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In my opinion, the only time Pantera really "reinvented" anything was themselves c. 1989, before the mammoth release of "Cowboys from Hell" the following year. That's not to say that this album, their "fifth" and final album, is all that bad. In looking at Pantera, whether you love em, hate em or don't mind em, you can easily define each of their albums post-Cowboys From Hell.
"Power Metal" (1988), their first with Phil Anselmo and their last "glam" record, began to show traces of their new trajectory. "Cowboys from Hell" was heavy, thrashy, and still fundamentally "heavy metal" at heart. "Vulgar Display" expanded on the band's newfound heaviness and yielded some pretty good songs. Generally by now we can assume that Pantera got heavier with each album.
Now, "Reinventing the Steel" is not perfect, and you cannot blame this entirely on musicianship. Pantera circa turn of the millennia were about to explode, not like in 1990, there was tension. This album was likely recorded with a lot of tension between the band, least of all the Abbott brothers and Phil. The album is not lacking by any means, though there aren't any "Cemetery Gates" or "I'm Broken"s on here.
Two songs that really stand out for me personally are "Revolution Is My Name" and "Goddamn Electric". Now these songs are pure unabashed Pantera, I feel a culmination of their work. Some people may disregard this album and the band around the year 2000, and opinions are warranted, and understandable, but "Reinventing" is not all bad, just not all good either.
Aside from those two songs, the rest don't really stand out, not that the musicianship is bad at all, I mean Dimebag's on top form, but it just as if you can sort of feel the internal tension. Although "We'll Grind That Axe For A Longtime" is another decent track, and sort of ironically ominous. If Phil had stayed friends with Dimebag and Vinnie a tragedy in the metal world could have been avoided, and maybe we'd still see Pantera, happy and grindin' on today, but for now we have this album, not their best, but hey not the worst piece of shit they could conjure.
- Classic Pantera
- Dimebag at work
- A few standout songs
- Feel the tension
- Not all standout
- Not their finest either