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N.W.A. discovers Prong - 0%

bitterman, October 6th, 2013

Everything that ruined metal is documented in this one album. This album paints a picture of AC/DC shirt wearing pickup truck drivers heading to the meth house after swigging too much malt liquor while watching a marathon of Maury and Dog the Bounty Hunter. It's this single piece of drunken bafoonery that sapped all the creativity out of metal by showing people that they too can make money by playing groove based rock with faux-aggressive vocals and throwing pot leaf designs on t-shirts. It is the prototype for Korn.

Lyrically, everything that's wrong about metal now is found here. Phil Anselmo in all his heroin addled wisdom thought that, instead of coming up with something interesting to talk about, the mundane themes about the "tough street life" would resonate more with the hip-hop culture of mainstream America and, unfortunately, he was right. This was one of the key elements that were needed to allow angry suburban youth and meth head trailer park dwellers to relate with the stupidity of Pantera. All of these things are best exemplified in the after school special-isms of Walk and the cheap emotional appeals of This Love and Hollow. The f-bomb abuse suggests not a lot of time was spent on them, and feels more like something the Wu-Tang Clan would have come up with. The change to a more "urban" appearance in promo pics suggest about as much. These lyrics would make bands in the future reduce themselves to writing about mundane topics (the hood, street life) and shouting a bunch of disdainful words that mean nothing. It's just vague anger to "get people through a bad day", like the hip-hop or radio rock songs of the day.

This is barely metal aside from some guitar playing techniques. Pantera is really just groove based rock in how the focus is placed on sparse 2 note rhythm riffs being played for a "swaggering" hip-hop derived feel that will allow suburban kids to "get down with it". It is an urbanized version of banging on rocks in a wasteland. By removing all the intellectual aspects out of metal and dumbing it all down to a series of chugga chugga noises and hillbilly solos, Pantera remove any melody that could be found in Prong's groove riffs, further lowering the role of the guitar into being a percussive instrument to allow for Anselmo's bird squawking noises ("vocals") to take the forefront. Contrary to Anselmo's "I Hate Alternative Music" shirt he would often sport at this time, the grunge-isms in the verse of lead single "This Love" suggest an attempt to also appeal to the whine rock scene of the day since it was the most marketable guitar oriented music they could dress up as metal at that time.

When the home videos are more memorable for the jokes than the music, you know this band wasn't good. Unfortunately, jokes and some pot leaf design t-shirts were all it took to sell this "cool" album about "real street topics" to the impressionable morons of the day. The birthplace for Limp Bizkit rests in this album.