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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).