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Metal Magic

Metal Magic (1983)
Rating: 8/10

After the first wave, always comes the second. I am of course referring to the New Wave of American Metal currently taking place. In the beginning you had Wild Dogs, Bitch, Crysys and others, and now following close behind come Slayer, Helstar, Anthrax and from the state of Texas, Pantera; a lethal four-piece consisting of Terry Glaze on vocals / guitar, Darrell Abbott on guitar, Rex Rocker on bass and Vince Abbott, brother of Darrell, on drums. Their debut LP Metal Magic (just dig that title!) is a fine entry into the heavy metal scene.

Pantera are not afraid to use melody, harmonies and keyboards, something that is missing in quite a few of the new bands (Manilla Road take note), but they still have time to add stunning solos and heavy guitar work to their songs. ‘Ride My Rocket’ is such a song; kicking off with the bass line straight out of Kiss’ ‘Detroit Rock City’, it develops into a killer song. The LP of course begins with the now almost obligatory deep voice to strike terror into your ears. This is old hat now and should be avoided.

‘Latest Lover’ is a good rocker with a fine chorus and some catchy soloing from Darrell, who also makes average songs like ‘Tell Me If You Want It’ and ‘Biggest Part Of Me’ sound good. The title track, ‘Metal Magic’, is an out and out stunner with a 100mph riff and soaring vocals from Glaze. ‘Nothin’ On (But The Radio)’ – the song they’ve recorded for MTV – is catchy and should fare well amongst all the AOR they show on that channel. Which can’t be said for ‘Sad Lover’ and ‘Rock Out’, which are slayers (excuse the pun!); grinding guitars and crushing rhythm work make these probably the stand out songs on the LP. This will probably be in my top 20 this year.

One word of warning: ignore the cover and buy the record.

Steve Hammonds

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 3 (1984)