The year is 2002.
I'm in Atlantic City with my then-girlfriend (me 17, her 18) with her parents and a bunch of people from Kensington waiting to head back to Philadelphia after they had a day of gambling while me and her hung out on the beach and went to the mall and had a meal at Planet Hollywood. Earlier that day, I had bought a copy of the earliest Pantera album I could find, a 1991 disc called "Cowboys from Hell". It's March, and we're going to graduate from high school in 2 months and I've just spent the last 4 years learning what bands like Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, and now Slayer had to offer me. Now I'm ready to find out, finally, what all the fuss is over these guys from Texas.
Now, I've told you all of that so you know just how fresh this album was to me. In 2002, despite having this album out for 11 years, despite bands like Korn and Slipknot dominating the metal landscape, I rejected them all and was listening to what anyone else in 1991 would. And, lo and behold, my reaction must have been the same as anyone's 11 years earlier if they had a Walkman on them and bought that album and was waiting for a bus for 40 minutes.
I started to headbang. A lot. A WHOLE lot! I practically started a moshpit listening to this album the first two times!
While my soon-to-be ex was listening to Puddle of Mudd (which I made fun of her for, relentlessly), I was learning "The Art of Shredding" and learning of the beauty and majesy of the Cemetery Gates. The very second that opening guitar riff was scanned by that laser eye, transmitted into electrical currents, and beamed right into my god-damn brain, I knew this was THE greatest metal album I had ever heard! Megadeth's "Rust in Peace" beats this disc in terms of personal listens 2-to-1, but I think I listened to this album at least once a day for a month and then at least once a week.
The album is an undipsuited masterpiece, and really, a review of this album is pointless. It's like trying to explain why a cake tastes so damn sweet, or why a nice, wet pussy on a hot young blond is paradise.
But I'll give you a good idea why; This album fuses the hair-metal styling with the thrash metal and punk sensibilities of Megadeth, Metallica, and DRI. Toss in a heavy dose of Texas and New Orleans attitude and bam, Pantera! The most important tracks are the title track, "Primal Concrete Sledge", and "Cemetery Gates". The most underrated are "Shattered" and "The Art of Shredding".
Anyone who says Phil Anselmo can't sing has never heard this album. Anyone who wonders why Vinnie Paul is a hell of a drummer hasn't heard this album. Anyone who thinks Dimebag "squandered his gift" playing the guitar has never heard this album. Rex is one hell of a bassist, too!
This album is sheer metal perfection, up there with more legendary albums than I can name. Only complaint? It ain't longer!
10 out of 10! Buy it or get an ass kicking!