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An Anthem for the Musically Inept (parts 1 and 2) - 33%

hells_unicorn, February 9th, 2007

Part 1:

When one thinks of what was wrong with the 1990s, one will often think of the severe lack of direction that the music of the time had. Everyone was looking for the next new thing, regardless of whether or not it was a good or bad new thing. It is in times like these that we are offered genuine piles of crap like what is found on this single, a single that is genuinely not worth the CD that it was printed on.

I have heard some pretty uninspired vocal performances in my career as a metal fan and musician, but Phil Anselmo’s rendition of “Planet Caravan” ranks high in my top 10 worse remakes ever category. His voice is completely devoid of any passion, feeling, or desire. This same guy who can scream his damned lungs out live about a “New Level” (the vocals on the live version are a perfect reflection of the studio version in that they suck something awful and sound like the jock-ass uncle of Fred Durst) apparently can’t seem to hold a tune at all on here, and the reason is obvious, he can’t sing a song like this at all in his current state.

When one remembers a better Phil singing to the acoustic line of “Cemetery Gates”, one remembers a Phil that was a bit rough edged, but one that had the power to sing a chorus that was inspired due to his large range. What works against him here is that this song does not have a chorus where he could display his high range, even if he were still in possession of it at this point, mostly because the song is among one of the most non-metal songs ever put together by Black Sabbath. The fact that they would choose to remake this particular song is actually quite telling of the anti-metal nature of the music they were playing at this time.

The rest of the material found on here is pretty much par for the course for what you’d get from a live performance of Pantera, a faithful remake of the same shitty Groove Metal with redundant riffs, piss poor vocals, and Dimebag Darrels inspired though out of place lead playing. If you already liked the stuff on “Vulgar Display of Power” and “Far Beyond Driven” then you will like this single, otherwise don’t bother with it.

Pantera will forever be mired by a duality that the metal faithful will no doubt remember as full blown hypocrisy, and that duality is the combination of possessing a great potential in terms of musicality yet have an overwhelming desire not to realize it in order to keep the mosh pits violent and the records selling to snot nosed punks who want to make believe for a few minutes that they are actually tough. If you’re one of those prissy assed little punks and you really want a sense of nostalgia for your time dominating the metal scene, track down this single and then go fuck yourself while listening to it and staring at the band on the CD sleeve. If you’re feeling nostalgic for good music, pick up a copy of “Cowboys from Hell”.

Part 2:

When you have 2 releases of the exact same single, which is a cover song no less, containing a different collection of live perks you can tell that somebody is getting over promoted. Pantera’s common ground with the Alternative Rock scene does not end with the rubber stamp given to them by the recording industry however, and this is where the point of contention lay. The principle problem here is that this band has a singer who flat out sounds like shit, and all of the studio effects in the world will change it, nor will all the best riffing out of Dimebag Darrel be able to hide it.

Obviously the principle problem with “Planet Caravan” is that it is so vocally exposed that if the singer is unable to carry a pitch in a clean voice, anyone who listens will know it instantly. However, as we already hit this on the first incarnation of this musical feces pie, onto the one area I didn’t touch, the Poison Idea cover song “The Badge”, which managed to worm its way onto The Crow soundtrack along with a host of other lousy metalcore influenced stuff. Phil Anselmo has finally found a style worthy of his ass bound vocal style, although the cost of which is rendering Dimebag and the others into mere drone machines pumping out primitive riffs. In short, Phil Anselmo sounds good when not singing metal; hence those who think of him as a great METAL singer are sadly mistaken.

As for the live stuff on here, it’s basically more of the same. We have one song on here from Far Beyond Driven which is obviously a boring half-assed Groove song with an extended acoustic intro. We also have a song from the Cowboys from Hell album that vocally is not overtly hostile to Phil’s different voice, resulting in a slightly more pleasurable listen than his pathetic renditions of “Cemetery Gates” on various live efforts.

In short, the younger brother of a piece of shit is still a piece of shit, although its younger so its not quite as dry and covered with insects. That is the relationship between this single and the other one bearing its name but lacking the “Part 2” next to it. But since this is Pantera, there is a sense of logic in the sentiment of “Why not put out one pointless single with a fucking cover song on it when we can have 2 and be twice as pointless”, albeit logic in the sense that Pantera sees things. I don’t see it their way, I don’t dance to their music because I prefer to bang my head rather than nod it, so I don’t recommend this be listened to by anyone.