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This album is a degenerative piece of crap. It’s difficult to see what people see in this garbage. The only thing they accomplish is fulfilling every metal cliché immediately available. Perhaps that’s the reason why it has such an enduring popularity. The only reason this album exists is just to please a bunch of butt-rocking head bangers who care about nothing, except for beer and well, banging their heads against the wall. There is enough crap on this album to lower one’s intelligence in such a manner. Repetitive song structures, laughable attempts at riffs and a pretentious macho guy attitude to boot is why this album sucks.
One aspect that makes this album so worthless is those lousy riffs. Of course, there is a variety of crummy riffs, they come in all shapes in sizes. There’s blunt groove riffs that try to stress how heavy they are, and that’s about it. Some of them are those tremendously irritating stop-go that surely must have inspired mall core bands to come. Just observe certain riffs; all of them contain their share of pathetic groove laden riffs with syncopated strumming on the top two strings and the frequent flowery melodic relief. The only exceptions are the following songs: “Heresy”, which is basically a collection of stolen Metallica riffs; “Cemetery Gates“, which is a laughable display of emotion; “Shattered“, which isn‘t too bad. Although they do contain a viable sense of melody, it is far from being well articulated. The melodies are put together like a pop album, they are mainly displayed as lead melodies for the sake of catching someone’s attention, and to get them hooked. And with catchy riffs like these, any moron will be instantly attracted.
The worst crime here however, is the embarrassingly redundant song construction. Every single song is cyclical and utterly predictable beyond measure. One can even conclude that every song is composed exactly the same. They begin with some lame, unnecessary intro which then leads to the verse riff. The verse riff is repeated a certain number of times, which is then followed by a pre-chorus of some kind. If there is no pre-chorus, then it will lead directly to the chorus. The pattern is repeated, followed by a bridge decorated with an admittedly brilliant Dimebag guitar solo. Once Dimebag is done flashing his skills, the aforementioned pattern is repeated one last time. Every single song is outright predictable, one could literally sit there and guess what paths the song will take, and chances are, they will be correct most of the time.
Pantera does nothing special here, they only prove that you don’t need to be an eloquent composer to impress a crowd of metal heads. There is nothing truly impressive about this, save for of course Dimebag’s solos. On a side note, the macho man attitude is just so hysterically nonthreatening. This album almost deliberately degenerates into a pop album with metal riffs.