Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill review


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Band: Pantera
Album: The Great Southern Trendkill
Release date: April 1996

01. The Great Southern Trendkill
02. War Nerve
03. Drag The Waters
04. 10's
05. 13 Steps To Nowhere
06. Suicide Note, Pt. I
07. Suicide Note, Pt. II
08. Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)
09. Floods
10. The Underground In America
11. (Reprise) Sandblasted Skin
12. Walk [live] [Japanese bonus]

This album, more than Vulgar Display Of Power, more than Cowboys From Hell, has always been the album that defined Pantera to me. The Great Southern Trendkill finds the band at its heaviest and most Texan, with an enveloping, album-wide sound that keeps sonic continuity from the first track to the last in a way not quite managed by previous albums.

Of all Pantera's albums, The Great Southern Trendkill features the thickest, heaviest, most distorted guitar tone, a six-stringed cudgel that sheds most of the vestigial thrash elements that clung to life on the last album. By this time, only dim echoes of that bracing speed and particular aggression remain, with Dimebag clearly looking to different inspirations for a deeper, conservatively paced method; these chunky riffs are a far cry from the cutting edge of past albums that, while naturally still groovy and heavy in the peculiar way that Dimebag popularized, was built for speed. His performance on this album is defined by string bends and pinch harmonics, with the spaces filled in by solid, bludgeoning riffs that build on tunes like "Walk" and "Strength Beyond Strength." The slack swing of the strings on tunes like "War Nerve" galvanizes the country/western feeling that foreshadowed Rebel Meets Rebel, while the tone of the metallic side continues to darken into what would become Damageplan.

The Great Southern Trendkill is aptly named, for it is a very Southern-flavored album; the blues and Southern rock influences pervade in the amped-up bass and Phil's throatier, ever-deepening vocals. This album swings into swamp country with a slower pace and lengthier, more atmosphere-oriented approach that surfaced briefly on past albums, now returning to encompass an even greater portion of Pantera's sound. The fully acoustic "Suicide Note Pt. I" and the hybrid "10s" and "Floods" break up the punishing guitar showcases with dark, chilling glimpses into another side of Pantera too little heard from. The album's heaviest tracks - the title track, "13 Steps To Nowhere," and the closing duology - lean into grooves like never before, and Phil Anselmo's vocal lines have a more noticeable emphasis on rhythm, especially in songs like "Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)" and "13 Steps To Nowhere." When the album kicks into overdrive, it's with a hardcore roar and a muscular low end that makes Cowboys From Hell seem lean by comparison.

Vulgar Display Of Power, Cowboys From Hell, and Far Beyond Driven might still have the edge in sheer vitriol, physical impact, and familiar track lists, but The Great Southern Trendkill dominates in the realm of groove and rhythm, which is, after all, one of the most noteworthy things about Pantera. This is my idea of a great Dimebag album, the album I go to when I want to hear asphalt-tearing guitar with a Texas blues tinge; it's also a great Phil Anselmo album, containing some of his most interesting and hooky vocal lines, and it's a great album for the forceful but versatile rhythm section of Rex and Vinnie Paul. This is my idea of a great Pantera album.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Written on 27.07.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
Since Phil Anselmo joined Pantera they had gone from strength to strength with sales increasing for each subsequent album and along with their worldwide reputation as a devastatingly violent and energetic live act; this album was highly anticipated in the barren metal years of the mid-nineties. The pressures of success had however, along with excessive alcohol consumption, exhausting touring duties and Phil's drug problems, caused a rift in the band and the recording of this album was anything but a smooth process. What this in-fighting, drug addiction and despair with success spewed forth was one of the most powerful pieces of pure hatred, attitude and anger filled music ever to come out of the American deep south.

published 01.06.2008 | Comments (6)


Comments: 4   Visited by: 63 users
27.07.2018 - 18:04
Tiago Rocha
Dark Lighthouse
I will always deem Far Beyond Driven as their best, but Trendkill is right there in 2nd place.
27.07.2018 - 22:11
Love this album, but Vulgar is their best IMO. It's one of my favorite albums by any band. However, Dimebags solo in the song Floods gives me chills. I've had dreams and that solo was playing. Just epic. Also Sandblasted Skin, War Nerve, 10's and the albums title track are all awesome and unique.
28.07.2018 - 01:53
I fucking loved this one back when I was finishing high school and going to uni. Gave it a blast a few months ago, definitely didn't do it for me in the same way but there's some real ripping stuff on here, and those Southern states bits like the solo in the title track are still stick. Far Beyond Driven is my go to pick on the rare occasions I feel like listening to Pantera these days, but this was a significant record for me when I discovered it.
30.07.2018 - 21:10
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
There is some kind a magic in southern life style, way and way, if we can add trOO. Album well its been a while but I agree Cowboys are their best, but whgen theyt plaid power metal band was much better
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