Retrospective: Pantera "The Great Southern Trendkill" Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Mon, 30 Jul 2012 15:21:49
Pantera certainly changed heavy music forever with Vulgar Display of Power.
Then, they made history by dropping the heaviest record to ever debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200 with Far Beyond Driven. However, The Great Southern Trendkill saw them reach heights (or depths) of darkness and heaviness that no metal band has matched since. With the record's recent vinyl release last week, we thought it was important to take a look back on this genre landmark…
Trendkill stands out as the group's most undeniably epic and bludgeoning collection. From Philip Anselmo's blood-curdling scream at the beginning of the title track, one thing was clear—Pantera weren't fucking around in the slightest. Trendkill embodies rage, disillusionment, addiction, and despair better than any other heavy album in history. That's a fact.
The title track boasts the classic Anselmo line, "If I was God, you'd sell your soul", and it also wields a bluesy Southern breakdown from Dimebag Darrell that devolves into full-on face-melting shredding. "War Nerve" commences with the send-off "Fuck the world for all it's worth every inch of planet earth" as Rex Brown's bass reverberates violently and Vinnie Paul pummels behind the kit at light speed. Paul anchors the "single" "Drag the Waters" with an intense groove as Anselmo relays a story that begs to be expounded upon in book or film form.
Then there's "10s", which remains a Pantera classic. Dimebag glides through a brutally psychedelic haze as the vocalist bares his soul over some of his most vivid and vibrant Pantera lyrics. The visuals of "the whoring angel rising" feel joyfully apocalyptic, especially as Dimebag rips a lead. Now, let's not forget the eerie calm of "Suicide Note Pt. I", with acoustic guitar and hauntingly gorgeous melodies, just before the band's inimitable, impressive, and incisive death wish on "Suicide Note Pt. II". The schizophrenic hushed bridge of "Living Through Me (Hells' Wrath)" crashes right into a ballsy, blistering chug from Dimebag's guitar.
"Floods" is Pantera's answer to "Stairway to Heaven" draped in the "pentagram" and a dystopian vision of the world with a prayer to "wash away us all". Dimebag's lead simply slays, but it's that faint outro with the rainfall that proves truly tear-jerking. It's a soft, somber moment illuminating what a legend he was.
"The Underground in America" re-affirms the band's status as leaders of the realm below the mainstream, while "(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin" redefines abrasive with its violently visceral fuck-you to everyone.
The Great Southern Trendkill's declaration of independence is as crucial now as ever. Pantera never retreated or bowed down. Their assault was ceaselessly relentless. They grew with each subsequent release, and this is a smoldering proof. It's a record that the band's legions need to take a closer look at because it's as much of a classic as Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven.
Listening to the new Down material, EP One — The Purple EP, that heaviness and lyrical heft still shine from Anselmo's heart.
Meanwhile, Vinnie Paul still blasts through those high octane beats in Hellyeah.
Trendkill opened doors that stayed open for the world to follow. Metal got heavier after Pantera did, and it started here…
What's your favorite song from The Great Southern Trendkill?