Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Overlooked Albums Vol. 2

Pantera/ The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) - Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven are undoubtedly the heavies from the Pantera catalog. And Reinventing the Steel is pretty damn good, too. But The Great Southern Trendkill gets a little lost in the shuffle. The album features the most down-tuned guitars of any Pantera album, the fastest songs of any Pantera album, and Phil Anselmo's most brutal vocal performances. It's a bruising album and undoubtedly the least accessible of Pantera's albums in terms commercial appeal, but it is far from a bad album. Drag the Waters is the song that most people are probably familiar with because of its place on the official greatest hits release, but it's be criminal to overlook Floods or 10's. 10's is actually featured in the Funimation dub of the Dragonball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan movie and Floods contains what could very well be the finest guitar solo of Dimebag's career.



Now if you are familiar with Pantera then you probably know that this was their eighth album. If not, then now you do. Their first four albums are called Metal Magic, Projects in the Jungle, I Am the Night, and Power Metal. These albums could be called overlooked, but I don't particularly care for them. They make for a nice novelty listen every now and then just to hear what Pantera was like before they really became the Pantera we all know and love, but they are worthy of mentioning, I suppose. The first three albums feature a guy named Terry Glaze on vocals and not Phil Anselmo. Power Metal is the first album to feature Phil Anselmo, but he and the rest of the band are still hanging onto the glam thing. It's all pretty jarring if you only know songs like Mouth for War or Five Minutes Alone and Anselmo certainly hits more high notes than he did on Cowboy from Hell

Rebel Meets Rebel/ Rebel Meets Rebel  (2006) - Metallica and Lou Reed might not exactly have been a winning combination, but Pantera and David Allan Coe certainly was. Largely worked on from the late 90's to the demise of Pantera in 2003, Rebel Meets Rebel was ultimately released in 2006, two years after Dimebag Darrell's murder on December 8th. Exit Phil Anselmo and enter David Allan Coe as vocalist and you have this album. The songwriting still maintains the edge of Pantera, but it has a more "cowboy" feel which is more or less the whole point of this album. Hank Williams III sings guest vocals on Get Outta My Life, Dimebag (in a rare singing role) and David exchange lyrics in the title track (with fiddle-accompaniment), and the the cherry on top is the thrash-like opener Nothin' to Lose. This is country metal and I wouldn't mind a few more albums like this. Unfortunately, this was a one-time project and not many marquee metal musicians or country singers have the stones for a fusion of this type.



Mountain/ Nantucket Sleighride (1971) - In 1820, Owen Coffin was a seaman aboard a Nantucket whaleship when it was rammed and ultimately sunk by a sperm whale. After the wreck his shipmates shot and ate him. This is what the title song is named for. The title also refers to the ride that whale ships would take when being pulled through the water by a whale they had harpooned. Leslie West, the guitarist for this criminally overlooked band didn't even know what a "Nantucket Sleighride" was when bassist Felix Pappalardi brought the song in. The title song is complicated and has a very progressive feel to it. It's almost a shame that Mississippi Queen (from Climbing!) is the only song most people know from them. And it's probably worth mentioning that Pappalardi was the producer of Cream and Mountain certainly has a Cream quality to it. (Leslie West actually formed a band with Jack Bruce at one point, by the way. ) The majority of these songs are written by Pappalardi and his wife Gail Collins. It's kind of ironic that a song written by a guy who was shot and killed was also written by a guy who would also be shot and killed (albeit under different circumstances). Pappalardi was killed by his wife in Gail in 1983. His legacy is undoubtedly forever attached to Cream and Mississippi Queen, but this album should be mentioned, too. In fact, so should Climbing! Listen to them both. They are fantastic albums.


A version of Mountain still tours with Leslie West (who actually started Mountain out as a solo band) and they still rock, but there's something extra special about the four years that Pappalardi was in Mountain.

Leslie West recently released a solo album entitled Unusual Suspects and I highly recommend it.

P.S. - The band Leslie West formed with Jack Bruce was called West, Bruce, & Laing. They released two studio albums (Why Don'tcha and Whatever Turns You On) and one live album (Live 'n' Kickin'). You could do worse than to look them up.

6 comments:

  1. "It's kind of ironic that a song written by a guy who was shot and killed was also written by a guy who would also be shot and killed"



    But at least he wasn't eaten (I don't think).

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    1. Well, I said the circumstances were slightly different. ;) Gail Collins claimed it was an accident. I've always been curious how someone can accidently shoot someone in the neck and then call their lawyer first before calling the police.

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  2. You've got me listening to Nantucket Sleighride. I really like this album.

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    1. Good to hear. My dad's a pretty big Mountain fan so he had me listening to them since I was about ten on tapes he recorded when he was younger. He still has his original vinyl edition.

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  3. Speaking of overlooked albums, check the memory stick I sent and see if there is a band called Masters of Reality on there. If so, there should be an album called "Sunrise On The Sufferbus." Give that one a listen. Ginger Baker is in that band and it's an excellent album with a good dose of British weirdness to it. There was a song on the album that was a kind of popular for a while called "She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)."

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    1. Yeah, it's on there. Pretty good stuff.

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