Pantera is a guilty pleasure for me. A band I liked a teenager, at the time when Far Beyond Driven came out my tastes went in another direction, then I got back on board for the first Down album and Great Southern Trendkill, falling off again for other Down albums and the thing with Hank the 3rd, so I’m not co-signing every thing he does.
The opener sounds like cruder version of some of the more hardcore influenced moments on Far Beyond Driven, with much less dynamic guitar playing. He’s got good taste in music but this sounds more like he is reaching into the Pantera years than his other solo works. Perhaps because this is more of a solo effort than his other side projects. The second song “Battalion of Zero” has a little more to it in terms of song writing though in it’s attempt at density it loses all dynamic sense. But is is heavy and if that is all you need to make yourself happy you might be in luck.
The gritty conspiracy theory rant of ” Betrayed” comes in and kicks the door open to show bands like Nails, how it’s done. The syncopation is pretty sick and while it’s one dimensional, it excels at what it does. “Usurper Bastard’s Rant” goes into some very Pantera like chugging, fans of meat and potatoes metal bands like Lamb of God will be pleased. I would say overall this is more sludge influence hardcore than any thing like thrash, the tempos when they build are denser than thrash. The vocals are the most produced thing on this album and the guitars are left dirtier than would you would have found coming from Dimebag.
The title track blasts ahead in a more furious manner than the album has seen so far, not black metal but heavier than the songs that came before it , its about how people have ruined music , not just him, he admittedly yells. Most of the vocals on this album are so if you are a fan of Phil’s actual singing voice, then there is not much of that though if you are a fan of his in any way then you can appreciate what he does here. There is a Black Flag/ Rollins element in some of the vocal phrasing on the chorus. The power of the chug can not be underestimated on this album as it flexes it muscle full force here.
” Bedroom Destroyer” is pretty much what I anticipated the entire album to be , but so far beyond driven I’m surprised that’s not the case. It’s a more modern hardcore take on Pantera, rather than Eyehategod worship. There is a good dose of punk rock in this one but it makes it rather stupid, like punk for suburban rednecks. ” Bedridden” could be the sequel the last song with a few syncopated chugs to differentiate it . It ends up plowing into a more rapid pace, the lyrics could be a bout rape or sloth or a combination of the two.
“Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens” seems like a lash out at the hipster blogverse metal has become, there is a great divide in the metal scene to which most of the metal heads this album will appeal to could fall into the white trash borderline Juggaloos who like Lamb Of God and most other mainstream metal, that have yet to venture into the Internet to search out new music beyond what they find on Juggaloo dating sites and the often closed minded metal purists that this song seems to target. When it comes down to the music, this had a thick wet cement groove to it. If you like Pantera or any of Phil’s other work you are going to like this unless you never evolved past Cowboys From Hell and then go back to listening to Painkiller. for what it is he succeed at doing what he set out to make, so I will give him props.