I love the really old albums of PANTERA. Definitely more than the sound that made them break through the roof. Especially album number 2, “Projects In The Jungle: (1984) and even more especially “I Am The Night” (1985) are still a lot of fun. At least for people who don’t have any problems with the old material of VAN HALEN, MÖTLEY CRÜE, JUDAS PRIEST etc..
The songs are rocking freshly and emanate lots of (positive) energy, From “Projects In The Jungle“ I would like to point out “Like Fire” that starts out with a typical MÖTLEY CRÜE riff and has a great guitar solo and nice chorus. And the arse-kicking opener “All Over Tonight” hits your skull like a sixpack, not to forget the stomping hymn “Heavy Metal Rules” that reminds me a lot of “Me Against The World” of THIN LIZZY (which was only released later on, though). But that is opposed by a nice, but unspectacular Pop Rock song in form of “In Over My Head”. Still a good Heavy Rock album.
The 1985 follow-up “I Am The Night“ then kicked things up a notch. Especially the title track with its “free fire” mentality crashes through like a stone buffalo and the superb “Onward We Rock” with its hymnal chorus is an insane killer. On “Down Below” then former singer Terrence Lee delivers his shrillest performance, but apart from that the song is also firing on all cylinders. And “Valhalla” will send every Viking across the rainbow bridge with his brandished sword, trying to figure out the source for this noise, while closing and calm “Forever Tonight” strokes your soul with a few very cool riffs and soft melody.
(Online January 11, 2011)