Music » Critics' Picks

A Life Once Lost

Friday, December 9; Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)

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Pantera was once the world's loudest boogie-blues band, unleashing monstrous Southern-fried grooves like Lynyrd Skynyrd's vengeful ghosts. Like a punk-informed version of its vulgarly powerful predecessors, A Life Once Lost bolsters chunky, stars-and-bars guitars with volume and velocity. "Rehashed," the opening track on ALOL's recent release, Hunter, is a cacophonous quilt of stitched-together riffs, but each element could be compelling if isolated. Singer Robert Meadows screams lines such as "My innards are freezing inherently, like winter rain" with manic urgency, making them seem perfectly plausible. The double-bass drumbeats ensure tight transitions, and the dual guitars march lockstep without rote breakdown chugging. It's best to appreciate this impressive short-attention-span songwriting while playing the album, because live it all melds into an intense, undulating procession of jagged fragments.

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