As all fans of Metal know, Dimebag Darrel got shot by a rather disturbed person last year. PANTERA may never have been my favourite band but that doesn't hinder me from hearing that its talent at display on their records. The aforementioned Dimebag was one hell of a guitarist, creating many memorable riffs. It's enough to mention the main riff in "Walk" to make people nod. I have seen him on the cover of countless guitar magazines, not just Metal related ones. He was considered to be among the best guitarist in the world and if I had something to say in that case, both Dimebag Darrel and Trey Azagthoth (MORBID ANGEL) would have been much nearer the top. Not only was Dimebag a great guitarist, the rest of the band could their stuff too. His brother, Vinnie Paul, played the drums and a guy named Rex abused the bass guitar. It was Philip Anselmo's entrance, however, which saw PANTERA reach the peak of their career, some might even be unaware that PANTERA released four albums before he joined the band.
"The Great Southern Trendkill" starts the album with a bang, it's quite obvious that PANTERA have turned up their speed since "Far Beyond Driven". In my opinion "The Great Southern Trendkill" saw the start of the vocal decline that I mean P. Anselmo has gone through. Here he uses a more aggressive variant than before, more screaming, less singing. Those who've heard SUPERJOINT RITUAL and didn't like the vocals, should know what I mean. It's important to mention that his vocals still were good on "The Great Southern Trendkill", but not as good as they used to be (IMO). The title track is best when Dimebag let’s loose on the guitar, some really nice playing there at the end of the song.
"War Nerve" is a much better song, with some really heavy drumming and some nice riffing going on. I imagine this song being requested when PANTERA played for a crowd, as it is an invitation to headbanging. "Drag The Waters" also a good song, starting with a good riff and the sounds of a cowbell (Texas Forever). P.Anselmo also does a very good performance in this song, as he sings rather than scream. One of the best songs on the album if you ask me. He continues his good performance in the next song, “10's”. Unfortunately I find the song itself to be a bit boring and it's Anselmo's performance which saves it from mediocrity. "13 Steps" starts with a little drum solo from Vinnie Paul, really pounding drum sound. Although "13 Steps" is a good song, it can't compete with either "Walk" or "Five Minutes Alone", from their previous records. It's obvious that the most of the PANTERA magic was lost between "Far Beyond Driven" and "The Great Southern Trendkill", magic that especially saturated "Vulgar Display Of Power".
"Suicide Note Pt. I" is like PANTERA going Country, there is a certain Country feel to that song in my opinion. Country or not, this is one of my favourite songs on the album. It's a sincere ballad, not about love but life. "Suicide Note Pt. II" explodes in your face straight after the first note and I can't help it, but it sounds forced. I really don't think that the pace used in this song suits PANTERA at all, they are far better when they take the speed down some notches. "Living Through Me (Hells Wrath) goes at a pace that suits PANTERA and therefore it's also a lot better than the previous song. At the end "The Great Southern Trendkill" is a good album, but far from PANTERA's greatest moment. "The Great Southern Trendkill” is only essential for the fans, those who want to check PANTERA at the top of their game should rather consider "Vulgar Display Of Power" or "Far Beyond Driven". (Online May 16, 2005)