Released: 2005, Victory Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
This band recorded one previous album for Victory. Wait…actually, they didn’t. That was an altogether different group. They were Metalcore, and only two of the five musicians who recorded that album have returned for this. This is a Metal album. This new CD has literally nothing to do with that album, that sound, or anything else the old APM might once have stood for.
I’m good with this.
It took a lot of balls to release this record. I just cannot convey the infernal glee I get thinking about all the spikey-haired mallpunks, who will see the Victory logo, pick this up expecting Atreyu…only to get a Pantera tribute, complete with fast, chugging rhythms and (holy shit!) guitar solos. I almost wish I could be there, watching it all go down: One kid has a Snowdogs T-shirt. His friend has a wallet chain, and those thick Buddy Holly rectangulars. They’ve just left the food court. They’re in the Mom Car, and Friend #1 opens his Hot Topic sack…it smells like a Goth chick’s armpit. He puts in the CD…the title track blares through, its Vinnie Paul-style drumming, Dimebag-like riffing, clean, melodic solos and utter lack of melody confuses him…holy mother of titty-fucking Krishna—this sounds like that shit those rednecky Metal kids are always playing.
But to the point:
You are NOT going to enjoy this until you get one thing through your head: this does not even attempt originality…nope, not even a bit. Imagine what would have happened if Pantera had reformed without Dimebag. It would sound, basically, like this. The vocals are particularly derivative. And you know what? I fucking dig it. This is two steps from a tribute act. But again, I implore: deal with it. Pantera isn’t reforming. This is as close as you’re ever going to get. Accept it for what it is…and enjoy it—you know, like Nirvana fans do with Bush.
The production is sweet. Parts of this disc actually sound better—production-wise—than GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL did. And it’s SHITLOADS better than Superjoint Ritual. I think I can assert that fairly easily, also. The musicianship is excellent: even if you hate all that this stands for, you can’t really fault it. The stop-on-a-dime beats and rhythms are the best I’ve heard in months.
“Snake Eyes” and “Black Hate Machine” are easily standouts.The attempt at a clean-vocal yelp on “Wake Up And Die” fails miserably. Let it go, man. Otherwise, the drumming is excellent on this track, and the build-up is great. (“Rotten I” fairs a bit better on this, but still…) The galloping rhythm of “Path of Resistance” is straight out of the True Metal songbook. How any Metal fan worth his codpiece could hate this is beyond me. “Body & Blood” has a colossal groove, and the best Phil Anselmo impersonation on the disc.
Pantera fans will either be thrilled or irritated. I say enjoy it for what it is—decent music, in a style we will never again hear from its originators.