top of page

Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill

Today we come to the fourth episode in the "Transformers of Metal" series. An episode in which we are about to discover the weaknesses of the "metal monsters", which until now have seemed invincible to us. A chapter in which we witness the beginning of the disintegration of this metal "Shape Shifters".

But before you start reading the fourth part, you should make sure that you have read the previous three parts:

And now let's join us in the fourth, and possibly the last, part of the "Transformers of Metal" series - "Transformers: Age of Extinction":

On May 7, 1996, the album "The Great Southern Trendkill" was released - Pantera's eighth studio album.

This is probably the band's most powerful and aggressive album, and this can already be understood from the opening roar that comes immediately upon the opening of the theme song "The Great Southern Trendkill" which also opens up the album. But as we shall see immediately below, this forcefulness and aggressiveness do not necessarily indicate unity and power in the "Transformers of Metal" camp, but rather a distance and alienation that began to erode them slowly.

The name of the album stems from the band's criticism of popular "trends" in music during the recording of the album and especially "rap metal". The "Transformers of Metal" wanted to wave a "finger" to all the "Decepticons" - to the whole music industry that was changing before their eyes, and this was well expressed not only in the name of the album but also within. It seems that as metal bands got closer and closer to the "Decepticons" and the mainstream enjoyed MTV's embrace, the "Metal Transformers" went in the exact opposite direction and became less accessible, with weird and twisted riffs, aggressive roars, and screams.

Due to friction and tension between the "Shape Shifters" at the time, the recordings were held in two different studios, with Phil Anselmo recording the vocal roles in Trent Reznor's ("Nine Inch Nails") studio in New Orleans, while the rest of the band recorded the music at Dimebag Darrell home and the Chasin Jason Studio in Dallas Texas.

This form of recording greatly challenged the band members, as guitarist Dimebag Darrell, his brother - drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Rex Brown, did not know what vocal roles Phil Anselmo was going to record up on their music and whether they would even fit the music they wrote.

The separation between the two studios during the recordings made it especially difficult for Transformer guitarist "X-Men" Dimebag Darrell, who was accustomed to record the lead guitar roles after Phil Anselmo had already recorded his vocal roles. Despite Dimebag's difficulty, some of his most marvelous moments can be found on this album, especially "Floods" guitar solo which is considered by many to be his best solo. It is interesting to note that this amazing solo was composed by Dimebag Darrell from pieces of solo parts he used to play in the band's performances on the "Far Beyond Driven" tour.

The esteemed "Guitar World" magazine ranked this solo 15th on the list of the 100 best solos of all time, Dimebag's highest ranking out of 3 solos he managed to put on this list (the other two were "Cemetry Gates" ranked instead The 35th and "Walk" ranked 57th).

By the way, the reason for the distance between the members of "Metal Monsters" during the recordings, became clear several months after the release of the album, when on July 13 the Transformer Phil Anselmo almost died, after taking an overdose of heroin backstage, at the end of the band's performance in Dallas.

(Photo: Mick Hutson)

It seems that the tension and frustration that accompanied the recordings of the album and Phil Anselmo's struggle with hard drug addiction also affected the content of the album, which as mentioned is probably the band's most extreme and heavy.

Another expression of the album's aggressive and dark atmosphere can be found in Anselmo's singing which sounds almost "devilish". To create this "devilish" effect, Phil Anselmo's voice was recorded in layers, across several channels later put together. This "devilish" harmony is also maintained in the song "Steps to Nowhere 13" which features Seth Putnam - the singer and guitarist of "Anal Cunt", who is responsible for the shaky roars that make fertile ground for Anselmo's singing. Seth is featured on other songs on the album including "The Great Southern Trendkill" and "War Nerve",

There is no doubt that this is an album that is not easy to listen to on first hearing. But over time and as you get deeper and deeper into the music and lyrics, you find that it does not fall far short of the rest of the band's albums of the early 90s. This is perhaps the band's heaviest album, but you can also find "slower" and quieter moments in it, which add to the diversity and versatility of the album. This versatility culminates in two parts of the song "Suicide Note", the first part of which "caresses softness", while the second part "crushes bones".

It is interesting to note that Dimebag was the director of the clip for the song "Drag the Waters" which is also the first single released from the album. Dimebag noted that the song is about the same people you encounter during life that it is not clear what their real intentions are.

Unfortunately, the extreme emotions, harsh atmosphere and tension that surrounded the creative process of this album, not only influenced its content, but also pointed to the "beginning of the end" ... the "age of extinction" of the Metal Transformers ... "Transformers: Age of Extinction ".

For listening: Spotify, Apple Music

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page