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A Vulgar Disappointment of Pantera - 71%

Wez, February 2nd, 2005

They kind of lost me a little on this one, as it certainly doesn't hold up to the previous album. Pantera tends to fit a greater amount of groove into the thrash framework of the Cowboys from Hell formula on most songs, sometimes bringing that up to the forefront. The album is very reminiscent of the last disc, with Phil Anselmo's vocals a step up in roughness and coming in with more low-end bellows than higher pitched screeches. Any traces of their pre-Cowboys from Hell sound are now just about erased. If taken a few songs at a time, there are some very good moments on here which rank up with some of those on Cowboys. But as a whole the album becomes redundant in places, with a lack of new ideas to push it onward being the main problem. The band stops trying and stays where they are, but still manage to keep their heads above the water.

It starts off very promisingly. Mouth for War and A New Level end up not unlike some of the faster tracks from the last album only substituting the relentless thrashing with a firm grooved up base which keep the songs dynamic. It still packs the punch, but in a different way. Fucking Hostile is your token fast thrasher which cannot help but be headbanged to. It’s one of those familiar areas they can’t really mess up. This Love and Hollow work in dark acoustics and function as counterparts to The Sleep and Cemetery Gates coming out with similarly cohesive results.

Ugh, Walk has to constitute the scarcest arrangements and minimal substance which drags on and on following its dull main groove. Take your pick of what is now left, and you’ll find songs varying from above average replicas of the first two tracks (Rise, No Good (Attack The Radical)) or those coming off a little hollow and lazy (Live In A Hole, Regular People (Conceit), By Demons Be Driven). I honestly didn’t expect this to be as disappointing as it invariably turned out to be. It’s not their worst album at all, and for those few very good moments it comes recommended though turn your attention elsewhere for something truly worthwhile.