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Pantera: The Complete Studio Albums 1990-2000

The cowboys from hell ride again, grooved and dressed up in garish duds.

Predictably uncontaminated by a single shred from the Arlington Abbotts’ barely acknowledged opening quartet of independent albums (three Terry Glaze-fronted glam misfires, Phil Anselmo’s feet-finding Power Metal induction), this irresisitible compendium collates every vinyl ounce of Pantera intensity you’re ever likely to need.

Spirally scratched into weighty, turntable-enhancing wedges of garish coloured plastic and packed into a reassuringly weighty box, these four 12-inch bludgeons-to-the-head (Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display Of Power, Far Beyond Driven, The Great Southern Trendkill) are as undeniably unassailable as they’re appropriately titled.

Unconvinced? Maybe an additional seven-inch single – featuring non-album rarities Piss and Avoid The Light – will coax your hand into your pocket.

To the average, casually observing punter, Pantera can appear as just overly testosteroned purveyors of generic post-thrash, as technically adept as they are woefully soulless. But dip a toe in here and marvel. Pantera swing. Trademark groove metal brutality (Primal Concrete Sledge, Drag The Waters), offset by mainstream-mugging schizo-dynamism (Cemetery Gates, Hollow), invariably nailed by a band who retain the precision of James Brown’s J.B.’s even when as intoxicated as St Paddy’s Day Pogues.

Eulogies are all well and good, but Pantera’s 90s say more about the tragedy of Dimebag’s loss than fine words ever could.

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