Out There

Pantera

Reinventing the Steel
Elektra Records
These boys are celebrating the release of Album Number Five with a party at The Clubhouse, the, local, ah, gentleman's club owned by Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell; nothing says metal like a nudie-bar throwdown. Just don't expect the ladies to actually dance to anything off Reinventing the Wheel -- there may be an actual note or two somewhere on here, but the only time it gets close to melody is when she holds the disc between her tits and calls it "Daddy." Then, you don't title a song "We'll Grind That Axe for a Long Time" and pretend it's about being restrained -- though after all this time, I still wonder why they haven't replaced frontman Phil Anselmo with a barking, rabid dog (what the fuck is he saying, and why is he so angry?) and done away with the spaces between the "songs" altogether. Why ruin the noise with a few seconds of silence? It's like taking a smoke break between positions.

I don't expect much from a band whose thank-you list includes shout-outs to "Crown Royal, Seagrams 7, Wild Turkey, Coors Light...free weed from fans, casinos and titty bars" -- clearly, this isn't a band too concerned with the good stuff (Wild Turkey? Coors Light?). And obviously, sober's the wrong way to approach this aggro throwdown; Reinventing the Steel sounds like a hangover from drinking too much of that cheap-ass shit (they can afford better). All that pounding, all that grinding, all that squealing and squawking -- you know, all that "decadent" shit the gearheads go for now that Metallica's gone all pussy (sorry, "country"). Song titles: "Hellbound," "Goddamn Electric," "Death Rattle," "Yesterday Don't Mean Shit." Docked for not including Dallas Stars fight song.

If I were 15 or deaf, I might go for it too, but I like my tension with a little release -- and a little knowing humor, aside from the publicity still. Anselmo takes himself so seriously, he's damned near a politician, spouting self-help aphorisms to the mentally challenged yeehaws out there who think he's, like, smart. See: "Welcome to the death of a century, yeeeeeeeaaaaaaauuuuuhhhhhh...Yesterday don't mean shit, because tomorrow's the day you gotta face." See: "Smoke your head straight," or something like it (too hard to tell without the lyrics sheet, and there ain't enough time in the world to spend deciphering his gravel-pit growl). See: "I can't help the way I am." See: anything else you can pick out of the sludge pit without getting too dirty, though that is the point. There must be one, because otherwise, I swear to God these riffs came right off a Monsters of Metal compilation one of my longhaired pals gave me the night he turned 17. Other than that, hey, it fucking rocks. image

Robert Wilonsky

 
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