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I sometimes wonder if this is even live. - 50%

metalkyle9000, May 23rd, 2008

This is the live album that Pantera endorses. The reason I wonder if it is actually live is, 1. Pantera, at no point, gives the location, of where (or when) they are playing, and 2. There are actually two different shows being played on the same disk, but I'll delve into that later.

The song list consists of songs from Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven. Notice, no Power Metal, or anything else from their early years, in fact, the album booklet (actually a poster) doesn't even mention the albums. Nothing special about the songs here, as most of them sound like the studio versions. However, because it is a live album, they are not quite as flat (namely Walk), but that's expected when something is live.

Sadly, there is not enough variation of the live versions from their studio counterparts. The songs that are differnent are Walk, where the crowd finds out they are being filmed. The only real high point (in the live portion) of the album is Domination/Hollow, where Domination is cut down to the minute long base solo at the end.

Then we get into the two show deal. At the beginning of "I'm Broken", Phil says it's the last song of the night. Well, for that show, it is. However, after it fades away, a completely different show comes in and begins Cowboys From Hell. NOT a good move in my book. If you are trying to make a live album, don't make it look like you just slopped some shit together, put pictures of yourself perfoming, and then try and call it live.

Most of the other variations are just verbal rants by Phil, bragging about FBD becoming number one, and how the 'experts' don't like heavy music. Also, at the end of Cemetery Gates, it takes a full 90 seconds to try to convince their mostly angsty teen/redneck fanbase to play Fuckin' Hostile.

The album also contains two bonus songs. The first one, Where You Come From, is alright, but not memorable. Plus it tends to drag on at just over five minutes. The second song, I Can't Hide, is actually fairly good, and gives the album fairly redeemable qualities. It's a mid-fast paced tempo thrash song with bass piece in the last 20 seconds of the song. By no means is it a masterpiece, but considering some of the other stuff on here, it's pretty good.

All in all, not a good album, but considering that Vinnie and Dimebag were probably three sheets to the wind on Blacktooth Grin when producing this, it's not a bad introduction to Pantera. If you are new to metal or Pantera, or if you are one of those angsty teen/redneck fanboys I talked of earlier, get it. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.