Is there any small fiber of the rich Pantera tapestry that has not yet been examined? Everybody from the dolts at Rolling Stone
to idiot metal savants Beavis and Butt-head
have weighed in on the Pantera issue, and it's always the same assessment: Pantera plays big, dumb, gloriously loud heavy metal -- guitar, bass, drums and growly vocals.For those who've enjoyed a Pantera album in the past, their new one, Reinventing the Steel
, is more of the Pantera we all know and love. The last change made in the Pantera formula came when Dimebag, Vinnie and Rex booted original flashy/trashy vocalist Terry Lee Glaze in favor of surly/burly vocalist Phil Anselmo, and the world has been a better place for it -- seriously. Pantera may not stretch too much musically, but so what? Metallica have been stretching on their past four or five albums; is anyone other than their accountant happy about that? What makes for better metal, a goddamned philharmonic orchestra or a raging Phil Anselmo? See, consistency is a good thing.
Anyway, just when you thought you knew everything about Pantera, hidden away in the guts of their press kit is a fascinating tidbit that should make Pantera fans a little queasy: It turns out Phil is quite the fan of ... (sotto voce) the Smiths! Yeah, it's freaky, isn't it? Phil Anselmo, Les Aaron and a certain RFT music writer, all fans of the Morrissey/Marr songbook. Do you think sometimes when Pantera play their song "Cemetery Gates," Phil wants to bust out the lyrics to the Smith's "Cemetry Gates?" It would be pretty funny to hear Phil snarl, "Ere thrice the sun hath done salutation to the dawn" instead of "This love would end in rage/and when she died/I couldn't cry," but it would also be a huge sellout. The world doesn't need another Metallica.