Reinventing the Steel

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Hellbound
02. Goddamn Electric
03. Yesterday Don't Mean Shit
04. You've Got to Belong to It
05. Revolution Is My Name
06. Death Rattle
07. We'll Grind That Axe For A Long Time
08. Uplift
09. It Makes Them Disappear
10. I'll Cast A Shadow

Unsurprisingly, there is very little "reinventing" going on here—PANTERA are content to happily regurgitate every single good idea they've had since their much-acclaimed Vulgar Display of Power release (arguably their finest effort to date),and to their credit, they do it extremely well. On the first couple of listens, much of this come across as just a generic copy of the group's past recordings, from the production to the actual musical ideas, but deeper probing uncovers a slew of subtle hooks—notably from vocalist Phillip Anselmo—that we haven't heard from this group in years. In particular, "Goddamn Electric" (featuring a typically tuneless guest lead appearance from SLAYER's Kerry King),"Yesterday Don't Mean Shit" and "Revolution Is My Name" stand out as the album's finest cuts, each staying very much true to the PANTERA sound while offering just enough new elements to shrug off the ever-looming "rehash" tag that has plagued the band for much of their career as a major label recording act.


In this day and age when all the big hard music releases are either rap/metal hybrids (ala LIMP BIZKIT) or post-KORN, eclectic mixtures of styles (i.e. SLIPKNOT, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, STATIC-X),it is utterly refreshing to hear an album that is as unwaveringly "metal" as Reinventing… undoubtedly is. While it would certainly be nice to hear the band take a chance or two from time to time, the size and the undeniable loyalty of the group's fan base (the band's last studio offering, The Great Southern Trendkill shifted around 700,000 copies to date and the new one moved just over 500,000 as of late February, according to Soundscan) has made if difficult for the band to deliver anything but exactly what's expected of them. And frankly, who could possibly blame them?

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