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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Pantera - 1988 Power Metal
Pantera - 1988 Power Metal

ARTIST: Pantera
ALBUM: Power Metal
LABEL: Metal Magic
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Phil Anselmo - vocals * Diamond Darrell - guitar * Rex Rocker - bass * Vinnie Paul - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock The World * 02 Power Metal * 03 We'll Meet Again * 04 Over And Out * 05 Proud To Be Loud * 06 Down Below * 07 Death Trap * 08 Hard Ride * 09 Burnnn!! * 10 P.S.T 88

WEBLINKS: www.pantera.com

Nothing much in the ensuing years since Dimebag Darrell's senseless murder in 2004 has done much to ease the loss or memory of one of heavy metal's greatest guitarists, but the music left behind gives some hope in his absence. 'Power Metal' was a pivotal moment for Pantera, it saw Anselmo make his vocal debut but even two years before 'Cowboys From Hell' made them superstars there was little indication that Pantera would make the radical musical leap from traditional heavy metal to a more aggressive thrash based ethic. That's not to suggest 'Power Metal' isn't aggressive itself. Far from it. Like 'Projects In The Jungle' and 'I Am The Night' this is true heavy metal with gallop. The lyrics were still primitive party style, but essentially that's what makes metal enduring. It must again be stated that those fond of mocking Pantera prior to their image and musical change in the 90's are missing the point. This is superior metal.

The Songs
Think 1988 and what Iron Maiden, Saxon, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer were up to for example and 'Power Metal' honestly makes a joke of all of those acts. It's headbanging anthem after anthem with Darrell's riffing something to behold. Key point in particular the title track, noticeably the halfway section where 'Diamond' unleashes a barrage of riffs that quite simply astound even a seasoned listener like myself. It once and for all defines the art of heavy metal and makes Judas Priest circa 1988 absolutely shameful. There's not a poor track, even a remake of 1985's 'Down Below' betters the original and Anselmo initially was an emphatic improvement over Terrence Lee (Terry Glaze) when it came to the high pitched stakes. Keel's Marc Ferrari helped pen 'Proud To Be Loud', obviously very Keel flavoured. It takes nothing away from the energy Pantera's own 'Rock The World' or 'Over And Out', the latter which contains a blast beat or two. 'Hard Ride' and 'We'll Meet Again' shows Pantera had yet to fully shake their AOR leanings, impressive as always melodically, but followed by the uncontrolled riffing and energy of 'Burnn' shows where the bands minds were. Darrell contributes his first and last vocal with party rocker 'Pussy Tight', and once and for all Pantera had left behind the Def Leppard and Kiss influences and developed their own identity.

In Summary
This has never been easy to obtain, but deserves some kind of proper release. With Darrell's death surely someone would have thought it proper to expose the world at large to the earlier albums that still remain in limbo. 'Power Metal' is such a great testament to the spirit of heavy metal that it's nonsensical to let it gather dust. This is as important as any of Pantera's 90's output and honestly you'll find me listening to this before 'Vulgar Display Of Power'.

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Tags: Pantera 
#1 | gdazegod on June 14 2007 21:10:13
Agreed, this is excellent stuff. All of their Metal Magic releases from 1983 to 1988 are all worth getting. The thrash stuff from 1990 onwards I would steer clear of.
#2 | Jokerdean on January 09 2008 18:06:02
Great release here...much more melodic than the later stuff.
Stand Out Tracks for me are...Power Metal and Proud to Be Loud.
Dime's Riffing and Solo's are incredible..even Phil's Vox
are classy...a must have IMO...Thumbs Up
#3 | reyno-roxx on January 09 2008 22:05:28
I agree that these Metral Magic albums should be reissued, although all have been bootlegged on CD. 'Power Metal' was the only one of the four to gain an official release on CD. The vinyl version was more easily available.
I wouldn't say the stuff since 'Cowboys From Hell' are records to be avoided. 'Cowboys From Hell' is certainly worth more than a cursory glance. I still have the original mix of the album on a tape I got from Vinnie before they signed to Atlantic. As well as the mix the running order is different from the eventual release.
#4 | jeffduran on July 08 2008 19:37:11
Agree should have a re-release! I love to break this stuff out for hard core Pantera rivitheads. These close minded brutes are about as accepting of this as Micheal Richards performing at the Apollo. score 8
#5 | sabace on July 22 2009 13:40:45
the review is spot on! a really great record! dimebags guitar is sensational!
#6 | dangerzone on April 10 2013 04:07:32
It's truly hard to believe that 'Far Beyond Driven' debuted at number one back in 1994. Surely there's never been a heavier album in that spot to this day. What a great band Pantera were.
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