lyrics. Instead of the positive (overall) message of Vulgar Display of Power, the dark rage and sometimes shocking rants of Far Beyond Driven, and the vicious anti-establishment posturing of The Great Southern Trendkill, we have lyrics about whiskey, weed, and being a rock star. Oh, well, at least the lyrics don't become annoying or pretentious, and I haven't heard a more infectious chorus than the one on "Revolution Is My Name" in a long time. Overall, it deserves more like 4 1/2 or 4 3/4 stars, since it's not perfect, but I had to give it 5.
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on April 8, 2000
If you're one of those reviewers that don't like this album for some reason, I urge you to go back and listen to it a few times. It is really quite an amazing CD. I liked it a lot the first time I heard it, and now, after repeated listenings, I love it. Pantera does not falter here at all. In fact, they sound better than ever.
For starters, "Steel" contains two of Pantera's best songs ever: "We'll grind that axe for a long time" and "I'll cast a shadow." I think these songs hold their own with classics such as "5 minutes alone" and "Drag the waters." But that's just the beginning. Every song here rocks. There is not one clinker. "Uplift" kicks my a## every time. "Death rattle" actually scares me, it's so brutal. "You've got to belong to it" is ferocious. I could say the same for every track here, but you get the point. This album doesn't compromise, doesn't cop out, doesn't go soft. It'll smash your face in.
Leave it to Pantera, the hardest band on the planet, to give hard rock fans something to cheer about for once.
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