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Trend killing delight - 95%

Souther_Metal_Junky, October 18th, 2007

This is my absolute favorite album from Pantera. GSTK contains Phil with every more inspired death metal vocals, and Dimebag becoming increasingly experimental with the whammy bar and wah pedal. This album differs from their previous albums in that it is a concentrated album. It's such a concentrated effort that it is almost a concept album, and that concept is HATE(and drugs).

This album is unique in my opinion because it contains two pairs of two part songs, and only one possible filler.

From the first 9 second death scream from Anselmo on the title track, to the ending riff of Dime's on Sandblasted Skin, the album seems almost completely original. The album deals with a range of topics from fake street kids to drugs and the media.

Common songs on this album that are called "filler" are 10's, 13 steps to nowhere, and Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath). However the only one of these i see as possible filler is 13 Steps to Nowhere. 10's is a riveting ballad of drug addiction that contains the best solo on the entire album in my opinion, and Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath) has a very catchy groove riff that has one of the best vocal performances on the entire album. 13 Steps in my opinion isn't a filler song though it is just merely misplaced on the album. I feel it would make the album flow better if it was placed after War Nerve, it is couched between the slower songs 10's and Suicide Note Part 1 on the original, making it's upbeat tempo seem awkward. In fact the song I feel doesn't belong most is actually the single, Drag the Waters. It's just too catchy and groovy in between the slow driving War Nerve, and 10's.

GSTK is an album mainly fueled by rage as seen in tracks 1,2,3,5,7,8,10, and 11. Therfore apart from the slower ballads, which are powerful in their own right, the album doesn't lose it's intensity. It seems mixed well, each instrument has it's limelight on the album, but it seems that the vocals and guitar get a tad more emphasis than drums and bass.

This album was a definitive mark on the music scene during the mainstreams shift from alternative grunge to rapcore, and is just a brutal assault on all your senses. It is my favorite Pantera album due to it's overt brutality and experimentation. My only complaint though is that the songs could have been arranged better on the album to not give such an awkward feel sometimes.