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In the golden years of the 1980’s Pantera produced 4 albums to the Metal world. The band’s sub-genre in Metal in those days was more Heavy / Glam and sometimes was recognized as Speed Metal, unlike their era in the 90’s which went to more Thrash / Sludge Metal. Unfortunately, Pantera in the beginning of the 1990’s decided to disavow their 80’s heritage and start out fresh with a more heavy sound and a new meaning. But, aside from that, the main focus of this review will be on their second album, Projects In The Jungle from their classic – older era which was mainly influenced from Kiss and Van Halen, but with a much heavier approach.
The album’s music is everything for the Hair / Glam / Heavy metal fans of the 80’s can hope for. In general the music is heavy and melodic that can sweep the listener off his feet. It’s got power that reminds sometimes of Judas Priest and the older era of Accept. For the fans of Dimebag Darrel (R.I.P), which then was called by his Glam name Diamond, can expect an excellent treat with high pitched, fast, melodic and crushing solos that cannot be heard on the band’s 90’s albums. One example is the instrumental track that emphasizes Darrel’s abilities with melodic solos of the 80’s era. In the rhythm section, both Darrel and bassist Rex Brown work with good synergy, producing the melodic sound of true Heavy / Glam Metal. Loud high pitched and melodic vocals can also be found from the first class, Terrence Lee, aka Terry Glaze , that in some parts gives the screams of Judas Priest’s Rob Halford but with much less a Metallic voice. Lee’s voice contributes the music, in the more Glamish songs, the little touch of sleaziness and mostly the expression of emotions like in the songs “Taking My Life”, “In Over My Head”. The pace by Vinnie Paul gives the music a large part of its power with crushing snare and fast pace double base that sounds like early Def Leppard and Accept.
Generally, all the songs in the album are good but Projects In The Jungle offers some standout classics like “All Over Tonight”, which has also a video , maybe the only one from that era of Pantera. The song is a melodic Heavy / Glam Metal, has pounding pace, heavy Guitars and catchy chorus. Another hit is the song “Like Fire” which really gives the real Impression of what an 80’s Glam song should sound like.”Killers” is a fast paced, breaking track with a good speed and melodic rhythm and can easily be found in an 80’s Thrash / Heavy Metal piece. “In Over My Head” has a small touch of AOR with keyboards and bring out a good melodic track. Finally, the closing song of the album, “Taking My Life” is a well done combination of AOR and Glam Metal ballad with keyboards which provides the atmosphere with the addition of Lee’s emotive voice.
The album, Projects In The Jungle, presents the wild Glam / Heavy Metal side of early Pantera. Some will probably say it was the worst era and some, when the band was around, probably still longed for it to come back. This Metal piece is one of the reminders of a true Metal band that changed its way to march ahead for an alternate future. For the band , the album and the two that came along after, provided a doorway to more turn away from Glam and the conclusion is already known. The most impact on the Metal world came after the band’s decision in 1992 to disavow their earlier albums in the 80’s and to put an end to a legacy.