Overlooked? Bypassed? Forgotten? Not words I’d assign to Pantera’s
What works in this album’s favor is Pantera’s willingness to mix things up again, to go acoustic and mellow more often. That doesn’t stop them from getting all out aggro though, the opening titular cut as vicious an assault of thrash as any metal committed to disc - mid-track, they get back to the groove jam with a kick-ass Dimebag solo that’s oh-so delicious. There’s nary a weak cut following it either, tunes capably mixing between funky rhythmic rock (Drag The Waters), sludgy blues odes (10’s), and heavy thrash stompers (13 Steps To Nowhere). I’m also surprised that Anselmo did his recordings in a totally different studio than the rest of Pantera, because he sounds just as locked in as ever. No matter his issues outside music, guy could still deliver when called upon.
Things get quite interesting in the second half, where Pantera show some new tricks in the crafting of an album. Suicide Note is presented in two parts, the first an acoustic country-blues ballad which was sure to throw fans of Vulgar Display Of Power quite for a loop. As Part 1 ends on something of a cinematic note, Part 2 erupts with as much ferocity as Pantera has ever shown. Definitely among the best one-two punches in Pantera history.
Great Southern Trendkill mostly ends on a run of thrash, with a detour to the epic metal of Floods, something of a return in tone to Cemetery Gates. It has the acoustic passages, groove metal portions, and a lovely solo at the end that fades out into the heavy monster riffs of The Underground Of America. Floods is a good tune, but it seems Anselmo had to try his voice at the ‘grunge warble’, sounding off to my ears. Stick to the southern drawl, yo’.
Still, Great Southern Trendkill ends Pantera’s ‘90s run strong, an emphatic exclamation mark. Tragic so much of their story fell apart after.
Drag The Waters
13 Steps To Nowhere