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Regression in aggression - 57%

The_Emo_Hater, October 16th, 2009

Sad beans it is, that Pantera had to end on a really disappointing note, especially considering their last output, the godly Trendkill. Sadder still, that Phil and the rest of the boys couldn't get it together for one more and had to end the band on the note that it did. And, probably the saddest of all, was the horror that was Damageplan and the tragic event that transpired. Yup, if Pantera was still a band, Dimebag would still be alive, Down would still just be a side project, Dammitplan would never have existed, and Pantera would probably be playing possibly some death/thrash hybrid. Hey, I can dream right? I can't? Oh bah.

Enough with the bellyaching, on to "Reinventing the Steel". If you're hoping for "Trendkill Pt II", you'll be disappointed. If you're hoping for more songs in the vein of "Walk", then you should consider a career around downed power lines and slippery wet surfaces. Yeah, it bears little resemblance to the previous offering and shares more in common with "Far Beyond Driven" minus all the lame-ass groove. Mind you, the groove is still here, just not facefucking you nonstop ("Vulgar"),as much as it is punching you in the shoulder every 30 seconds to one minute. The riffs....not many of them stick out and dickslap you like the ones from "Cowboys From Hell" did, and a good number of them are boring and generic groove based riffs. The drumming is actually not bad, Vinnie gives a good if unspectacular performance. Rex's bass is clear as always, though nothing eye-popping is on display, he's there and audible. As for the vocals....well Phil's vocals seem to be love it or hate it for the vast majority. Personally, I have no problem with them, though I do miss his higher pitched singing a la "Shattered" but that hasn't been seen in years so no surprise that there is no highs to be found. He just sticks with what he's done since "Far Beyond Driven", that being his lower growls.

The songwriting is also weaker than Trendkill. No surprises like "Suicide Note Part 1" to change the flow. Aye, most of the songs are midpaced and adhere to the "verse, chorus" structure whilst clocking in between three to five minutes in length. But not all the tracks on hand are losers. Opener "Hellbound" contains an explosive (by this album's standard) chorus and the bridge near the end isn't too bad. It's also the shortest track. "Revolution is my Name", to my ears, is not bad for being a single, certainly it's assfuckloads better than the other singles released for radio back in 2000 (i.e. Limp Dicklick, StinkinPark) and for that, it's win, besides the intro riff, which I never cared for. "Death Rattle" is probably the fastest song on the album, and the only one that could have fit on "Trendkill". The solo is almost pure noise but it fits the song well so no complaints. "We'll Grind That Axe For a Long Time" is filled with groove but I can go without skipping it most of the time. Don't know why, but it sorta kinda works. Finally, "Uplift" has a fun chorus riff and some nice drumming. The rest of the songs aren't horrible piles of banal groovefuck like a certain song of Pantera's that happens to rhyme with "cock", but they're nothing special either. The only one I tend to skip over alot is the closing "I'll Cast a Shadow". It just never clicked with me.

All told, Pantera's last studio output would prove to be a disappointing end to one of metal's most well known bands. Aye, it's best to just put this on and pretend that Damageplan and HellYeah never existed. If you're unsure whether to buy or not, download "Revolution" and if you dig that, chances are you shouldn't have too many complaints with this.