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'Metal Magic' and 'Projects' have never done much for me. In fact, when it comes to Pantera, I only really LOVE this album, Power Metal, Cowboys..., and selected songs from all the others. This, in my opinion, is where Pantera "became".
Unlike the previous albums, this album has a more rocking sound and doesn't focus on cheesy glam ballads. Songs such as "Hot and Heavy" have a sound that is, yes, glam because of the ultra-cheesy lyrics, but so rocking and catchy you must listen to it over and over. Other songs like "Valhalla" are the same. The ballad, "Forever Tonight", is one of my favourite Pantera songs, mainly because its so awesome.
However, the bad news is the production. Dime's tone is, as usual, awesome, but as for Vinnie and Terry...well that's different. Vinnie's toms are the cheesy electric '80s toms you would hear in songs by Rick Astley, and Terry's voice sounds weak at some points. Dime's solo in "DGTTM" is an amazing solo, but is rendered FUBAR by the unnecessary and silly sound effects in the background.
Don't let the horrible toms in the intro of "Hot and Heavy" put you off, because this album is where Pantera got really good, the first GREAT album imo, and needs a listen from everyone that calls themselves a metal fan.
Hot and Heavy
I Am the Night
Judging on the band’s previous two efforts (Projects in the Jungle especially) Pantera have proven themselves capable of writing damn good 80s glam metal songs, as well some pretty killer speed metal as well. Annoyingly, they’ve also proven themselves capable of writing really awful ballads that sound exactly the same and are just there for the sake of having ballads. It was this single flaw that prevented the previous album from achieving a near-perfect score. The production was great, the instrumentation was great, the good songs were great. The ballads were the concrete shoes that forced the album to drown in a sea of tedious mediocrity.
With “I Am The Night”, the band have clearly come to their senses, sat down and pulled their shit together and release a full blown highly consistent heavy metal album. And have they succeeded? Well, upon close observation I’m delighted to discover they have.
I would like to point out at this point that I love glam. My Winger records sit happily next to Wintersun’s in my collection, as is the way they should. It’s marvellous. Even if I wasn’t such a glam fanatic though, I don’t imagine I’d like this album any less. Oh, it’s certainly glam, but speed metal songs like “Down Bellow” with it’s hard hitting thrashy riffs, and the awesome power metal number that is “Valhalla” make the album worthy for anyone who likes a bit of good old fashioned headbanging steel. And then there’s the title track; what a riff! The late Diamond Darrel treats us to a few seconds of his killer fast shredding that he’d later become famous for, before bursting into a vicious speed metal riff, that develops into the heaviest song on the album, and easily the most evil sounding thing they’ve done up till this point (and would do for a good few years yet) with it’s fun shout along choruses. I AM THE NIGHT!
For the more casual glam metal fan, there’s material here for you as well. The opener track “Hot and Heavy” is easily in my mind a glam metal classic, had it been heard by the right people, it may have got the attention it deserved. The whole song is memorable and catchy, and despite the cheesy lyrics at some parts (“Take a look at my ice-cream cone babe. Go ahead, take a lick.” – Hey, it is glam!) it has all the makings of a killer heavy metal anthem. Don’t forget to check out the video for this on YouTube. “Come-On Eyes” is another fun glam track. It doesn’t have quite the impact of the first one, but it’s certainly worth a listen.
Virtually everything is an improvement over the previous album, and aside from the severe case of balled abuse, that album was already very very good. The production here is pretty much what you’d expect for an album of this style and era, and it does the job very nicely. Terry’s vocals had already taken a huge step forward over “Metal Magic” on the previous album, and here things are even better; this time sounding like a cross between Rob Halford’s falsetto “Painkiller”-style shrieks and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, maybe with a bit of Dee Snider and Vince Neil thrown in as well. A great combination, I must say.
My biggest beef with the previous album however was the fact that they filled up what was otherwise a brilliant album with a bunch of lame ballads. This was like baking a perfectly lovely cheesecake, and then topping it with Marmite. Happily, with the bands third effort, the ballad is made of nice fresh strawberries. And it is just a ballad, as opposed to three of the sodding things (Three!! If you added all the ballads of the first two Poison albums together, you’d still be one less), and I’m happy to say that it’s a winner. Terry sings the whole thing in falsetto Darrel’s guitar work is done perfectly; it gives off a great atmosphere and sticks in your head. This is what a ballad should be like, not those three identical pieces of crap that haunted the previous album.
“I Am The Night” is easy one of the greatest releases of 1985, and runs rings around Mötley Crüe’s album of the same year. There is a throwaway track by the name of “D*G*T*T*M” bit this is merely a little instrumental thrown in for reasons I don’t know, so it’s not really fair to deduct much points from the album because of that. I guess “Daughters of the Queen” and “Right on the Edge” can get a bit boring at times and could be seen as filler, but really, now I’m just nitpicking – they’re still pretty cool songs. Fans of Skid Row, Twisted Sister and the earlier works of Mötley Crüe and 80s metal fans in general can find something to love about this album, and should without hesitation download it or buy a bootleg over Ebay or something, as I’ve seen original copies of the album up for bid at over £150…
It’s such a sad thing that this great album never truly reached the audience it deserved, as these days most of the people that give this – and the other Pantera releases of the 1980s – are angsty groove metal “tough” guys, who will see pictures of the band at this time and make their decisions then and there. If this album had just got a bit more promotion, a bit more attention, it wouldn’t have gone down in history as an embarrassing past for a band, but as what it truely is; a no nonsence, balls out, headbanging, pure heavy metal album.
Please Pantera, do the right thing and re-release your past 80s gems. The world already knows they exist, so why keep pretending that they don’t?
Nestled right in the middle of Pantera’s upward climb, I Am the Night serves as a transitional album, showing aspects of both their glam metal beginnings and their thrash metal peak. There’s still more than a fair share of the glam elements, but the band were getting progressively more metal as the years went on. And that can only be a good thing, especially considering where these guys started out (see: Metal Magic).
This was the band’s last album with singer Terry Glaze and the decision to boot him couldn’t have come at a better time. While he was fairly entertaining on Projects in the Jungle, here he begins to show his true merit as a vocalist. His performance is average at best, pretty much indistinguishable from the brunt of the other hair bands’ singers. He is actually the primary reason that this album still retains ties to the hair metal sound; his vocals being typical of the era and his lyrics being among the band’s most embarrassing yet (see “Hot and Heavy” if ye doubt). What keeps this bearable is the increasingly skillful playing of Darrell Abbott, who shines throughout. It’s hard to believe that he didn’t achieve renown until after Cowboys from Hell; his playing on this album is phenomenal. His guitar tone is crunchy and his riffwork could’ve been stripped right off an Accept album. Actually, if some of these songs were a tad bit faster they could’ve been on an early Razor album. There’s some pure speed metal with the title track and “Valhalla,” a handful of mid-paced rockers with “Daughters of the Queen” and “Come-on Eyes,” one half-assed ballad, and then some stuff that is best described as power metal (“Right on the Edge”). There’s a shitty instrumental (“D*G*T*T*M”) that would be a decent display of neoclassical chops if it weren’t ruined by all the dumb sound effects in the background. Darrell does make up for it with a solid offering of worthy solos in the rest of the songs, so it’s somewhat excusable.
Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul still play an important role on the album, but their presence is overshadowed by Darrell’s playing. If you’re a big Dimebag fan, his playing on here will definitely justify some of the album’s crappier characteristics. Otherwise, this is merely average hair metal with a not so average axeman showing his skill amidst some really lame 80’s anthems that never made it big.
Many times these early Pantera albums are derided for being "glam." Well, I totally FUCKING DISAGREE!!! Sure, they may not be the mosh pit inducing groove-whatever-metal of later years, but are they worthless? HELL NO!!!
For those of you who had been following this band along for a while, Terrence Lee changes his squealy vocal delivery a bit on here, making it quite a bit more rude sounding. He's not doing the Halford antics of early Phil Anselmo, what he sounds like is kind of a really pissed off Axl Rose with a much better and more controlled range. Pretty damn effective, I must say, and his vocals really give this some added heaviness.
There are some moments of uttter cheese such as "Daughters of the Queen" and "Hot N Heavy," but these are more than made up for with slamming tracks like the title track, "Valhalla" and "Down Below." The former two tracks sound quite a bit like vintage Judas Priest with more technical riffing, but really fast paced and driving. "Down Below" really showcases a churning, sleazy sort of riffing that shows up on a number of other tracks on here, and Terrence really wails on here. Heavy shit, that's for damn sure.
"Onward we Rock," despite having a really stupid name and really stupid lyrics, is one hell of a driving tune. It's got an almost martial quality to the way the drums and bass "march" onward. In here we get another totally viscious solo courtesy of Dime. Fucking sweet! It's got to be my pick for best solo on here.
The closer is a ballad, "Forever Tonight." Sure, this is ultracheesey, pretty glammy, and features falsetto vocals, but damn! It's fucking beautiful! Seriously, I never thought I'd say that about a Pantera song, but it really does sound nice. The main melody is played by harmonics, with riffs being more of an afterthought. Cool stuff.
The production is pretty weak, and I can't say that Vinnie or Rex get too wild on here, but otherwise there're just a few weak moments in songs, and certainly nothing that makes this album "glam shit." If anything, you find still more great leads by Dime, and an interesting time piece. It's a damn shame that Vinnie doesn't rerelease these old classics through his new label so all Pantera maniacs can hear Dime's potential at such an early age.
This is Pantera’s third glam metal album, and their final album with singer, Terry Glaze. They would later replace Glaze with singer after singer until two years when they found singer, Phil Anselmo. Anyway, this is definantly the best out of the first three albums, and it’s not even a full glam album, as it has several speed metal tracks on here (I Am The Night, Onward We Rock, Down Below, and Vahalla), and most of the songs on here that are glam are pretty heavy in their own right. Dimebag’s guitar playing progresses even further in this album, Vinnie Paul has a new bass drum that sounds cool in the songs, and gives them more of a feel, Rexx Rocker sounds good on the bass as always, and even Terry Glaze has improved drastically in his style of singing which kind of sounds like a mix between Axle Rose and Rob Halford.
Hot & Heavy opens up the album with a bang! It’s an awesome song about girls and sex. “Take a lick at my ice cream cone, baby. I can‘t wait to take you home, and beat ya with my stick!” That’s so cool! The drums stay consistent with a good beat. I love the guitar solo towards the middle to end of the song. It’s ashamed that most people only know about Pantera’s 90s albums, and judge Dimebag’s playing only by those songs. His solos and overall guitar playing were a lot better back in the 80s then they were in the 90s. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. 10/10
I Am The Night is the first speed metal track on this album, and opens up with a little bit of shredding from Dimebag. Then, the song starts up, and income the riffs. The drumming is very fast, which is of course awesome. The vocals kind of sound a bit evil as well, as it is both Glaze and Dimebag singing at the sound time. We get another solo towards the 2:45 mark of the song. This, as well as the next song, screams Judas Priest. 10/10
Onward We Rock starts out with a nice heavy riff, and once the drums begin, you know right from the start what you’re in for. One heavy as heel song! The chorus, which is sung by Dimebag, by the way) is cool as shit as well. “Oooonward we rock! Slaaaave to the dark” That screams heavy fucking metal all over. Add another awesome solo from Dimebag, and you get another flawless killer of a song. 10/10
D*G*T*T*M is really the only weak track on this album, as it's pointless filler. There’s a bunch of various weird noises throughout the song along with a bunch of guitar noodling. Meh. 5/10
Daughters Of The Queen is the next song. Towards the: 40 mark of the song, we get treated to a nice riff that you can’t help, but headbang to. The song stays pretty consistent. This song appears to be about a guy who wants to rescue a couple of princesses from and castle, and then make love to them. The lyrics are slightly lame, but that doesn’t hurt the song at all, as there are plenty of cool riffs, and the drumming is awesome as well. 10/10
Down Below is probably the best song on here, as it is killer speed metal with an attitude. In fact, it’s so awesome that they decided to redo it, and put it on their next album, power metal, with Phil Anselmo doing the singing. Once again, this is Judas Priest worship all over. It kind of reminds me of their song, Eat Me Alive. The songs starts out with another heavy riff, which you absolutely have to headbang to. I do it every time I listen to it. The drumming is lighting fast, which adds to the awesomeness. Then, the solo comes, and you start swinging your long hair around. Well, I do anyway. I’d give this song an 11/10 if I could, but I can’t, so there. 10/10
Come - On Eyes is the other “lame glam” song on this album, as started in an earlier review. However, since I like glam so much, I find nothing lame about this song. It has cool lyrics about sex, and is very catchy. The drumming stays consistent and heavy as well. The song has cool riffs, and is very catchy. 8/10
Right On The Edge is real heavy, for a glam song anyway. The riffs and drumming are heavy as fuck. Glaze is probably at his peak vocally in this song, as even he contributes to the heaviness in this song. Add another solo, and you get another perfect song. 10/10
Vahalla is the last speed metal track on here, and it kind of sounds like a less heavier version of “Burnnn” which they would do on their next album. However, it’s still very heavy. I love the chorus in this song. Glaze screams out “Vahallaaaaah!” That’s cool as shit! Dimebag performs yet another awesome solo. 10/10
The album once again closes off with a hair ballad called Forever Tonight. However, for a ballad this is very good. The fact that Dimebag can nail cool riffs on a ballad like this proves that he was one of the better guitarists of the 80s, even though they weren’t very popular back then, which is pretty ironic considering that they were a glam metal band in the 80s, and as everyone should know, glam was extremely popular back then. Anyway, the song stays consistent. Dimebag nails another cool solo in this song. This is probably my favorite ballad ever. 10/10
Once again, if you’re not into glam metal, stay away from this album. However, there are moments where even a non-glam metal fan could appreciate this album. However, in my opinion, they wouldn’t reach they’re pinnacle until their next album. If you’re a fan of glam metal, or even speed metal, then you should defiantly get you hands on this, as soon as possible.
..And so Pantera's rise in quality continues as the 80's progressed. This is an "80's metal album" by definition as over half of the album is furious metal with only a handful of laid back, silly glam rock. For me it's on par with Malice's "In The Beginning" and Laaz Rockit's "No Stranger To Danger" so if you dig those 2, jump to hear this.
There's nothing here as seizure inducingly awesome as the track, "Projects in the Jungle" but it's a more consistent album with more memorable songs than before and really only 3 that are worthless. "Hot and Heavy" as you can might guess is disgusting, "Come On Eyes" is more "she's hot" lame glam and D*G*T*T*M is guitar noodling with weird noises. I advise you strongly to skip that as the oddness will plant sheer terror in your subconscious.
The highlights for me would be the ultra catchy and heavy, "Right On The Edge", the manic speed metal of the title track and "Valhalla" which opens up into proto-Cowboys riffwork halfway through the song and whilst "Down Below" is indeed about oral sex, but like Priest's "Eat Me Alive" is great speed metal. They even nail the love ballad at the end, "Forever Tonight", which has a great atmosphere.
Terry Glaze is yet again the weakest link but even he showcases more range in his vocals here which half the time are more shrieky and a bit Halford esque than the pure glam style he had on "Metal Magic". Too little too late tho as he was replaced a year after this album with some guy called Phil Anselmo.
As with all 80's Pantera if you can't stand the 80's sound in your metal don't bother with this, but if you're in love with it (like me) you need to hear this. Some of their best music is here and it pisses on a lot of their 90's stuff.
Terry Glaze and the Texas boys return for another glam metal album. Sure enough this stuff is glam or 80's metal, whatever you want to call it. However there is slight moments where you can see there music style starting to progress into something better. Sure this album has the essential glam style of rocking. Singing about sex, the ballad, the big hair, but some songs have great fast riffs and awsome speed metal solo's.
This album sounds a lot like glam metal: Ratt, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue...so if you don't like this style don't even bother. We bust off this album with Hot and Heavy. It has silly lyrics about sex and rockin heavy. You can tell from this song that Terry "Glaze's" vocals have changed since Projects in the Jungle. They are more distinct sounding, almost like an Axle Rose (without the drugs). The solo on this song blows all 80 solo's out of the water! And then we continue on with the every pressing glam style through most of these songs.
There are some songs that don't even sound glam. For example I am the Night. This song has an awsome lead intro riff and then busts in a speed metal riff that reminds me a lot of Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance. Onward We Rock also drifts away from the glam style...well the riffs do, but not the vocals. In fact if Terry would have kept his mouth shut, this song would totally scream heavy metal. Down Below! Best song on this album. Starts off with the heaviest riff and drum beat that Pantera has thus seen in there career! And the lyrics!!! "People running down the street/Looking for meat to eat." This isn't the glam Pantera I know!
Besides those couple songs of pure metal, the rest is glam, but not necssarily bad. Valhalla ha an awsome vocal production, and awsome brutal riff that will leave you headbanging (well at least I did). Forever Tonight, the last song on this album, is a ballad. Thus completing this album as a glam metal album. However, it's pretty damn good. If it's anything Pantera did good in their hair days, it was writing ballads. This has the potential that Taking My Life (Projects in the Jungle) does.
Overall this album is 80's heavy metal. So if you like this stuff, I definetly would get it. It has a lot of cheese, but most glam metal had that cheese aspect. There are some songs that definetly shows metal coming into there work. But again I stress, if you don't appreciate 80's heavy metal, then don't even bother listening to this one!