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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