Pantera – “Power Metal” (1988)

This was Pantera’s fourth and final album from their forgotten indie years.  Power Metal (Metal Magic Records) introduced a new singer to the Pantera ranks, Phil Anselmo.  Of course, if it were up to Pantera, this album, and the three previous Pantera LPs, would be erased from existence.  After Power Metal, Pantera got signed to a major label (Atco Records) and changed their image and musical direction.  They never looked back, likely thinking that their ’80s metal past would hurt their credibility as “f*cking hostile” metal tough guys.  Most consider Pantera’s first three albums to be glam metal.  Power Metal, on the other hand, can be considered a mix of Judas Priest style traditional metal, “power metal” (in the vein of bands like Vicious Rumors), glam metal, and a little bit of the groove-based “cowboys from hell” style that made Pantera famous later on.  Whatever you call it, fact is, Power Metal is fair at best.  Call this a transition album for Pantera.  It certainly doesn’t deserve to be swept under the rug, but with so many styles thrown into a blender, the album lacks focus and doesn’t really warrant multiple replays.  Dimebag (err… I mean “Diamond Darrell”) definitely showed his nasty axe chops, and it is indeed interesting to hear Phil sing in the traditional eighties sense, but Power Metal is not exactly a long lost classic.  My score: B-


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