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The first four Pantera releases are so frequently either overlooked, unheard of, or completely maligned, that it becomes impossible to find anyone who is willing to give this a fair shot in today's metal community. So ridiculous is the idea that Pantera were once a traditional heavy metal band, that nobody gives this a chance to show its quality, and this is absolutely silly in my opinion. What we are treated to on the final of these albums, Power Metal, is a fun, enjoyable ride featuring thrilling guitar work and some great vocals. Also worth noting is that this album was made during a period in which it was not unheard of for rock musicians to cross dress, as bands such as the Motley Crue were doing at the time, and Pantera did not avoid this trend. The album cover has a very glam metal tone to it, but this is where Pantera were a little different from many of the more popular bands of the time, and the one thing holding them back from the success they would achieve on future releases.
Musically, this album is one of Pantera's finest, featuring all of the members that would later go on to make Pantera famous, but boasting a completely different style. There are not quite as many pinch harmonics that Darrell would utilize so frequently on future albums, but are instead just straightforward riffs that make for one fun listen. This is an album that is simply an energetic band enjoying themselves, regardless of how unsuccessful they were throughout this period. However, this is clearly where the roots of their thrash metal sound of Cowboys From Hell is found, being considerably more aggressive and up-tempo from previous releases, in particular the title track, which is also one of the standout songs of the album. The guitar riff that gallops along is as exciting as can be, and Phil Anselmo shrieks his lungs out, providing a faux Bruce Dickinson style to the vocals that were as cheesy as could be, but still very good to just kick back and listen to.
We'll Meet Again and Death trap are plagued by cheesy lyrics, but are interesting enough songs to listen to, and provide a degree of variety to this otherwise one-dimensional album, showing that Pantera even then had numerous stylings. The ballad sound of songs such as This Love is found on a couple of songs, as is the groove nature that would be truly developed on Vulgar Display Of Power. However, on this album, neither of those ideas is fully formed, and are merely hints of what was to come, making this as historically significant as the album that would follow it was. Here we have a collection of strong songs that, whilst never threatening their own comfort zone, are great fun for the odd listen, and are criminally underrated.
Power Metal is the beginning of Pantera's true stretch of good albums. What had come before was nothing special, and frequently undermined the band's ability, but this was all to change on this album. This is a great album, and the title track and Proud To Be Loud are definite must owns in any true metal heads collection. Definitely consider checking this out, as it will not disappoint.
And I've never even listened to any of their other albums! Yeah, I know that sounds callous and dooshy of me, but what can is say, I've judged for myself. Trapped in between a trio of lame glam albums and their catalog of boring groove rockers, this unique beast in Pantera's discography is pure, cool as fuck heavy metal with elements of glam, speed and even thrash. I can say for that, that it is certainly Pantera's best, most straightforward album.
All the classic line-up is here and accounted for. Vinnie Paul pounds it out on the drums; he has some pretty damn fast moments here and keeps the beat steady; gotta love his faster work on "Over And Out". Rex Brown is up and running on bass; very crunchy, catchy and he lets loose a number of great riffs. The late, great, legendary Dimebag Darrell (credited here as Diamond Darrell) shows how awesome he really is; he's one mother of a shredder. He can go fast, faster, slow, heavy, thrashy; man was a god. Replacing the annoying Terry Glaze on vocals was then new guy Phil Anselmo. His voice is great; he's very flexible. Occasionally he belts out some growls similar to his future groove days, but mostly he sticks to great, melodic, Halford-esque wails. The best lineup has been created.
The songs are great. There's a few little snags, but even they're tolerable. "Hard Ride" and "We'll Meet Again" are probably the most glam-oriented cuts on here, and even they're not too bad. "Hard Ride" is at least a bit heavy, and "We'll Meet Again" is slow, melodic and inoffensive, but both are just a bit forgettable. Everything else though...WOAH! Speed, traditional, and thrash elements all across the board! Opener "Rock The World", while a tad cheesy, is catchy as all get out, with a great riff and a toe-tapping groove to it. The title track is ever better with it's amped up speed and another good riff. Fellow speeders "Proud To Be Loud" and the near-thrasher "Death Trap" come atcha at 150 MPH with some wicked Dimebag shredding and crazy vocals from Anselmo, going from wails to shrieks at some points. Particularly worth of note is "Over And Out". While still a trad metal song overall, it's very, VERY thrashy. Anselmo's vox are aggressive, everyone chips in with gang vocals, the solos are blazing and frantic (particularly the vicious last few seconds), and the cool chorus is urgent and memorable.
Overall, aside from two, maybe three so-so songs, this sucker is definitely worth a look. Anselmo is a worthwhile vocalist, and the speed/thrash/traditional metal mash-ups make for a fun, awesome listen.
Let me first start this review by saying I am NOT a Dimebag Darrell worshipper. I respect admire the guy and believe he is one of the most inspiring guitarists. However, I prefer to worship bands, as a whole, as opposed to one individual in the band.
Pantera’s Power Metal is a hidden gem in the Pantera history. Pantera wants to believe that their first four albums prior to Cowboys from Hell did not exist. These include “Metal Magic” “Projects in the Jungle” “I am the Night” and “Power Metal” During this era they were still finding their sound and it would eventually take them 7 years to later to be officially signed to ATCO, which would in turn release “Cowboys from Hell.” This band would go through various types of metal in their respective history; glam metal, traditional metal and groove metal, but this is by far their best album. It is the perfect mix between glam metal and traditional metal.
Before you criticize me and become skeptical of my views, let me state something; I have all Pantera’s album in my discography, these include their four glam CDs. I did not read reviews from Amazon and decide to condescend because glam metal is cheesy and “gay.” The truth is if you bought this album, or have it in your collection; you would agree with me that this is their best album!
The best part of this album is Phil Anselmo’s voice! I want you to remember Rob Halford’s voice in Stain Glass, Screaming for Vengeance and Painkiller. I place Phil’s voice on par with these three great albums in metal history. Phil shrieks in the album, Phil sings like a banshee in the album, Phil shows various tones to accompany the aura of the song. He shows in his debut album with Pantera that he is varied in vocal compositions. From the first song on the album “Rock the World” the listener can hear a young and inspired Phil Anselmo, which has amazing range in his voice. Check the chorus out on “Rock the World” and Power Metal and you will be in disbelief that it is Phil.
On the ballad song “We’ll Meet Again” Phil tones his down voice and treats the listener to a deep, dark and monotone voice, present during the verses. During the chorus he sings at a higher pitch and is comprehendible while singing. The solo in this song is amazing and I believe it is one of Dimebag’s best solos. In “Over and Out” and “Proud to be Loud” Phil and Pantera do things that would be non-existent in their career. They shriek with vocals and guitars through the verses, ala “Over and out” and turn the treble up on the vocals and the guitar, the guitars and the vocals complement each other very well. “Over and out” shows a progressive side to Pantera with the opening riff. On “Down Below” we are presented with Phil’s dirty and ratty voice that sounds so incredible! Listen to the first and second verses of that song, it is wicked! This was a song that appeared on “I am the Night” however; Pantera picked the speed up and made it more (power) metal.
"Death Trap” and “Hard Ride” shows a side of Pantera that was not present in the first three albums a dark and enigmatic side. These songs have great riffs and excellent solos. I love the song structure on “Death Trap” and “Hard Ride” futures blazing guitar solos by Dimebag and a memorable bridge.
"Burnnn” is my personal favorite on this album. The band begins with a thrashy riff from the start and Phil sings the 1st and 2nd verses with that ratty and gritty voice that he is famous for on this album. The guitars during the pre-chorus are catchy and sharp. During the solo break Dimebag shows why he will be one of the most influential guitarists, with two solos back to back and a sharp guitar riff that will cut you like a knife!
"P.S.T. 88” (I will let you figure that one out) futures Dimebag on vocals. It is another well played song with more excellent sharp guitar riffs and a great solo. Dimebag does a great job of not only playing the guitar, but singing.
This album is very memorable; sure it is not the Pantera people idolize, but it futures excellent singing by Phil, with his varied singing and his high pitched voice. The guitar work by Dimebag Darrell is phenomenal, too. Good check out the guitars riffs on the “Power Metal” song or on “Down Below” the riffs are sharp. The band as a whole sound like Judas Priest, Metallica and Megadeth mixed into one. The riffs are thrashy and the treble is turned up to max on the guitar and Phil sings as good Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Mike Sanders (Toxik) and Eric Adams (Manowar).
Alright, first of all, let it be known that I damn-near worship Dimebag. I'm not going to start off on a rant about how I'm his biggest fan and he changed my life, but he IS my favorite guitarist (no one comes close) and he did inspire me to play guitar.
That being said, the one thing I probably hate most about this album is the guitar work. Whoah, whoah, whoah, don't crucify me yet. Hear me out. First of all, seeing as my best friend is arguably Randy Rhoads' biggest fan, I've become incredibly familier with his playing and his style. Keeping in mind that Dimebag took a lot of influence from Randy Rhoads (among other people), it's just annoying to listen to so many Rhoads-inspired riffs on this album. The riffs are definitely amazing; it's like everything Pantera's later albums weren't. Fast, technical, and aggressive. But Dimebag is my favorite because of the way HE played guitar, not because of how Randy Rhoads (or any of his other influences) played guitar, so to hear an album which is so heavily influenced by ANOTHER guitarist just sort of ruins it for me.
That brings me to my second point about the guitar work. The solos are LAME. They're fast and Dimebag definitely shows off his shredding on this album, but that's all it is: shredding (for the most part). If I want to listen to shredding, I'll pick up and Yngwie Malmsteem album or a DragonForce album (in his defense, DragonForce wasn't out yet, but still). I loved Dimebag's solos because they were so imaginitive and emotional. Cowboys from Hell, Walk, Floods, Cemetary Gates, etc. That sort of "feeling" I got from his later stuff (later being CFH and on) just isn't here.
BUT! That's minor. Well, not minor, but it's only ONE thing to complain about. And despite some of the goodness being gone, the guitar work will still kick your ass nine ways to Sunday. I won't pretend like I listened to the bass and review it like usual. To be honest, I don't give a shit about the bass unless it's abso-fucking-lutely amazing, which Rex isn't. But he's good and it doesn't sound BAD, so I'll assume it's pretty tight with the guitar as it should be. There are a couple places where I can hear it and it's pretty cool. Some nice walking bass lines here and there.
Vinnie's drumming is probably the best it's ever been. I love listening to his drum work on this album, and on the title track, half the song is just drumming and singing, so he definitely gets to shine. True, there are no amazing double-kick frenzies or amazing drum solos, but it's fast and fierce as it should be. Plus, he keeps the beat, and when you're headbanging, does anything else really matter?
Phil is GODLY on this album. I think I like him a bit better on Cowboys from Hell, personally, but his Manowar-esque shrieking is top-notch. I can't really pick out a single track where he stands out. He's giving it his all on every single song, and I love it. But I've gotta say, on the title track, the chorus is just epic! "You say you want some metal...I'll give you all I got! My deadly grasp is lethal; this force will never stop! POWER METAL!" It gives me goosebumps.
Really, I'd love to give this album a higher rating, because in truth, it deserves it. Everything is about as good as it can be, really. But when it comes right down to it, I love Dimebag for what he did with a guitar, but he just ain't doing it on this album, and it's a shame. I guess it took him just a couple more years to finally find his style. Thank god he did.
This is probably my favourite Pantera album for a number of reasons. One of which being that it contains what I feel to be Dime's best guitar solos, a fact that can easily be verified by checking out the fucking massive solo on "We'll Meet Again" and the totally mind bending shred fest that is "Death Trap." The second being that Phil Anselmo's vocals were almost perfect (I loved his performance on Cowboys), and his screaming was like a very harsh Rob Halford...strange to think that this guy pigeonholed himself to just one type of delivery later on. And overall, I think this is the perfect combination of aggression and melody, the exact thing that "power metal" should be, not some rooty tooty pretty boys singing about faeries and elves wandering off into "battle."
Take the ferocious riffs of early Megadeth and combine them with some Painkiller-era Judas Priest, and you've got a pretty good idea of the basic framework here. Nothing off Power Metal is light years away from Cowboys From Hell, except for maybe the fact this is more thrash based and not as down tuned.
Take the title track is one ripper of a fucking track. No weak riffs here, just balls out shredding, and towards the end, it breaks down into one of those heavier, moshing riffs that would later make Pantera so famous. "We'll Meet Again" is my favourite off of here, a sort of prelude to "Cemetary Gates," with spoken vocals by Phil and the that awesome solo in the middle. "Over and Out" is a ferocious maelstrom of riffs, riffs and more riffs, going through many changes and leaving you feeling wearied from the viscious onslaught.
"Down Below" is a track from I Am the Night, and perfectly bridges the gap between Terrance Lee and Phil Anselmo Pantera. Both singers perfectly pull this one off, and it's hard for me to pick a favoured version of this tune. It's got a bit of a sleazy riff, but heavy enough for destruction. Then comes "Death Trap" which is pure Pantera...galloping, raging riffs combined with screaming, over the fucking top vocals...then a lead break so savage that your neck is nearly snapped in the process! Fuck, that's got to be one of the best leads ever, and it sounds like Dime harmonized it with two guitars in different places. Surely, Trey Azagthoth and Eddie Van Halen would smile upon hearing how out there it is.
"Burrrn" could have easily come off of Defenders of the Faith, with a galloping bass and drum combo charging along. "PST 88" is kind of a throwaway track, but very amusing if you've got a sense of humour.
Really the only thing I can gripe about is the production, which is a tad thin, especially with the drums. Obviously, when they got Terry Date in there for Cowboys, things got way heavier, but the raw fucking power of this album is enough to drive you through the roof. Stylistically, it reminds me of Savatage's Power of the Night, a point where two eras of the band met and perfectly gelled, or something like that.
Glam? I think not. This is REAL power metal!
As with all of their other 80s albums, Pantera, after they released Cowboys From Hell, decided to bury their glam past, and with it any knowledge that they have made glam albums in the past. Unfortunately, this album was also buried with the rest of their glam albums. Why they would deny this album is beyond me, because it is certainly, in my opinion, their absolute best album, and they were very stupid for doing so.
Anyway, enough about that. This is about Pantera’s fourth album, Power Metal. This is their debut album with vocalist, Phil Anselmo, and back then, he sure was one hell of an awesome singer. His vocals on this album sound a bit like Rob Halford. His falsetto vocals were at least 10 times, if not more, a good as his screaming and “tough guy” vocals on Vulgar Display and later. Dimebag Darrell improves even further in his guitar playing, and throws some nice killer solos in all of the songs. The only actually glam songs on this album are Rock The World, Proud To Be Loud, and the two semi-ballads We’ll Meet Again, and Hard Ride. Everything else is a mix between speed metal (Down Below and Burnnn) and straight out thrash (Power Metal, Over And Out, Death Trap, and P.S.T. 88), yes Pantera showed signs of thrash even back in their glam days. However, every song on here is flawless and pretty unique.
Rock The World starts out with a nice heavy riff. For a glam song, this sure is heavy. The lyrics are cool as well. It’s all about rocking the world in this song, and they indeed do just that. Phil makes a pretty cool shriek at the 2:40 mark at the song. 10/10
Power Metal starts off fast and heavy with the riffs and drumming. This stays consistent throughout the song. I also like the “power meeeetal!!” shriek in the chorus. The solo is cool as well. This song is awesome thrash/speed metal, and it‘s just a preview of what‘s to come later on in this album. 10/10
We’ll Meet Again is the first of the two ballads on this albums. It has one heavy riff for a ballad though. It’s sort of a prequel to Cemetery Gates. Dimebag throws another awesome solo towards the middle of the song. The song really gets good though, towards the end when the riffs really start to get heavy. Add Phil’s cool screaming of the chorus during this riff, and you get one heavy ballad. 10/10
Over And Out is the next thrash song on this album. It has a cool riff that you can easily headbang to, and the drumming is pretty intense as well. The song really gets good during the solo though. This is one of the heavier songs on this album. 10/10
Proud To Be Loud is probably my favorite song on the album. It has basically everything I look for in a song, catchiness, cool riffs, and an awesome solo. Despite it being glam, I can easily headbang to this song. The lyrics are cool as shit too, I love singing along to this song. “Cause of proud to be loud, and I’ll never turn it down again, no!” This song rules, enough said! 10/10
Down Below was originally on their last album, I Am The Night, and just like the last version, it’s killer speed metal. The only real difference is the singer. Phil Anselmo is singing it this time around, and he sounds slightly better than Glaze did on this song. As said before, this is Judas Priest worship. 10/10
Death Trap is probably the heaviest and thrashiest song on this album. Just the riffs and drumming will leave you headbanging for a while. Phil shows a little bit of attitude in this song vocally as his voice is slightly more raspy then in any of the other songs on here. Dimebag plays one killer of a solo on here that’s bound to get your hair spinning, if you have long hair that is (like me). The way Dimebag shouts out “death trap!“ near the end of the song is cool too. This song is pure thrash with an attitude. 10/10
Hard Ride is the other ballad on here. However, it also has some pretty cool riffs. Phil sounds a lot like Rob Halford in this song. It may not be as heavy as the other songs on this album, but it sure is very catchy, and for me, or anyone else who looks for that in a song, it’s a good thing. I sing along to this song every time I listen to it. Another cool solo is heard here which concludes the song. This is one of my favorite tracks on this album. 10/10
Burnnn! is killer speed metal. The drumming is fast, and the riffs are heavy. Just like Down Below, this is also Judas Priest worship. Through in your typical awesome solo form Dimebag, and you get another perfect and heavy song. 10/10
P.S.T. 88 (a.k.a. Pussy Tight) is cool thrash metal. The song has typical glam metal lyrics (sex, girls, getting laid), but the riffs are heavy as fuck. Dimebag is the one who is singing this song, and he sounds pretty cool. You have to love that chorus! (Pussy Tight! Tonight!) Dimebag throws in a cool solo towards the two minute mark. The drumming is fast, and stays consistent. This song is cool as shit! 10/10
In my opinion, Pantera has certainly reached their peak. There is absolutely no song on here that can’t be listened to. Every song on this album is awesome, and I can listen to this album over and over again. That’s how much I like it. If you’re a fan of glam, speed, thrash, or just straight up heavy metal, then you should defiantly get this album. I think it’s just a matter of time before the remaining members of this band end up re-releasing this album. Hopefully, that will be soon.
It can be plainly stated that the 80s was a time of excess, be it in the realm of partying, of image, but more importantly of music. The music of the 80s was in all respects excessive, be it the technical prowess, the lyrical subject matter, and the overall musicality. Bands of the highest caliber poured their heart and soul into the music and injected the belief that in order to be a star, you had to earn it with a talent in your field. The guitar players were obligated to fulfill and even surpass their potential, drummers were demanded to sound loud and thunderous, bassists had to be rock solid, and singers had to be able to cover the better part of both the masculine and feminine ranges with an almost neurotic sense of drama and intrigue.
This album came in at the height of those excesses, 1988, the year that Iron Maiden put out the most musically ambitious album of their career and Judas Priest kicked it up a serious notch with “Ram it Down”. Although it resembles the latter more than the former, “Power Metal” has the spirit of Iron Maiden on full display. This is a band that was not only hell bent for technical intrigue and high octane power metal, it was raging for an audience, and unfortunately they would not get the level of attention that most of the bands that influenced them did.
Although ever member of the band is amazingly accomplished at their instruments, Phil Anselmo and Dimebag (then Diamond) Darrel steal the show from start to finish. Phil has an absolutely astonishing range, and although the true versatility of it would be shown on the more thrash-oriented “Cowboys from Hell”, we can tell that he is the singer’s singer. Most of the time he sounds like a combination of Rob Halford/Udo Dirkschneider but occasionally during his brief mid-ranged singing we hear a bit of Axel Rose. Darrel’s solos and riffs are absolutely amazing, as he is clearly modeling the Van Halen approach to solo effects and technical flair. His riffs are more reminiscent of Judas Priest and other of the NWOBHM, but the spirit of the songs has an LA tinge to it.
This release is not your typical 80s glam LP, it can easily be listened to all the way through without the need of the skip button. It is well paced and switches smoothly between the mid-tempo rock tunes and the speed metal. “Rock the World” and “Proud to be Loud” are obviously Twisted Sister influenced, containing fairly straight-forward riffs, although I must say that the solos are quite a cut above anything that those guys ever attempted. “P.S.T. ‘88” (pussy tight) is a bit humorous, but still loaded with some excellent guitar work. “We’ll meet again” and “Hard Ride” are the obligatory ballads, but damned if you can’t tell by all the loud guitars and crazy vocals. “Over and Out” and “Down Below” are heavily trash oriented and give the older guard like Metallica and MegaDeth a good run for their money.
However, the two clear winners on this release are the two fastest speed metal tracks on here. “Power Metal” carries the same name as the genre of metal that is my absolute favorite, and for good reason to. From start to finish it is a massive double bass driven assault with a riff that would seem more at home with a band like Overkill rather than a band with a glam image. “Burnnn” is pure Judas Priest/Riot worship, sounding actually a lot like the title track to “Ram it down”. Great lead and back up vocals on this, particularly during the highly catchy chorus.
In conclusion, this album represents all that was great about the 80s, and its treatment by the band that produced it in the early 1990s is a clear indication of what was wrong with that time. A lot of amazing bands suddenly got this idea into their heads that they should feel guilty for creating fun and amazingly technical music. If you want to know why the 80s died the way they did, look not only to the garbage producing “Grunge” acts that replaced them, also look to how willingly they gave up their thrown and how pathetically some actually went out of their way to join ranks with inferior musicians. This album comes recommended to fans of late 80s speed/power metal, as well as people who love great shred style guitar playing that rivals that of George Lynch and Yngwie Malmsteen. Unfortunately this album is probably destined to go out of print, and the surviving members of the band still seem to feel guilty over their former greatness, so if you manage to find a copy of it I would suggest clinging to it for the rest of your life.
Mary, Mother Of God did Pantera reach the peak of their powers here! This is the full metal sound they decided on in 1986 influenced by James Hetfield soaking Dimes glam posters in phlegm, the more ballsy Anselmo joining the ranks and from footage from live shows in 1986 they state they're a metal band whilst doing Priest and Keel covers.
Here all of the elements of their music are in their prime. Anselmo is 5 times the singer Terry Glaze was and this, along with Cowboys, is his finest performance of his career. That INCLUDES Superjoint Shitual, Down, any of his shitty side projects and the post-Cowboys Pantera albums. But because of his glammy 80's image he's in denial this music exists. Retard.
The riffs here are even heavier and as the other reviewers have said it is almost thrash because of this and the drumming which is also heavier. Add to the mix some sublime solos and this album's one of Dimebags' greatest achievements. Rest In Peace. \m/
It's hard to single out the best tracks here because from start to finish it's high quality, but the tracks that have to be heard are the title track, "We'll Meet Again" which is a prelude to "Cemetary Gates", A ballad with great heavy riffs, "Death Trap" could easily have walked onto the "Cowboys From Hell" and "Burnnn" is "Defenders Of The Faith" on smack!
The production isn't as good as Cowboys From Hell but the songwriting is better in places because of the better sense of melody. It's very much a heavily Priest influenced album with gritty riffs which yes, do sound borderline thrash. This album is fucking AWESOME most of the time.
Even the Dimebag sung "Pussy Tight" with ridiculous lyrics has a fucking brilliant catchy riff. This album hardly does wrong AT ALL and it's their best pipping Cowboys From Hell by a small margin.
Pity the band buried it, mainly because of the front cover!
No arena's for Pantera in the 80's i can't see why. Pantera got a new look at their music with this record and i think the jam session they had with Kerry King of Slayer would get them into the Vulgar Display. I have this entire album and i love it! I think that it sounds almost exactly like Cowboys just two different elements
1.Cowboys has more of a groove to it
2.Power Metal has more of a Glamish art to it
Take a listen to Hard Ride and you will hear a Phil Anselmo you will never hear again. Holy Shit!! The guy could really sing back then and in the early 90's. Pantera brought a lot of Metallica/Anthrax based influences into that album than those bands would do themselves later on. The focus track/The Anthem Rock The World is one of my all time favorites. It's got an angry Maiden/Priest thing in it that i love listening to, and just think this was before Phil could actually scream. He did a little screaming on Cowboys but the next two records did it for him. Power Metal is a great record that doesn't get the credit it deserves. I still don't know why Pantera denied all the old stuff i think it kicked ass! Pure Gold right here, and if you don't have it GET IT!
Very few people are aware that the highly successful Metal Cowboys from Texas known as Pantera released the album before Cowboys From Hell called Power Metal, let alone had any clue that they had released a few albums before that. For those who know of this album are most likely HIGHLY aware of the controversy on how Pantera created 'Power Metal', and also believe that this is a Power Metal album.
I can most definately assure you that this is not a Power Metal album, and even more so, they definately did NOT create Power Metal, but in some way at the bear most COULD have been an inspiration to Power Metal. I would say the common mistake made why this is labelled Power Metal is because of both A) the drums, and B) The Vocals. There are alot of fast double kick, and that doesn't quite make it power metal, and Phil's vocal style is often heard in mass majority of Power metal. Still, this is not power metal. If you ask me, I would say that this is more than anything but power metal.
In my point of view, the best way to describe this album's sound is think of Traditional Metal or even 80's Metal with almost NO glam and A LOT more aggression. Not quite Thrash though, but has SOMEWHAT thrash influences. Listen to Over and Out and you'll know what I mean. That is the song on here that I would consider to have a much more Thrash sound to it.
Now, those of us who love Pantera love them because of their groove sound. I know that's why I love them, especially when I hear music from that old saga genesis game Skitchin. But after listening to this, I have a much greater perspective on Pantera. To some extend, I almost prefer listening to this more than I do listening to their other stuff, with the exception of C.F.H. or a personal favorite V.D.O.P.
What I love about this album is how technical/melodic and how catchy it is. Yes this is indeed metal, and though it might not be Thrash, it has it's moments of thrash with songs like Over and Out. I also love how this is not exactly 80's Glam shit either THANK Pantera. This is a very nice and catchy album.
BOTTOMLINE: If you ask me what to expect of this album, I would tell you that all depends on what you are looking for, meaning if you want a (post) Thrash album, hmmmm, I guess you could say stay away because this is NOT thrash. Thought it has it's influences of Thrash and aggression, this is much more of a Traditional Metal sound. If you want a Power Metal album, stay away from this, because this is NOT Power Metal. I'll give 'er an 88 because of how much I was pleased.
So this is where Pantera really shed the hair metal crap. At this point hair metal was dying quickly so I'm sure they wanted to move on and not be forgotten. So they decided to go in a heavier direction, and Phil is really what they needed to become heavier.
By 1988 thrash had become a completely oversaturated genre. So many bands were putting out worthless thrash albums. Well Pantera really missed the glory days of thrash and that turned out to be a good thing. This album sounds like alot of thrash bands did in the early 80's, well in the way that it's trying to be thrash but isn't quite there. Instead of playing a really heavy NWOBHM like the early thrash bands did Pantera played a really heavy version of mainstreem 80's metal.
There are moments where you can see that they really wanted to thrash. The title track is one of the best examples of this. The thrashy moments really are quite good and wouldn't sound out of place on say metal massacre 4 or 5. However there are lots of times when thrash is no where to be found. It mostly sounds like a heavier version of Grim Reaper, which isn't bad.
So Pantera tried to be thrash on this album, but they were just a little too late. That actually turned out to be a good thing. Had they played a fully realized thrash style they probably would have been signed to Combat or Metal Blade and put out a forgetable album. Fortunately Pantera didn't do that, instead they put out a nearly thrash album that is pretty fuckin cool. They would reach their thrash peak, and overall peak for that matter with Cowboys From Hell. Luckily for metal in general Pantera didn't really develope their style until the thrash scene was pretty much dead, so they had to evolve and ended up saving metal during the dark days of the 90's.
Well this album is good, very good. It's not Cowboys, but it's close. If you like Pantera you will like this. If you like thrash there are moments that you will appreiciate. Overall I like it alot.