Thursday, July 21, 2022

Still Spinning: Pantera, "Power Metal"

The announcement of a Pantera “reunion” tour in 2023 leaves me with a lot of mixed feelings. Obviously, a true reunion is impossible, and I really hope that they ultimately spin this tour as a tribute to guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbot rather than a return of the band. While I’m a huge fan of guitarist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) and drummer Charlie Benante (Anthrax), they’re not the late Abbot brothers and this is not Pantera. That said, it would be great to hear those songs live again, and, yeah, I’ll probably go. But the announcement brought to mind another record that I’ve meant to write about for a long time, the album that featured the debut of vocalist Phil Anselmo: 1988’s Power Metal:

Normally, when I write in the Still Spinning series, they’re records overlooked by fans – but in this case, it’s a record that was buried by the band itself. In the 1980s, a very young Pantera released four albums. Their first three, Metal Magic (1983), Projects in the Jungle (1984) and I Am the Night (1985) featured vocalist Terry Glaze, with Anselmo joining for the fourth. When Pantera made its major label debut on Atlantic with Cowboys From Hell in 1990, it was with a much heavier and thrashier sound than the previous four records, which ranged from glam rock to Judas Priest-influenced heavy metal. With their newfound following of heavier music fans and the hair metal scene of the 1980s waning, Pantera did their best to cover up and ignore the existence of those first albums.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Review: Alestorm, "Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum"

The pirate ship has been righted and is back on course.

I’ve been a fanboy and evangelist for Alestorm since their debut album Captain Morgan’s Revenge in 2008. Christopher Bowes and his goofy band of pirates have put plenty of smiles on my face, and I’ve shouted the band’s praises from the rooftops so loudly that a lot of people I talk music with regularly have probably wished they could make me walk the plank.

Their last lackluster outing, Curse of the Crystal Coconut, left me scratching my head by putting far more emphasis on the goofy than the pirate – and just honestly not featuring many memorable moments. But, hey, 2020 was a rough year for everyone. And so was 2021, particularly for Bowes who became embroiled in some controversy around one of his other bands, Gloryhammer. But in 2022, the world, and the seas, have opened back up. Bowes takes to them with gusto.