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Pantera - Reinventing the Steel  Print E-mail
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Bryan Dailey   
Tuesday, 21 March 2000

Reinventing the Steel, Elektra/EastWest Records
| Performance 6 | Sound 7 |

When it comes to loud, aggressive, ear-splitting heavy metal, Pantera has been at the top of this game for well over 10 years. Unless you drive a Camaro and your hairstyle of choice is a mullett you can't really take Pantera too seriously. They make 1988 music in the year 2000 for people who don't like rap or sensitive music.

We are big fans of loud metal here at AudioRevolution.com and we never try to deny that fact. Needless to say, everyone at the office was very excited when we learned that we would be receiving a copy of Pantera’s latest release Reinventing The Steel for review. The names of the tracks on the back of the CD cover had us all convinced that this could possibly be the ultimate Pantera album. You just can’t go wrong buying a metal album with titles such as "Hellbound" and "Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit." If bad grammar and explicit lyrics are a formula for great metal, Pantera has created a masterpiece. Metal fans may also be interested to know that Reinventing The Steel features a guest appearance by the reigning king of insane guitar solos, Kerry King of Slayer on the track "Goddamn Electric."

In true Pantera tradition, the band elects not to overdub rhythm guitar parts when Dimebag Diamond Darryl is playing his guitar solos. For the most part, the drum and bass parts carry the rhythm section effectively, but there are a few moments when the songs just lose their momentum and power due to lack of rhythm guitar. I’m sure that Pantera does this so that they will be able to play the songs live just as they sound on the album without the assistance of a backup guitar player. I’ve often heard critics knock the band for this, but I feel that it is an element that sets Pantera apart from other metal bands with one guitarist.

Drummer Vinnie Paul, who happens to be guitarist Darryl’s brother, is the true star and rhythmic anchor of Pantera. Although not as well known as the brotherly guitar/drum duo of Eddie and Alex Van Halen - and let us not forget the Hanson brothers - Darryl and Vinnie easily lock into some of the fastest and most complex rhythms ever recorded.
Pantera’s shock factor isn’t what it used to be back in the days when they were scaring parents with tracks such as "Fucking Hostile" and "Message in Blood," but they are trying their hardest to keep the torch lit for hard, heavy music that doesn’t wuss out.

This brings us to the big question: how is the music on this album? It is as hard and heavy as one would expect from Pantera. It is not as groundbreaking as the sound that the band achieved on the classic Vulgar Display of Power and not as experimental as Far Beyond Driven, but it does not disappoint.. The music is loud and aggressive from start to finish and the band does not even attempt to slow things down until the ninth track on the album, "It Makes Them Disappear." This slow, grinding song is just as heavy as any of the other songs here, and it is the first moment on the album that the band doesn’t rip through a number at a blistering pace. Of course, they wrap the album up in true Pantera speed metal fashion with the track "I’ll Cast a Shadow."

One of the weaker moments that I found on the album was track seven, "We’ll Grind That Axe For A Long Time." Just for fun, have a listen to that track, and then pop in your copy of the Pantera CD Far Beyond Driven and listen to the track "Broken." I’ve haven’t heard two songs with such similar riffs since Vanilla Ice’s take on Queen’s "Pressure." Of course, Pantera wrote both songs, so they can rip themselves off as much as they want, but I felt as if it was a bit of a cop-out for the band to rehash their own material to fill space on the new album.

Despite this minor shortcoming, ‘Reinventing the Steel’ is still a decent effort from one of today's hardest bands as long as you don't take them too seriously. It would be a good addition to your CD collection if you are into rocking loud and waking the neighbors.








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