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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Pantera - 1983 Metal Magic
 
Pantera - 1983 Metal Magic



ARTIST: Pantera
ALBUM: Metal Magic
LABEL: Metal Magic
SERIAL: MMR 1283
YEAR: 1983

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Terry Glaze - vocals * Diamond Darrell - guitar * Rex Rocker - bass * Vinnie Paul - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ride My Rocket * 02 I'll Be Alright * 03 Tell Me If You Want It * 04 Latest Lover * 05 Biggest Part Of Me * 06 Metal Magic * 07 Widow Maker * 08 Nothin' On (But the Radio) * 09 Sad Lover * 10 Rock Out

WEBLINKS: www.pantera.com


Background
There's little doubt that 1983 was a pivotal year for heavy metal, with debuts from Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax helping shape the rest of the decade, all being highly influential. Often lost in the shuffle is Pantera's debut, which was far more obscure, but equally as classic. We've covered Pantera's other 80's albums extensively here, but it would be a disservice to 'Metal Magic' to exclude it, the album a stunning concoction of AOR and metal which would only improve with subsequent releases. The bands origins have been well discussed over the years, so it seems superfluous to reenact them here fully. This lineup was the culmination of several versions, with Darrell being only 17 at the time, having spent a summer perfecting his craft in his bedroom according to Rex Brown years later. The Arlington based band received huge assistance from Jerry Abbott, Darrell and Rex's father, a country songwriter in his own right and producer of the debut. Everything about the album is classic, from the songs to the cover, indicating the rare talent on offer.


The Songs
'Ride My Rocket' opens their manifesto superbly, the opening riff a blatant hack of Kiss' 'Detroit Rock City' and conjuring up a surging melodic hook and sense of overall energy. It's no secret Pantera were Kiss fanatics and for my money this rivals anything off 'Lick It Up.' Continuing the onslaught is 'I'll Be Alright' which is pure metal and those accusations of Pantera being 'glam' are nullified by this track, this having more impact for me than the majority of those other three debuts mentioned above. The first real signs of AOR appear with 'Tell Me If You Want It' with swirling keyboards standing out from the onset. This one's clearly from the Def Leppard 'High N' Dry' handbook and equally as melodic, with the production obviously not up to par by comparison. 'Latest Lover' is quality hard rock, another memorable chorus to the forefront, the vocals from Glaze quite excellent, perfectly suiting this direction. Rampant synths open the ballad 'Biggest Part Of Me' which is AOR on a huge scale and simply astounding for a bunch of teenagers. The title track reverts back to heavy metal, galloping along at speed, Darrell tearing it up with a display of virtuosity belying his age. The intensity easily usurps many a metal act for 1983, especially the NWOBHM rejects like Jaguar, Savage, Tygers Of Pan Tang etc who can't hold a candle to this.

'Widowmaker' is another solid blast of metal, at odds with the restrained 'Nothin' On (But the Radio)' and its processed drum opening. It's still effective, once again influenced by Def Leppard, especially the commercial hook, certainly fodder for FM radio in 1983, even if going unnoticed. There's a touch of Loverboy about 'Sad Lover' only this is far heavier than Canada's finest, with some almost Iron Maiden like guitar harmonies buried in the mix. Nothing is held back on 'Rock Out' which begins somewhat in a Kiss haze before developing into a speed-laden show of brute force. Darrell stars once more, his soloing setting Pantera apart right from the beginning.


In Summary
One of the all-time great debuts for my money and one that sometimes is unfairly overlooked because of the style of music the band was perceived to be playing back then. It still annoys me when people dismiss this era of Pantera as being 'glam' with the assumption the music was throwaway and soft. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were a metal band from the start, just a highly melodic one who were able to turn their hand to AOR with deft accuracy. The album is titled 'Metal Magic' after all. It bemuses me why Vinnie Paul still prefers this left unreleased on an official label, at this point in his life who really cares? Life's too short surely and it would be another fitting tribute to Darrell's lasting legacy.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Pantera 
 
Comments
#1 | rkbluez on December 01 2015 21:05:44
DZ you are right...fact is Darrel's playing on the first 3 Pantera albums was every bit as good as anyone's back then...and with Projects In The Jungle and I Am The Night they improved on Metal Magic.

All three of these classic albums should get a release...don't know what Vinnie's problem is with these albums...he played on all of these and a lot of people really like them and hold them in high regard.

These were better IMO than a lot of the major labels band stuff that was getting released back then.
#2 | Nick C on December 02 2015 00:16:53
Yeah I had all the albums up to Power Metal ... but kinda went off them. I hate it when bands pander to fashion and in my eyes that was what Pantera were doing going with the thrasher type thing and abandoning their earlier roots. I was so pee'd off I sold them. Ah I was a wally!
#3 | rkbluez on December 02 2015 01:15:44
Same here Nick I guess they thought they had to protect their angry alt/metal image...God forbid if any of their new fans from Cowboys From Hell on ever heard their more melodic hard rockin' stuff which in my opinion especially on Projects...and I Am The Night was brilliant.

Me myself I wasn't a fan of anything after Power Metal...and never bought a Pantera CD after I was disappointed with the direction they took on Cowboys From Hell.
#4 | jeffrey343 on December 04 2015 15:44:28
I gotta say I never got into these guys - didn't really hear from them before Cowboys From Hell, which was a bit much for me. I need to see if I can get into their earlier stuff. It's not as easy to find, though.

I live in the Dallas area, and these guys are from one of the large satellite cities (Arlington). Therefore, they have always gotten a lot of attention in the local media. In fact, just two weeks ago, the Dallas newspaper had a huge front-page article about their legacy. Here is the link if you're interested, although I'm not sure whether it is behind their subscription firewall.

http://interactives.dallasnews.com/2015/pantera/
 
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