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Pantera > Metal Magic > Reviews
Pantera - Metal Magic

I don't consent - 13%

Caleb9000, October 20th, 2017

Pantera's early work is often said to be best left forgotten, as it is basically on the exact opposite side of the metal spectrum from what the band would do in the 1990s. While I personally find the bulk of their work from this era to be overlooked and underapreciated, there is one album that definetly deserves all of the mockery that it is subjected to. That album is their debut. The title of this album alone is enough to make anyone cringe and the cover art is both confusing and hilarious. Seriously though, what the fuck is that thing? The music here is more coherent than the cover art, but it is hardly any better. Even by the standards of glam metal, this album is seriously poor.

Most of the music on here sounds like the members of Kiss had gone next to bankrupt, only to be forced by their record company to record an album on the spot, with no assistance with budget at all. The production on this thing is so low budget and flat that it makes Deathcrush by Mayhem sound well-produced. The bass is practically unintelligible, the guitars are obnoxiously fuzzy and the vocals are buried beneath the rest of the music. But even if this was produced well, it would still be horrendous, as the music is enough to keep it so. It sounds pretty much exactly like Kiss, but with the cheese factor turned way up, and a lead guitarist doing an impersonation of Randy Rhodes. Diamond Darrell is very talented, and his talent shows here. But his leadwork is boring and derivative, though he does show flashes of brilliance occasionally.

Most of the riffs are rather predictable, and there really aren't a whole lot of them in general. This is one of the simplest Pantera albums from a structural standpoint. I don't believe that simplicity is inherently bad, but with the lackluster music that it builds on, it just serves to make the music all the more uneventful. There are a few moments where certain sections are repeated ad nauseam, such as the monotonous chorus of "Tell Me if You Want It". In fact, it's the choruses in genral that fall victim to this, something typical of glam, but the one mentioned beforehand is the biggest offender.

Whenever the music isn't utterly forgetable, it's unpleasantly scarring. The best example of this would be the ballad, "Bigget Part of Me", with one of the most cringe-inducingly cheesy choruses that I've ever heard. The title track is also a good example. It's pretty much the one song where they break away from the Kiss worship (instead, it's Motley Crue worship), with one of those irritating earworm riffs that won't leave your head alone, even though it never sounded pleasing to the ear to begin with. And it's all topped off with horrendous whispered vocals that sound like something a bad 1970s R&B singer would do.

Speaking of the vocals, Terry Glaze deserves his own paragraph. He isn't exactly a bad singer from a technical standpoint, but the way he sings is absolutely grating. He never sings forcefully, half the time he sounds flat and void of any emotion. The other half, he tries to sing with feeling, but instead of coming off as emotive, he just sounds whiney. There is nothing truly convincing about it at all. This is made worse by the horrible lyrics, which I'm sure you can drum of an accurate picture of. Sex, girls, lamenting of past relationships, etc. There's even a song called "Ride My Rocket". That should give you a good peak of the boarderline self-parody that awaits you in this album.

Debut albums are often said to be the weakest most of the time. There is some truth to that in certain cases, but they are very rarely even close to being this awful. While I dislike some of Pantera's other work, this is by far their worst effort. It shows a band who have no idea what they're doing, resulting in an incompetant, annoying and laughable mess of an attempt at making a fun album. This particular brand of metal doesn't get any worse than this. The other two glam albums from Pantera are overwhelmingly superior to this, as is the rest of their discography. Terry would turn into a more tolerable vocalist, Darrell would become a more tasteful guitarist, and the band as a whole would write music that was much more interesting. But not here. This might as well be looked at as a poorly recorded demo that no one cares about.

You want to talk hidden gems? Look no further! - 95%

SimbaLennon, September 1st, 2017

"In this day and time of metal magic, we need rock and roll. We need... Pantera!"

Truly fitting words to open the career of such an iconic band. It still baffles me that the reputation for this album is so negative, even by glam-era Pantera standards. Even fans of that era often write this one off. But to me, Metal Magic represents one of the standards for how to do glam metal well, and it's a real testament to what young musicians can pull off. Say what you will about it or the other Terry Glaze-fronted albums, but at the end of the day, they're hard to really get mad at. Darrell was only 16 when this was made, and the other members were fresh out of high school. They were just a group of fun, goofball 80s kids doing what they loved, which is where a lot of the charm in Metal Magic comes from. This was in 1983 too, so it's not like they had the modern tech, conveniences or distribution that we have now. You had to know just the right kind of people or pay shitloads of money for the right resources and teachers to learn how to shred the way Darrell does on this record. So in my eyes, it's even more impressive that the band could put together an album as good as this. True, they had Dime/Vinnie's father and his studio to give them a head start, but Metal Magic can still stand as an encouragement for aspiring, young musicians who want to get their material out there. If a group of kids could do it in the 80s, then surely anyone can get themselves known today too, so long as they've got talent.

And talent there is! Dimebag manages to knock it out of the park on his first swing here. He's a long way off from the great solos heard in Floods or Domination, but even at 16, he could've gone head-to-head with Eddie Van Halen without breaking a sweat. Tell Me if You Want it, Biggest Part of Me, and Widowmaker show his ability to execute great hooks and riffs all throughout a song. The title track also shows a lot of promise for what he'd eventually go on to do down the line. There aren't a lot of his trademark whammy bar screeches in the solos as we'd hear on the 90s records; Instead, he went for a faster, Eddie-like approach with lots of fast tapping and string skipping, which I like a lot. If you're a fan of Dimebag's guitar skills, then if nothing else, Metal Magic will be a real treat for the ears just for that much, because it proves he'd been going at it longer than most people know. On the vocal side of things, Terry Glaze also does an impressive job as Pantera's lead singer here. He has a good amount of charisma in his voice, he's always in-key, and you can just tell he was having a blast behind the mic.

Terry sounds very different on here than on Projects in the Jungle or I Am the Night though. I don't want to call it baritone, per say, but he sings in a lower register than those other records. Whereas on those ones, his voice was going all over the place from screeching highs to whispery lows on a dime. Here he's not often straying from what he was comfortable with at the time. You could almost be fooled into thinking it's a different singer entirely, the difference is that striking. I don't want to sound like I'm criticizing him for that, because I'm not, but it seems to me that he just hadn't found his full range just yet. Perhaps he was still developing his style. But nevertheless, as mentioned, this is hardly a criticism; Terry Glaze still does extremely well with most of the material given to him. He works with his limited range better than you'd imagine, and it's easy on the ears. His highlights include Biggest Part of Me, Ride My Rocket, and the title track, particularly with the chorus sections. For as much flack as Terry usually gets for these albums, I say he deserves a bit of vindication, particularly here on Metal Magic.

Rex Brown also does a fine job on bass here. My favorite portion of his work is definitely his bassline in Nothing On (But the Radio). It's memorable, buoyant and fun, almost having sort of a disco-like vibe to it. His bass at the beginning of Ride My Rocket has gotten some criticism for sounding like it ripped off Detroit Rock City by Kiss, but I don't mind it much at all. It's similar, yes, but I can cut Rex some slack here. Kiss was always one of their biggest influences during this time period, so I'm guessing maybe Rex wanted to pay an homage to it; Nothing really wrong with that in my opinion. At times the bass is hard to hear in the mix, but when it's present, it really shines. Last but certainly not least, Vinnie Paul manages to prove his worth on here too. While his best drumming was still yet to come, I admire his quick rhythms and how upbeat and full of energy he sounds in many places. I've heard some comments say that the drums here sound like typical 80s electronic drums, but I don't agree; they don't sound electronic at all on here. Vinnie did start to use them a bit on the following two records, but for Metal Magic, he's clearly just using a standard kit, so it's all good. There's also nowhere near as much keyboard or synthesizer work on here as some might lead you to believe either. Biggest Part of Me or Tell Me if You Want it are heavy with the synth, but outside of those, it rarely ever pops up. But when it is there, it still sounds genuinely good, particularly on the former.

Production-wise, Metal Magic is also well done. The production on the album gets a lot of crap, but I personally don't hear any problems with it. I've heard vinyl rips where it sounds much worse, so this could just be for my specific copy of the album. Take this with a grain of salt, but everything comes in clear and fairly balanced. I've already mentioned that the bass sounds lacking in some places, but beyond that, I don't hear any errors. Songs aren't too muddled, there's no vinyl hissing or crackling noises, and I can't complain about much of the mixing. Drums sound crisp and dry, the guitar is very clear-cut, and vocals are mixed nicely with the rest of the band. Producer Jerry Abbott had already worked with country music prior to this, so I imagine that this type of music was a very new deal to him. I'm also guessing he learned quick, because it came out just fine. I'm really curious about what a remaster of this album would sound like, though.

Lyrically, the album's definitely not breaking any boundaries or revolutionizing any genres, of course. Lots of the songs are about things like sex, love, rock n' roll, seducing girls, prostitutes; all that fun 80s stuff. Very different from the Pantera most people know, certainly. Widowmaker and I'll Be Alright are probably the weakest links in the lyrics department. The former is just some middle-of-the-road lines about a sexy girl, and I can't make heads or tails of what the latter is even about. Something about moving away, singing songs and reassuring someone they'll be okay? I guess? I don't know, it's not that well written or organized. Biggest Part of Me, on the other hand, touches on the themes of loneliness and abandonment from someone you love, which I think is an interesting break from the formula. Again, nothing to really write home about, and it's done in kind of a cheesy way, but it's a good touch. The title track seems to be about moving forward with life, enduring all its ups and downs, and never looking back. I like this idea a lot, and it's a good type of theme to name the album after, although I wish the lyrics were longer on it. They're too short and too few to really go anywhere truly great. So lyrically, yeah, Metal Magic is very simple, but kind of weak. It does leave a lot to be desired. I can cut the guys some slack here too though, because again, they were all just kids at the time, either in or just out of high school. I don't think most of us would be able to write Cemetery Gates or Walk at their ages either. My guess is that this is just what they thought hair metal lyrics were supposed to be like at the time. (And not to crap on these other groups, but to be fair, it's not like later bands like Ratt or Poison were doing a ton to prove them wrong.)

In conclusion, Metal Magic is a perfect example of what a 'hidden gem' is, and I applaud the band for pulling it off at such a young age. When looking at the big picture of Pantera's catalogue, it's easy to write this album off as the "worst" one. It sounds dated to some, the lyrics are mediocre, it's clearly out of place compared to Cowboys or Vulgar Display, and of course, there's the weird and ridiculous cover art. But to be completely honest, in spite of all this, Metal Magic might still be the Pantera album that I enjoy the most our of them all. It's the easiest on the ears (as mentioned before), it's got the most amount of solid hooks for me, Dimebag's early skills are still absolute bliss to listen to, and although the lyrics are once again 'meh', Terry Glaze still sings them out excellently. The songs are basic, fun and even addicting to listen to. Even with their simplicity, they're just dripping with promising talent and a fun tone, and most of it would make for great party material. I'm absolutely floored by the fact that this and the other Glaze-era albums never even gotten an official CD release. Pantera likes to keep up this "manly tough guy" image that started with Cowboys From Hell, which is all right, but I don't see how giving this a proper re-release would ruin that. Like it or not, this is how they started, and it's an important piece of metal history because of that fact. If for nothing else, I think the guys should at least honor that fact and give Metal Magic a good remaster. There's nothing to be ashamed of if they do; It's not like it'd make fans like Cowboys or Vulgar Display any less or respect Dimebag's legacy less because of it. This and the other Glaze-era albums are crucial pieces of Pantera's heritage, and it's a damn shame that you can only get them through bootlegs and file sharing sites now.

We really do need Pantera in this day and time of metal magic, not a single doubt about that.

Metal magic-ic-ic...Ick. ICKY. - 4%

BlackMetal213, August 7th, 2017

Pantera's first four albums as many of us know were rejected by the band upon the release of their 1990 full-length "Cowboys from Hell". Many people, like the band, tend to agree that the "Glamtera" era of Pantera (wow, that rhymed a bit) should never have existed. I think "Projects in the Jungle" is a solid if somewhat predictable "glam" album, "I Am the Night" is fairly good and "Power Metal" is among one of their best albums. But what about "Metal Magic"? What about their very first album from 1983? Well, let's just say it never should have existed. This is easily the worst Pantera album ever to be released and unlike the three following albums, I can completely sympathize with the band wanting to discount this atrocity from their discography.

"Let's all get together, feather the crap out of our hair, wear girl's pants and makeup, and rip off KISS and Whitesnake. That would make for a cool album!" Yeah right, girl. We all know Dimebag Darrell (known as Diamond Darrell at this time, up until "Vulgar Display of Power" was released nine years later) was a great guitar player if a bit overrated, but his performance here is bland, bad, and boring. The solos can be kind of cool here and there but the actual riffs contain no merit to Dime himself. There is a lot of cheesy guitar playing on here such is the case with about 90%+ of glam rock (this hardly qualifies as a heavy metal record). Come on, just listen to "Latest Lover", the juvenile "Ride My Rocket", or the seemingly necessary and obligatory ballad "Biggest Part of Me", which surprisingly Terry Glaze wasn't singing about regarding his pecker. This isn't the fun cheese that comes with a lot of power metal bands but rather a stinky, mold-infected cheese that should never be ingested by anyone. Even the title track which is probably the fastest song here, almost sounding speed metal-ish at times, still is extremely lame and overstays any welcome is somehow had. Somehow.

Terry Glaze was not a good singer. Not in my opinion, anyway. Even his performance on the two albums which followed this distract me at times from the otherwise solid music. Here, he's only slightly worse than everything else going on. The lyrics were typical for glam rock bands. Sex, love, and rock n' roll. Emphasis on the sex and rock n' roll part. "Ride My Rocket". Really? Come on, dudes. These lyrics aren't even funny in a ha-ha sense, but rather comical in how bad and predictable they are, as well as completely juvenile. "Latest Lover" seems to describe either a prostitute or the city slut. "Widowmaker" makes me think of a stripper. I'm sure Terry was referring to his penis in the lyrics to "Tell Me If You Want It". I could go on and on here and fill up this review with examples of lyrical immaturity but I feel like I've already made my point. Maybe the lyrics wouldn't be as cringe-worthy if Terry was actually a decent singer? Nah, actually I take that back. They're still pretty bad. I'm glad he improved on the next three albums, granted it would only be a marginal improvement. Oh, screw it. Just look at the lyrics to "Nothin' On (But the Radio)". "She looks easy" and "she's everything you ever wanted in a girl"....? Yeah, because I definitely go for "easy" when it comes to girls.

Of the band's 1980s output, this is the worst. Easily. Of the band's entire discography, this is also the worst. In fact, it makes "Piss" seem like grand musical mastery of intelligence and perfection. Okay, maybe it doesn't go that far, but it still makes "Piss" look like a good song. Which most of us agree it isn't. It's no wonder Pantera denies this album, at least they got THAT right...


psychoticnicholai, January 10th, 2017

That thing is the ghoulish monstrosity on the front of Pantera's first ever studio album from when they were a glam band in the 1980's. Sadly, that cover art is an omen about the quality of the record held within. This is a schlocky, amateurish glam rock album that's obsessed with fucking, a bit of rock n' roll, and more fucking. This is as stark a difference as you could get from the brutish groove metal of 90's Pantera. Which is especially odd, since the Abbott brothers and Rex are here, the only change in line-up is the singer, glam shrieker Terry Glaze. Even so, the misadventures of a band barely out of their teens and riding the latest trends might make for a great story, but not a great album.

If this album wants you to know one thing about, it's sex. There are tacky sex ballads and goofy, cringey taglines all over this piece. Metal Magic kicks off with "Ride my Rocket", a cheesy little ditty about playing with a penis that's as obvious as you can get. Not to mention the chorus to that song, and many others is beyond corny. "Latest Lover" just sounds way too happy to be a song about a prostitute. The title track even involves some "perv whisper" action despite being one of the only songs not primarily about a stupid sex metaphor. The other songs suffer from more general problems such as Terry's silly vocal antics, sex metaphors, sappy ballads, corny choruses, and a very derivative sound. Metal Magic is cheesy to the point of disgust, this is syrupy cock rock schlock in its purest form.

I'm going to say that this album is WAY too close to Pantera's early influences to stand out. A lot of this feels like Van Halen worship. From Darrell's guitar play (which, though derivative is still good), to the corny pussy-chasing antics in the lyrics, to Terry's vocals, it sounds like an amateur version of Van Halen with catchy taglines in a starry-eyed hope of selling a ton of copies and breaking into the hair metal scene. It makes sense since the Abbott brothers loved the hell out of Van Halen. You can't really fault these guys for doing this because they were barely out of their teens when this was made, and Van Halen and hair bands were the big thing at the time. Just an observation, but an important one.

Metal Magic is not a good album at all and pales in comparison to any of Pantera's canon albums. Even compared to their other glam albums, this is as weak as it gets. If they'd just held back a bit on the sappy and corny lyrical ideas, they could've at least made a serviceable, albeit faceless glam album to get it out of their systems. Just let Dime rock out and give him some time to jam and hone his skill while keeping Mr. Glaze under control, that's the advice I'd have given back then, if I were alive. Though, even with that, it might not improve that much, not at this stage, not with this style.

Glamtera - 35%

Grumpy Cat, December 26th, 2015

Gah, why did I even listen to this. I found Pantera's 90s work to be hit and miss, why would I want to hear them try and be Motley Crue wannabes? Because I like to put myself in pain I guess. I even had that cheesy, dreadful looking album cover as a warning, but foolishly I carried on.

Well, no use crying over spilled milk now, might as well follow the site rules and explain why I hated it. Its cheesy and poorly written. Simple as that. Now those aren't the only problems but those are ultimately the two that matter. From the not so subtle lyrics packed with intended sexual innuendo to the annoying suynthesizer parts, this adequately summarizes why so many metalheads hate glam metal. Its weak and lightweight, its one dimensional and simultaneously both hard and easy to relate to.

I'm pretty sure most of us have those primal urges and certainly can relate to wanting a certain individual to ride our rockets (or to ride someone else's rocket) but when you literally phrase it as "ride my rocket" it might be hard for someone to take your proposition and advances seriously. In a very similar manner it causes a listener to be a bit uneasy, the lyrics are obviously all intended as clever innuendo but are so poor that anyone who knows what sex is will know exactly what you're referring to and wonder why you didn't just come and say "hey let's have sex", the lyrics come across as very immature and hard to take seriously. One might almost wonder if they're listening to a Steel Panther demo, except that Steel Panther rarely uses innuendo and still manages to be more clever.

Now, when it comes to lyrics and themes a large part of it also relies on delivery. Well unfortunately the vocals were also rather poor. It sounds like a teenage boy simultaneously trying to mimic both Dio and Vince Neil of Motley Crue and not succeeding at either. Add to this his limited range and predictably nasally voice and it becomes almost offensive to the ears.

Then add in your instruments. Some monotonous, bare bone guitar riffs performed with a guitar tone that lacked power and muscle. There are some repetitive synthesizer melodies that are usually sprinkled onto the chorus. There is a bass player who's basically mixed out and finally there is a drummer using simple and straights beats at a midpaced tempo. No one adds any intensity or bursts of power to the mix.

Its a very lightweight, commercially safe sounding album with a bad production job and ridiculous lyrics. Pass.

Funny where Greatness Can Come From - 41%

Rhofpheh, May 3rd, 2013

So this is how it started out for the boys in Pantera, but I wouldn't call it a great start. First off, the sound quality is not that great, which it rather forgivable given that they were a small time glam band from Arlington, Texas and this is their debut. It's gritty and doesn't do the music any good. But I'm sure Jerry Abbott, father of band members Vinnie Paul and Darrell Abbott, did the best he could with what he had.

The album starts out strong and straight forward with Ride My Rocket and I'll be Alright, songs that bring bands like Diamond Head and the early stuff of Def Leppard to mind. As does other songs like Metal Magic and Widowmaker, which is a sound that kinda suits them. But mainly this album has an aura of glam and Kiss influences about it and I would say it's rather evident that this is not their strong suit. They do pull off some nice melodies and rythms here and there, like the verse in Latest Lover and the chorus in Biggest Part of Me, but the rest of their more glammy approaches comes off as generic and boring. Sadly, most of the album is glam and thereby mostly dissapointing.

The album also features one of the worst album covers I have ever seen, comparable in quality to the debut of Aerosmith. A ripped panther on two legs coming at you with a knife, I cannot fathom how Danny Leatherman or the band thought of this as a good design.

A good thing about this is that even early on could you hear the brilliance of the brothers Abbott, Vinnie Paul's steady but playful drumming and Darrell's rather unique guitarchops. Rex Brown's bass playing is as allways flawless, even in these early days. And Terry Glaze, despite giving the weakest performance, does a fairly good job singing. But still, if I was an A&R guy I wouldn't sign them based on what I heard here. Funny where greatness can come from.

A surprisingly good start. - 90%

KittenDecapitator, July 6th, 2012

Before I start, I would like people who are about to read this review to drop all their prejudice of this album (assuming you haven't listened to it). Pantera's groove era work is not the pinnacle of their creativity, and just because this is a glam metal album written by an inconsistent band as Pantera is, this is actually some of the best glam metal you can possibly find, and I'll tell you why.

First off, calling this album just a glam metal one isn't entirely correct - it's notably heavier than average glam metal, with some speedy moments thrown in, so maybe heavy/glam is the most accurate description of this record.

What might be an issue with this record is its production - the rhythm guitar is too muddy and the drums sound a bit weird in the mix, the same goes for the vocals. The production isn't nearly as bad as the early Death/Mantas demos, but it doesn't fall into the category of "good bad production" that we can hear on some black metal either. It's something in between them. But it's not unbearable, and in fact, it doesn't cut down the enjoyment.

Now for the music. This is where this album surprised me. Going by the tracks, I'll tell you straight off - Ride My Rocket, with an intro ripped off from Detroit Rock City by Kiss is probably the only weak track on the album. Going further, the next song, I'll Be Alright is one of the albums highlights with its awesome riffage. The album isn't very consistent, but nearly every song on the album has at least 1 or 2 memorable riffs and a few catchy moments that make them stand out. Songs are mostly medium-tempoed, akin to traditional heavy metal, though there are a few speedier ones (Ride My Rocket, Metal Magic, Rock Out). There is also a very fine power ballad thrown in (Biggest Part of Me), so the album doesn't miss variety either.

For a young band like they were back in the day when this album was released (for instance, Dimebag was only 17), the musicianship is rather fine. Dimebag is a complete riff-machine on this one, and does some decent leadwork as well, his older brother Vinnie isn't far behind with his drumming. Terry Glaze is objectively a pretty horrible vocalist, but he has his own depth that fits in the songs rather well. Rex doesn't have any standout moments to name, but overall, the band sounds great together.

As for the lyrics, well, yeah, there isn't much to say about them. In short, they are so bad that they're good.

To sum it up:


-Guitarwork - great riffs, quite catchy tunes and decent leadwork
-Very good catchy moments, provided by the fitting drumming and Dimebag's outstanding riffage


-Production - muddy guitar sound and weird overall mixing
-Cheesy vocals and lyrics


I'll Be Alright, Biggest Part of Me, Sad Lover

The Awful Begining... - 40%

kgerych1995, March 6th, 2012

Now almost everyone knows of Pantera as the bullet-spitting groove metal act that ruled the metal realm of the over-decadent 1990's. Little do most know is that the amazing brothers Dimebag Darrell (then known as Diamond Darrell) and Vinnie Paul as well as bassist Rex Brown had a lead singer that was NOT the great Phillip Anselmo, but a glam-influenced one that went by the stage alias T. Lee, as well as 1990’s Cowboy’s From Hell was NOT their first album, but what we’ve got here is the REAL Pantera debut that was released in 1983, preceding CFH by almost 10 years, but not quite on the dot. Early Pantera material is very reminiscent to that of Def Leppard and Motley Crue, if the two got together in the bed and made some horrible glam hybrid with elements of KISS and others. “Metal Magic” is the true debut by the Texas powerhouse, and I must say it sounds like early Sunset Strip glam metal. To tell you the truth, it was not up to what I hoped it would be. I have read bad review after another and I must say that everyone is justified in my book when they say that this sucks.

The lyrical content on this album is mainly fairly juvenile and undeveloped. Songs like the self- explanatory “Ride My Rocket” and “Tell Me If You Want It” are as bad as Pantera gets. The songs are mainly awful. The album would be a whole lot more bearable if Dime had developed his trademark guitar acrobatics as showcased in the so called “commercial years” of Pantera. There are (somewhat) worthwhile songs such as the sort of mediocre “Widow Maker” and…maybe the title track. The riff is okay, but the vocals and the lyrics suck. The album’s production is very cold and lacking. The drums sound way too high in the mix, but they do not have enough bass to push through vocalist Terry Lee’s high pitched Vince Neil/Joe Elliot crossover. The bass is always at front of the mix. I was scrolling through eBay one day and someone was actually pleading the viewers to take this album off of their hands. Yes, it is that bad.

Would I blame anyone in the right frame of mind for wanting to erase this mess from their collections? No, I would not! That is just how terrible the album is. As much as I hate this album, I still give it points because I love Dime. If you are one of those diehards that must have everything made by a band, then by all means buy it, but you will soon find out that it is more filler than killer, making it a permanent space filler in your collection, as it did mine.

Cheesy though still pretty good. - 84%

IWP, September 25th, 2008

So this is where Pantera started out as a band. This is way back in 83 when glam was just starting to become a mainstream force. This album is pure glam with the occasional speed metal moments which are present in both I'll Be Alright and Metal Magic. This album is pretty cheesy even for glam. This is no Projects From the Jungle more to less Power Metal.

What this album sounds like is a second rate Poison/Bon Jovi fusion. So for those who do not like either band, you will probably hate this album, as evident with the amount of shit it has gotten from both metalheads and Pantera fanboys alike. However, if you're like me, and absolutely love 80s hair metal, you'll at least dig this. For a glam album, it's pretty consistent, though at times it does get rather bland.

The main thing that holds this album back (for me anyway) is the production. The sound is just too raw and unpolished. For a thrash album, this kind of production would be great, but this is 80s glam, and therefore, it just doesn't sound right.

The best songs on this album would be Ride My Rocket, Tell Me If You Want It, I'll Be Alright, and Metal Magic. The first two mentioned songs are very catchy and upbeat rockers. Ride My Rocket is pretty up tempo, but doesn't qualify as speed metal, because of the lack of riffs. The last two mentioned tracks, however, are two awesome speed metal songs, that would eventually influence the rest of their career as musicians. Metal Magic is probably the closest to thrash that this album gets, and sounds like total Judas Priest worship though with cheesy lyrics. They would do this speed metal number even better on their next album, Projects in the Jungle.

However, there are two songs here that bring the score down a bit. These are the last two tracks, Sad Lover and Rock Out. Both songs are rather dull and generic glam songs, and Rock Out tends to get a bit boring at times. These songs aren't really bad, but there just pretty avarage for glam standards.

For the most part, this album is pretty consistent. However, I can't really picture anyone outside of glam metal fans that would appreciate this album. If you're into thrash, stay away from this album, you'll hate just about every moment of it, outside of the title track. If you're a Pantera fan, you might want to give this a listen to see how the band started out. However, if you're an 80s glam fan, I'd recommend this you, especially if you're into Poison or Ratt. This album is pretty much impossible to find at a reasonable price, so just download it instead.

The worst of “Glamtera” - 60%

The_Blacksmith, May 10th, 2008

Although that’s not to say it’s a bad album. Quite the contrary, Metal Magic easily shits all over Pantera’s 90s material (with the soul exception of Cowboys From Hell, which, to quote hells_unicorn “was seen as an 80s album by nearly everyone”), and as with all their other 80s releases, is deserving of a re-release.

The main thing that sets this back from their next three albums is without a doubt the production. There is very little depth in the guitar tone, which is often buried beneath the cheesy 80s synthesizers, which leads me neatly onto the album’s other biggest problem. The synth intro to the album is annoying for two reasons: It’s part of the first song, so you can’t skip it to go straight into the opening track, like the nice chaps in Motley Crue let you do with their release of the same year. The title track suffers from this problem as well, which means you have to wait an annoyingly long amount of time before you can listen to what would otherwise be fine songs. Someone clearly wasn’t thinking when they recorded those intros. And the second thing about them is that they just sound crap. The really sad thing is though that if the band took a bit more time to make the synths less tedious sounding, the song “Tell Me If You Want It” could have been a much better song than it already is.

Fortunately the song is good enough to stand up against the poorly executed synths, and is still enjoyable to listen to. While this album’s production and synths are pretty damn bad, they don’t manage to cripple the entire album. Anyone who is a fan of glam can’t help but enjoy fun upbeat songs such as “Latest Lover”, the speed metal number “Metal Magic”, the cheese-laden “Sad Lover”, and even the balled “The Biggest Part of Me” isn’t actually completely horrible to listen to (it’s synths are actually rather tastefully done, with a cheap sounding strings section sound used).

And while the whole album is a very cheesy listen – as glam generally is – it still stands to bare the name glam METAL. Despite being fully of KISS worship, this is nowhere near the pop display of bands like Poison Bon Jovi - can you see either of those bands playing a speed metal song? -, and by no means sounds like a demo the former would have recorded, as stated by an earlier review. Terry Glaze does a pretty good job of handling the vocals, but certainly something any despiser of glam would, well, despise. He doesn’t display the hard edge future vocalist Phil did during his peak (that would be his first two albums recorded with the band), but would certainly improve over time, unlike Phil, who by 1992 was putting out some of the worst vocals I’ve ever heard.

If you can ignore the poor production, synths and somewhat disturbing artwork - and I know that’s hard - this is actually a very consistent album. Aside from the closing track, which is a bit of a none event, there isn’t really a bad song on here, although certainly nothing to special either (especially if the riffs department, not Dime’s strongest effort). It’s really sad to see such an enjoyable album held back by poor production and tasteless synths, as if it weren’t for these this album would certainly be earning another 20 points to it’s score.

So in conclusion, if it’s well produced polished riff-based glam metal from 1983 you’re after, go and buy Shout at the Devil instead, which in every single way Metal Magic can’t hold stick to. However, if your standards are slightly lower and you just want a fun glam metal release that doesn’t have the pop riddled sound of Poison, or you merely wish to here where Pantera came from, download this from an illegal P2P network now, since the band themselves are to ashamed to admit that once upon a time, they weren’t the crappy groove false thrash metal band they turned out to be. Maybe one day the band will grow out of this stupidity and re-release (and in this album’s case, remix and re-master as well) their releases on "Metal Magic Records", but until then:

Cheesy cheesy cheesy - 60%

abu_thaura, March 17th, 2007

It pains me to give any Pantera album anything less than 85, but this just doesn't cut it. I love Pantera and I love glam but this is the bad kind of glam. You know, the kind that you watch, and everyone has fucking make-up all over their faces, the kind that makes you think "Jesus, the hell is Bret Michaels thinking?" Well, this is the kind. Subsequent albums will be a different issue, but it seems that in their first album Pantera really just didn't know what the hell they wanted.

The album begins with the song Ride My Rocket, and has glam's obligatory goofy intro ("In this time of metal magic, we need rock and roll... we need... Pantera!"). It's actually a very good glam song, and has the merit of giving a good start to the album. However, the rest just completely fails. Whether it's the cheesy sexual innuendo of "Tell Me If You Want It," the boring "Rock Out" which just goes nowhere, or the make-you-barf sweetness of "Biggest Part of Me" (no, it's not a song about Terry Glaze's cock), this is just your average glam album, possibly slightly worse. And it truly pains me to say this about a Pantera album, seeing as it is my favorite band of all times.

Why a 60 then? Because it's still not Poison, in all fairness. There's some good stuff on this album. I think that, for example, Ride My Rocket (this one, I'd imagine, actually IS about Glaze's cock) and Widowmaker especially are very good songs that every fan of glam and / or Pantera should know. And anyone who loves glam and grew up with glam can't help but smile when listening to Latest Lover and Nothing On (But the Radio).

In conclusion: I keep this album around mainly out of loyalty to the band. Anyone who holds no such sentiments towards Pantera should go ahead and get the four better tracks mentioned above, and move on to the next albums, those of the 80s and, if you've been living in a hole for the past decade and a half, those that came after them too (and then you might get the reference in this last sentence, too!).

Yeah, This is Pretty Gay - 28%

DawnoftheShred, February 28th, 2007

Metal Magic. The debut album Pantera was too embarrassed to acknowledge. That fact, coupled with poor reviews, let me know exactly what I was getting into before I ever listened to this. And let me assure you, this album deserves all the shit that it gets. This is poor even for glam metal and has very few redeeming qualities.

The most initially disturbing aspect of this album is the sheer amount of cheesiness throughout. From the respective intros to "Ride my Rocket" and the title track, Terry Glaze's poorly over-the-top vocals, the consistently corny lyrics, and the presence of all kinds of 80's synth layerings, it's actually pretty painful to listen to (as the cover is painful to look at). The music itself is fairly weak as far as 80's pop metal is concerned. There's a few legitimate speed metal moments ("I'll Be Alright" is pretty much the only song worth hearing on here), but much of this is pure Kiss worship. There are actually some decent bass lines on here, as the bass plays a much more integral role than it does on Pantera's later groove albums, but everything else is pedestrian at best. The riffs are lame, the drums are standard, vocalist Terry Glaze sucks, and the lyrics are full of cheesy innuendo. A far cry from the personal struggles chronicled in groove-era Pantera, these are desperate anthems for getting laid. If you're into glam, you might be able to find appeal in some of the catchy vocal melodies and guitar lines, but even Poison and Whitesnake never sucked this hard.

Even Dimebag Darrell (then "Diamond" Darrell) fails to deliver here. Later in his career, his fantastic guitar solos made up for some of the shittier songs on Pantera albums, but here, his talent is still in its infancy. There are some cool leads, but most of them are just era-typical and far inferior to the work of the rising thrash metal bands at the time.

"So Metal Magic is sub-par glam. That's really not so bad." Agreed, except that the album's listenability is crippled by really, really shitty production. The guitar tone is thin and fuzzy, there's several equalizing errors, and there's too much emphasis put on the shitty synth effects when they roll around. No matter how cool somebody tries to tell you this album's title track is, just listen to the stupid echoing half-whispered chorus. Lame, lame, and fucking lame.

I can't recommend this to anyone with a straight conscience. If you want to check out Pantera's old albums, skip over this one and go right to Projects in the Jungle onward.

Cock Rock Magic - 33%

HangThePope, September 13th, 2006

Yeah, apparently odes to getting laid over rock n roll boogies was Dime & Co.'s idea of metal back in the early 80's. The vibe here is pretty much a complete flipside to the life's hardships angst on "Far Beyond Driven" and "The Great Southern Trendkill".

It's best comparable to a cheesy version of Poison with lyrics as crass as Spinal Tap's "Sex Farm"!! The majority of the stuff here isn't GOOD by ANY standards. Dimes playing is decent and the solos are ear catching but it's impossible to enjoy them with the "ooo baby" vocals, "lick my ice cream cone" lyrics and lame riffs. Really amateur glam, kind of like a demo Poison used to get signed by a company.

There is ONE exception however, the title track, which oddly enough is a pretty cool, SPEED METAL number. It starts off with hilarious "magic" synthesizer effects but then darts away with a good headbanging riff. Reminds me a lot of Exciter "Heavy Metal Maniac" which is a great comparison for any band.

For the rest, you'll need a strong stomach. From the self explanatory "Ride My Rocket", "Tell Me If You Want It" and "(She's got) Nothin on (but the radio)" to the "sincere" ballad "Biggest part of me" you'll be highly sickened and amused.

In reflection the albums only really worth is for seeing where the band came from and for the title track which is decent. You can't expect much from it because they were kids and it's glam, and glam is by definition = music for chicks...oh and the front cover is just DISTURBING.

Pretty much worthless - 42%

ihateyou, July 12th, 2006

So here we have Pantera's real debut, and it's nothing like the album they want you to think is the debut. This is basically generic hair metal or galm or whatever you want to call it. I actually tend to like this genre, but this is bad even for hair metal.

The songs on this album sound like a mix between early Motley Crue and every 80's new wave band. Actually everything about Metal Magic screams 80's. The vocals are whiny at times, screamy at times, and melodic at times. However they suck all of the time. The drums are pretty good and fit the music perfectly. That said this is nothing compared to what Vinne would eventually do on Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display Of Power, or even Power Metal. The bass can only be heard on one track, Nothin On(But The Radio). This might be the worst track on here, there is really nothing metal about this song. It sounds like Loverboy or something like that.

The only saving grace about Metal Magic is Diamond Darrel, as he was called. He shows on this album how much of a Eddie Van Halen master he is. The riffs are mostly garbage, generic hair metal stuff. The only riffs I really like are on the title track. Prue Judas Preist worship on this one and it's done very well. If the vocals didn't suck this would be an awsome song. Every solo found on this album is killer. Dime really was a great guitar player even if his songwriting ability was lacking at this point.

So if you like 80's hair metal you may like this. There are many other albums of the genre that are much better, but a big fan may like this. If you like Pantera and haven't heard any of the pre Cowboys From Hell albums listen to Metal Magic just to see where the band came from. I actually appreciated the later albums even more after hearing this.