Pantera - Reinventing The Steel (Vinyl)

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Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas, formed in 1981. The group's best-known lineup consisted of the Abbott brothers (drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell), along with vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown. In addition to their development and popularization of the groove metal subgenre, Pantera is credited (along with others, such as Testament, Sepultura and Machine Head) for being part of the second wave of thrash metal scene from the late 1980s to early-to-mid 1990s. Pantera is regarded as one of the most successful and influential bands in heavy metal history, having sold around 40 million records worldwide, and being nominated four times at the Grammys. 

Pantera's 9th and final studio album turned 20 last year (2020).  Reinventing the Steel contains lyrics mostly about the band itself, as on "We'll Grind that Axe for a Long Time" (where the band members tell about how they have kept it "true" throughout the years, while many of their peers "sucked up for the fame") and "I'll Cast a Shadow" (about Pantera's influence on the genre). There are also songs about their fans, like "Goddamn Electric" and "You've Got to Belong to It". "Goddamn Electric" mentions Black Sabbath and Slayer, two of Pantera's main influences. The band members dedicated Reinventing the Steel to their fans who they viewed as their "brothers and sisters".


"Reinventing the Steel" is the 9th full-length studio album by US groove/thrash metal act Pantera. The album was released through East West Records in March 2000. It would be the last studio album by Pantera as disagrements between lead vocalist Phil Anselmo and guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul led to the band breaking up in 2003. There were at the time several rumours of a reunion but those were effectively stopped when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed onstage in December 2004 while performing with his brother and their new act Damageplan. The disagreements had started much earlier though and things hadn´t been well in the Pantera camp for a while. Most sources say they started as early as 1995 when Anselmo´s heroin habit took form. But while the vocalist and the rest of the band had recorded their parts at different locations when recording "The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)", they recorded "Reinventing the Steel" together.

After releasing what is arguably their most "experimental" album in "The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)", the band have returned to a more groove oriented and accessible style on "Reinventing the Steel". Dimebag Darrell still utilize odd ideas in his playing such as the use of pitchshifter, but ultimately "Reinventing the Steel" is a groove based metal album that´ll make your head bang hard and your body move in spastic jerks. Every track on the album features quality groovy riffs, rythmic drumming (at times rather complex) and Phil Anselmo´s raw yet melodic vocals. The clear and powerful sound production is perfect for the band´s music and helps further emphasise what a well playing band Pantera were. Tracks like "Hellbound", "Death Rattle" and "You´ve got to Belong to It" are sharp and beyond aggressive, but the band also excel in great memorable melodies which are heard in tracks like "Goddamn Electric", "Yesterday Don´t Mean Shit" and "Revolution is My Name".

Upon release I remember I wasn´t too fond of "Reinventing the Steel" and I´ll admit I haven´t listened much to the album over the years. It was like it just never really clicked with me. Fortunately some albums grow on you given the right amount of time, and after listening to "Reinventing the Steel" before writing this review, it struck me how great this album actually is. It´s not Pantera´s most groundbreaking or adventurous release, but it packs a ton of punch and combines that with memorable songwriting to great effect. The quality does drop towards the end of the album and tracks like "It Makes Them Disappear" and "I'll Cast a Shadow" last too long, lack memorable hooks and are just generally below the usual standard of the band, but still a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.


A1 Hellbound
A2 Goddamn Electric
A3 Yesterday Don't Mean Shit
A4 You've Got To Belong To It
A5 Revolution Is My Name
B1 Death Rattle
B2 We'll Grind That Axe For A Long Time
B3 Uplift
B4 It Makes Them Disappear
B5 I'll Cast A Shadow

Recorded in DWG, TX at Chasin Jason Studios.
Mastered at Masterdisk

Rhino Records 8122-79743-2