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A surprisingly good start. - 90%

KittenDecapitator, July 6th, 2012

Before I start, I would like people who are about to read this review to drop all their prejudice of this album (assuming you haven't listened to it). Pantera's groove era work is not the pinnacle of their creativity, and just because this is a glam metal album written by an inconsistent band as Pantera is, this is actually some of the best glam metal you can possibly find, and I'll tell you why.

First off, calling this album just a glam metal one isn't entirely correct - it's notably heavier than average glam metal, with some speedy moments thrown in, so maybe heavy/glam is the most accurate description of this record.

What might be an issue with this record is its production - the rhythm guitar is too muddy and the drums sound a bit weird in the mix, the same goes for the vocals. The production isn't nearly as bad as the early Death/Mantas demos, but it doesn't fall into the category of "good bad production" that we can hear on some black metal either. It's something in between them. But it's not unbearable, and in fact, it doesn't cut down the enjoyment.

Now for the music. This is where this album surprised me. Going by the tracks, I'll tell you straight off - Ride My Rocket, with an intro ripped off from Detroit Rock City by Kiss is probably the only weak track on the album. Going further, the next song, I'll Be Alright is one of the albums highlights with its awesome riffage. The album isn't very consistent, but nearly every song on the album has at least 1 or 2 memorable riffs and a few catchy moments that make them stand out. Songs are mostly medium-tempoed, akin to traditional heavy metal, though there are a few speedier ones (Ride My Rocket, Metal Magic, Rock Out). There is also a very fine power ballad thrown in (Biggest Part of Me), so the album doesn't miss variety either.

For a young band like they were back in the day when this album was released (for instance, Dimebag was only 17), the musicianship is rather fine. Dimebag is a complete riff-machine on this one, and does some decent leadwork as well, his older brother Vinnie isn't far behind with his drumming. Terry Glaze is objectively a pretty horrible vocalist, but he has his own depth that fits in the songs rather well. Rex doesn't have any standout moments to name, but overall, the band sounds great together.

As for the lyrics, well, yeah, there isn't much to say about them. In short, they are so bad that they're good.

To sum it up:

Pros:

-Guitarwork - great riffs, quite catchy tunes and decent leadwork
-Very good catchy moments, provided by the fitting drumming and Dimebag's outstanding riffage

Cons:

-Production - muddy guitar sound and weird overall mixing
-Cheesy vocals and lyrics

Highlights:

I'll Be Alright, Biggest Part of Me, Sad Lover