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WHAT IS THAT THING!? - 35%

psychoticnicholai, January 10th, 2017

That thing is the ghoulish monstrosity on the front of Pantera's first ever studio album from when they were a glam band in the 1980's. Sadly, that cover art is an omen about the quality of the record held within. This is a schlocky, amateurish glam rock album that's obsessed with fucking, a bit of rock n' roll, and more fucking. This is as stark a difference as you could get from the brutish groove metal of 90's Pantera. Which is especially odd, since the Abbott brothers and Rex are here, the only change in line-up is the singer, glam shrieker Terry Glaze. Even so, the misadventures of a band barely out of their teens and riding the latest trends might make for a great story, but not a great album.

If this album wants you to know one thing about, it's sex. There are tacky sex ballads and goofy, cringey taglines all over this piece. Metal Magic kicks off with "Ride my Rocket", a cheesy little ditty about playing with a penis that's as obvious as you can get. Not to mention the chorus to that song, and many others is beyond corny. "Latest Lover" just sounds way too happy to be a song about a prostitute. The title track even involves some "perv whisper" action despite being one of the only songs not primarily about a stupid sex metaphor. The other songs suffer from more general problems such as Terry's silly vocal antics, sex metaphors, sappy ballads, corny choruses, and a very derivative sound. Metal Magic is cheesy to the point of disgust, this is syrupy cock rock schlock in its purest form.

I'm going to say that this album is WAY too close to Pantera's early influences to stand out. A lot of this feels like Van Halen worship. From Darrell's guitar play (which, though derivative is still good), to the corny pussy-chasing antics in the lyrics, to Terry's vocals, it sounds like an amateur version of Van Halen with catchy taglines in a starry-eyed hope of selling a ton of copies and breaking into the hair metal scene. It makes sense since the Abbott brothers loved the hell out of Van Halen. You can't really fault these guys for doing this because they were barely out of their teens when this was made, and Van Halen and hair bands were the big thing at the time. Just an observation, but an important one.

Metal Magic is not a good album at all and pales in comparison to any of Pantera's canon albums. Even compared to their other glam albums, this is as weak as it gets. If they'd just held back a bit on the sappy and corny lyrical ideas, they could've at least made a serviceable, albeit faceless glam album to get it out of their systems. Just let Dime rock out and give him some time to jam and hone his skill while keeping Mr. Glaze under control, that's the advice I'd have given back then, if I were alive. Though, even with that, it might not improve that much, not at this stage, not with this style.