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Now almost everyone knows of Pantera as the bullet-spitting groove metal act that ruled the metal realm of the over-decadent 1990's. Little do most know is that the amazing brothers Dimebag Darrell (then known as Diamond Darrell) and Vinnie Paul as well as bassist Rex Brown had a lead singer that was NOT the great Phillip Anselmo, but a glam-influenced one that went by the stage alias T. Lee, as well as 1990’s Cowboy’s From Hell was NOT their first album, but what we’ve got here is the REAL Pantera debut that was released in 1983, preceding CFH by almost 10 years, but not quite on the dot. Early Pantera material is very reminiscent to that of Def Leppard and Motley Crue, if the two got together in the bed and made some horrible glam hybrid with elements of KISS and others. “Metal Magic” is the true debut by the Texas powerhouse, and I must say it sounds like early Sunset Strip glam metal. To tell you the truth, it was not up to what I hoped it would be. I have read bad review after another and I must say that everyone is justified in my book when they say that this sucks.
The lyrical content on this album is mainly fairly juvenile and undeveloped. Songs like the self- explanatory “Ride My Rocket” and “Tell Me If You Want It” are as bad as Pantera gets. The songs are mainly awful. The album would be a whole lot more bearable if Dime had developed his trademark guitar acrobatics as showcased in the so called “commercial years” of Pantera. There are (somewhat) worthwhile songs such as the sort of mediocre “Widow Maker” and…maybe the title track. The riff is okay, but the vocals and the lyrics suck. The album’s production is very cold and lacking. The drums sound way too high in the mix, but they do not have enough bass to push through vocalist Terry Lee’s high pitched Vince Neil/Joe Elliot crossover. The bass is always at front of the mix. I was scrolling through eBay one day and someone was actually pleading the viewers to take this album off of their hands. Yes, it is that bad.
Would I blame anyone in the right frame of mind for wanting to erase this mess from their collections? No, I would not! That is just how terrible the album is. As much as I hate this album, I still give it points because I love Dime. If you are one of those diehards that must have everything made by a band, then by all means buy it, but you will soon find out that it is more filler than killer, making it a permanent space filler in your collection, as it did mine.