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Its just bad. - 25%

McTague97, January 4th, 2015

This is probably as bad as Pantera would have ever become had it not been their last album. The most unfortunate part is how Ill fated it was, everything that made them good or even tolerable is lost. Skill wise, writing wise and as far as how it blends together, it is just bad on all sides.

I honestly don't get how this band gets the praise that they do. They say this band saved metal in the early 90s but ignored oh... I don't know... Sepultura, Slayer, Megadeth, Dio, the blossoming death metal scene etc. who were all pumping out well received albums at that point as well. Fast forward to the release of this album. Dio is still pushing his hardest to keep the scene going, Megadeth returns to their thrash roots, death metal and black metal have both reached the global market, Iron Maiden welcomes back Bruce Dickinson. Point being made that Pantera are nowhere near the saviors of metal that their fans claim they are. While were talking about saving metal, isn't this the same band that inspired groove metal, nu-metal and metalcore, some of the most hated subgenres you'll find.

What else doesn't live up to its hype? Dimebag Darrel and his playing. He's always had a style that relied on repetitive rhythmics and screeches but he really out does himself here. All that progress made on the last two albums is gone. These are some of the worst riffs he would ever write. They aren't melodic by any means, no technicality at all, overly repetitious, and not catchy in any way (plus there are a couple one fret riffs to be found here as well). Besides being present and being heavy they don't really do much. They might drive the songs forward, but even that seems like a stretch. What could have caused this, band issues, laziness, freshly out of ideas? Whatever it was Dimebag just didn't provide much passable work here; it is beyond boring, it is straight up bad. How about his screeches? Yeah, he relies on those very heavily now but unfortunately screeching is never solid enough to save a performance, add to this that some of these are just terribly placed and the guitar work just winds up as a total mess. Some how despite this all he still has some good solos up his sleeves (Yesterday Don't Mean Sh*t).

It would seem smoking and screaming have now caught up with Phil. His range has gone down the toilet and the general sound of his voice has become unpleasant. Once again he tries to pin you down with that tough guy attitude but even this seems to push the boundaries of his new range. His screams have become a high point but these also aren't as great as they once were. Plus it's overly vulgar, this kind of language is nothing new to Pantera, but good lord, take out all the swearing and you come to find out most of the lyrics seriously lack depth and thought of any type, even the overly manly themes seem poetic and legendary in comparison.

The rhythm department also seems to be running out of ideas, all the drumming is either stuff I swear I've heard on previous records or it is an all speed (with nothing) else attempt to pound his way into the spotlight. The best part about the bass before was that it was always perfectly matched with the guitar (had this still been the case it would have helped both performances) but alas no more. He comes here to round out the sound and awkwardly try to work his way in with the rest of them, he accomplishes this just barely and often slips up. In fact the tight coordinated and well put together group known as Pantera has fallen into full disarray, they had great chemistry and worked with each other perfectly at one point. Now they sound so amateurish in how they try to come together.