After the runaway success of Pantera’s 1992 album A Vulgar Display Of Power, the band seemed intent on creating increasingly extreme and weird records. Far Beyond Driven (’94) and The Great Southern Trendkill (’96) both provided debilitating punches to the throat, with brilliant moments, but the band’s admirable sonic exploration didn’t always bring out their best; some of those odder dirges weren’t exactly the fist-pumping fare craved by fans of Fuckin’ Hostile.
Reinventing The Steel, released in early 2000, felt like a welcome return to the band’s stripped-down, 12-bore approach: big riffs, big aggression, hardly any dirge. Highlights like Hellbound, Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit and Revolution Is My Name would still be enthusiastically selected on a rock pub jukebox today, which if we’re honest is the acid test.
If the album peters off towards the end, that’s only because the last few tracks were fun at the time but forgettable. It Makes Them Disappear, for example, boasts a wonderfully gargantuan riff but forgets to include a chorus.
This reissue presents a new remix by the legendary Terry Date, who had produced the previous three Pantera records but bailed on this one. An improvement on the original mix, Date’s take feels more vibrant and in-your-face.
Among the usual rag-tag bunch of extras – rough instrumental versions, radio edits, unreleased tracks – the shiniest jewel is Avoid The Light, an unusual and catchy song that the band recorded for the soundtrack to long-forgotten film Dracula 2000.