There are certain albums in every bands catalog that get overlooked. Most people when they talk about Pantera talk about Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven. In 1996, amongst a lot of band tension, Pantera was able to put together their most brutal and honest album The Great Southern Trendkill. This album is known for relentless screaming throughout the album most notably on “Suicide Note Pt.II.” Also featured on the album are some of the fastest tempos and most down-tuned guitars that the band ever recorded. It also has a more experimental nature to its songs, such as the acoustic guitar and keyboard-laden “Suicide Note Pt. I”, the long breakdowns in the middle or near the end of songs like “Suicide Note Pt. II”, “Sandblasted Skin”, “Drag The Waters” and “War Nerve”. Some of the more intricate vocals that Philip Anselmo has doen can be heard on songs such as “Suicide Note Pt. II”, “The Underground In America”, “Sandblasted Skin”, “War Nerve” and “Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath)”. A very interesting fact about the making of Trendkill was that Phil Anselmo recorded the vocals for this release in Trent Reznor’s studio in New Orleans, while the rest of the band stayed in Dallas to work on their parts. Of all the albums Pantera released, this one is by far my favorite. The lyrics go beyond just the normal anger. Topics such as hate for the media (“War Nerve”), suicide (“Suicide Note”), drug abuse (“10’s”, “Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath)”) the end of the world (“Floods”), trends (“The Great Southern Trendkill”, “Sandblasted Skin”) and teenage taboo on life (“The Underground In America”) are all brought up.
1996 saw the release of Metallica’s Load, Sepultura’s Roots, Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire, and Korn’s Life Is Peachy. The Great Southern Trendkill stood out amongst all the other metal bands releases of 96. with the exception of Neurosis’s Through Silver and Blood. Do yourself a favor and take another listen to The Great Southern Trendkill and you’ll have a totally different appreciation for it!
By: Brian Lacy