No messing about from Pantera here... straight in to the thrash beats and riffs with 'Strength Beyond Strength'. Plentry of filth here - the breakdown riff is as low down as a drunken gutter fight. 'Becoming' is instantly a hit - killer riff and kick pedals pounding out a beat which will live forever, with Phil screaming "Becoming.... God Sized". Yes. At 3.04 its short and very, very sweet.
Up next is a groove-laden pit-filler in '5 Minutes Alone'. Savage rhythms and more sleazy guitar work and one of the bands most recognisable chorus lines - "5 Minutes Alone... Just give us... 5 Minutes Alone!!!". If words can be violence, these are an army.
'I'm Broken' kicks off with sublime working ont he frets from the late, great Dimebag, showing how to blend that Southern Fried Metal into grooves so deep you get lost. By this point, you recognise the strength of two more things - the bands numerous and perfectly executed breakdowns, and Phil's lyrical and vocal performance.
'Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks' draws us in with its intro, feeling like a more mellow affair, until reality kicks in with the double kick and chuggy verse. The mid-song solo section is gorgous and old-school, and being the longest track, they get to explore this nicely before returning to that kickdrum-led beef.
Slaughtered feastures excellent thrash guitar or syncopated drums and some great riff progression, a massive, vicious vocal delivery. A time sig change and the drums move into a great off-beat, ghost notes and ride-bell heavy, and towards the end, the kick features again with fancy triplets. '25 years' slows again and builds to a stomping-heavy chorus which will put a grimmace on your face as it steps up through some cool timings. A full on time change 3/4 through and the song visits a Metallica-style riff and stripts back to Southern Roots again.
'Shedding Skin' has a riff made of pure evil and venom, with another spot-on vocal delivery from Anselmo. A brilliant track - maybe the best on the album - with excellent lyrics. More signature changes and killer riffs, and into the typical solo. 'Use My Third Arm' feels confused and slightly messy, but still works as a track - but when it kicks into its breakdown at around the halfway mark, it raises the bar on dirt riffs. Just makes me wanna get smashed on bourbon and break stuff.
Throes of Rejection is different - bass and drums for the core of the intro, rhythms in place of complex of scaling riffs, and cheeky drop-outs to kick-pedal work make this song interesting and fresh.
The final track is an excellent cover of 'Planet Caravan' by Black Sabbath. A nice, calm way to end an aggressive, energetic and engrossing album.