December 5, 2010 by Dan Swinhoe
Rock ‘N’ Roll is full of tragic rock stories; Hendrix, Bonham, Rhoads, Lynott, all stars cut down before their time. The latest was Dimebag Darrell, Pantera’s guitarist and one of the most influential Metal guitarists ever. Whole sub genres exist because of the music he created.
It was five years ago this month that he was murdered on stage by a ‘fan’ with mental problems and a gun. To commemorate his legacy Metal Hammer magazine is giving away a free tribute CD of Pantera songs covered by a host of new talent.
Free CDs of new material are nothing new; Kerrang has been doing this kind of thing for years, including a Metallica tribute a few years ago. And as with the Kerrang ones, this is something of a mixed bag.
It starts with Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) and a strange choice of first track Suicide Note Pt. I. This is a slow ballad, and while it’s haunting and reminiscent of Zakk’s own tribute In This River, as an opener it fails to get the album really going.
Next up is Machine Head’s version of Fucking Hostile, and strangely from a band known for their intensity, this song seems to be lacking their usual energy.
Evile’s interpretation of Cemetery Gates, made all the more poignant as this was their last recording before Bassist Mike Alexander died of a blood clot in his lungs on tour. And this is as fitting a tribute as any could have; the leaders of the new wave of thrash bands covering one of the best thrash songs of the nighties.
The rest of the disc is very hit and miss, but all emphasise Dime’s influence. Each band puts their own stamp on their chosen song, yet all of them sound like poor imitators.
Maleface, Avenged Sevenfold and This is Hell are the worst here, lacking any of the class that made Pantera so great, while Unearth and Chimaira showcase all that is good about modern metal and really make the songs their own without spoiling the original magic.
It would be hard to better the source material, but this is a fitting tribute to a true hero of the genre.