Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill
Hands down the most important metal album of all time.
I could stop there but those of you who disagree are certainly looking for justification to such a bold statement. To crown The Great Southern Trendkill as the most important metal album of all time is to raise it above any album by Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Neurosis, the list goes on. This is realized and I justify doing so by framing The Great Southern Trendkill in the unique and expansive spotlight it fought its way under then out of.
By 1994, Pantera had increased its fanbase from the underground and into fraternity houses everywhere with Far Beyond Driven. Think about that: post 1994 you didn't go to a Pantera concert without seeing equal parts hessian with equal parts buzzed cut fullbacks. The tenth track on ...Trendkill, "The Underground in America" testifies to as much: "Shaved heads meet hair in the mix." Amongst every other contrast that Anselmo belts during the song, that line is the most telling. He's not referring to Judas Priest fans shaking it out with some neo-Nazis (though that's surely to have happened more than a couple of times throughout history). The "underground" had changed and now included everyone from those who latched onto the band with Cowboys From Hell to the new class of Theta Chi pledges.
What's mind blowing to me is how this album was accepted so easily by those with little to no experience with metal. Sure, most of the frat boy meat heads weren't paying attention to the lyrics as they smashed about dorm rooms, shotgunning PBR's but the visceral messages in ...Trendkill are every bit as venomous as any death metal album most college meat heads wouldn't accomodate two seconds of (if not more so, given Anselmo's gift for spewing cleverly thought out hate) and so brought the acidic potential of metal to the masses. Surely there was a hangover for shallow fans from the chest pumping Far Beyond Driven but it's not as if Pantera's popularity wavered. Nothing is sacred on ...Trendkill and every suicide inspired, media despised, drug induced, and God condemning lyric is sheltered under the larger proclamation of a culture that's been denounced and subsequently eviscerated. It's the most genuinely fed up album and people, including myself, spun the CD for years proudly assuming that they were part of the answer and not the problem.
But don't get it twisted, he's not just talking about the church going Tommy Hilfiger crowd. The whole album of razor blades ends with the holding up of a cracked mirror showing, even those who follow Pantera like shaved head disciples, that:
"You know when it rains you're in your bed at home
You act so real when you are alone
You better not let the mohawked crowd see
Give it five years, you'll retire your piercings
You must admit that you mimic the weaklings"
After that lashing, you're ready to oblige the demands of "Sandblasted Skin". No one is real, including the enormous fanbase Pantera had acquired to date. So the band not only increased the "hardcore" genre exponentially but also recruited fans from entirely different ends of the cultural spectrum...then cast them out as the fakes they were.
The Great Southern Trendkill is Pantera, a band whose previous album debuted at number one on Billboard without any mainstream marketing, at their artistic peak and no other band but Pantera can claim to have united such a gigantic fanbase of sociological opposites. This is why ...Trendkill is the most important metal album of all time.
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on 2011-05-20 SolitaryMan Said:
Man, that's a BOLD statement, tris, hahaha. I can't agree, but I'm right there with you in thinking this is Pantera's best. And, in that context, one of the best metal albums ever produced. But, for my money, I honestly think Sabbath's S/T, Maiden's "Number of the Beast" and Metallica's "Kill 'em All" had more long-lasting impact. I'd rank this somewhere in the top-10 of all-time most important metal albums. Great review though.
on 2011-05-19 hstisgod Said:
the most important of metal all time is Pantera, but its Vulgar... not GSTK
on 2011-05-19 Trismus Said:
I can't believe we didn't have a review of this up already.