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VINNIE PAUL RETROSPECTIVE VI - Damageplan "New Found Power"

NEW FOUND POWER (2004) ***

"New Found Power" has always felt like a record that needs serious editing.  I understand why the Abbot brothers might have wanted to put out as much material as they could after their forced hiatus in the early 2000's, and looking back with tragic hindsight it meant they got as much of Dimebag Darrel's last recordings onto an album as they could.  Who am I now to look such a gift horse in the mouth?

2004 was a weird time for music in general, but especially for my listening habits.  I was feeling increasingly isolated as I pushed farther and farther to find the most outsider, technically proficient crap I could, then sample it to make GV Crew songs on the Playstation 1.  (Told you it was weird.)  Metal, in particular the (only sort-of) "radio-ready" kind like Damageplan was slinging, was not what I wanted to hear.  I was sick of the genre, kinda felt like it had sold out (because I was 22 and I still cared about shit like that) a…
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Music Reviews: Shapes & Colors, Angelique Kidjo, Plini, Ninja Sex Party, Death Cab For Cutie, Pig Destroyer, KEN Mode, Fiona Silver and Sevendust

Before we get started, there's two things:

I think I might be changing how I score reviews.  I've noticed other reviewers that use a 0 to 5 scale put albums they like more toward the 4 range and I always bog everything down in the 3s.  I feel like people might get the wrong idea about how much I enjoyed something if I give it a three and a half, because it turns out I've really been scoring on a 0 to 4 and a half scale this whole time.  So starting after the Vinnie Paul Retrospective (which still has two to four more entries to go, God help us all...), I'll be adjusting my scale up at least half a star going forward.  There's too many reviews to go back through and change, so this will have to be an errata, not an edit.  (That includes these, so add a half star if you think it's appropriate.)

[For those that don't know, here's the current scale:

0 Stars: Garbo.
*: Had one thing I liked a little, but mostly still garbo.
**: Serviceable but not memorable.
**…

Music Review: EMINEM'S "KAMIKAZE"

Funny thing happened on the way to this review: I went to listen to some music while proofreading and noticed some new Eminem.  And holy shit it was a whole new album.  I just finished writing the rest of this, and now I had to turn around and put together a hot take before a WikiPedia page went up (as of writing: still on schedule!).  So here are my fumbling thoughts on:


Eminem "Kamikaze" *** and 2/3

The first three songs are TIGHT AS FUCK.  If you have ever wondered what the big deal is about this Eminem guy and aren't into rap, listen to the first three songs on this and bask in the insane acrobatics.  His speed is on android playing the knife game from Aliens level.  Even if the lyrics are...insecure.  To say the least.

To be fair, the first three songs get more visceral and in charge of themselves as they go along, but halfway through "The Ringer" you start to wonder if this is gonna be a whine fest about how much people thought "Revival" sucked. …

Slip Of Paper Given To Us As Part Of A Class Assignment

technically #4 is no longer true, but I was one at the time, so...

Vinnie Paul Retrospective V - Official Live: 101 Proof & Reinventing The Steel

OFFICIAL LIVE: 101 PROOF (1997) *

I've never liked live albums.  They usually play as worse versions of the original songs, and this is no exception.  There is the "Domination/Hollow" medely, but that's about all they do differently.  However, I've always really liked the two studio tracks they threw at the end, "Where You Come From" and "I Can't Hide".  Pantera had a batch of B-Sides laying around, like "The Will To Survive", "Piss", "The Badge", these two, "Immortally Insane", "Avoid The Light" and some other covers that weren't spectacular but exist.  You could make an album out of them is what I'm saying, and it would have been better than this.

REINVENTING THE STEEL (2000) *** and 1/2

This is the one people tend to say is Pantera's worst album.  First of all, that means they don't know the 80's albums exist.  Second: Even if this is the worst of their 90's album…

Composure

Crack knuckles.
Stretch neck.
Deep breath.
Begin.

Electrochemical locomotion
Impelling digits
Transmogrifying thought
Into words.

Raw.
Un-oiled.
Returning from
The depths of Hell.

Trying to remember
How this whole thing went.
But not desperately.
Calm reigns.

Confidence
Once extinct
Turns extant
From thin air.

Without the bullshit of
Alchemy
A new chapter is
Constructed.

A nod of satisfaction.
A job well done.
A decent start.
One bite at a time.

Vinnie Paul Retrospective Part IV - The Great Southern Trendkill

It's weird that I'm not really mentioning the drums in this Vinnie Paul retrospective.  It's not just that it's a Vinnie thing or that I'm a drummer, but Dime & Vinnie are most of the music.  There's a few times Rex gets his two cents in, but he usually just plays his role.  The vocals I always tended to tune out a bit because truth be told I've always found Phil to be hit or miss.  Presence?  Yes.  Delivery?  Eh, not always off, but more questionable choices than there should be.  Lyrics?  A good 40 percent of them are outright dumb, then and now.

This process is teaching me about how I review.  If I've heard an album a million times, the music is usually less the focus.  The review tends to be more about my relationship with the music (with random factoids sprinkled in so they don't just take up space in my brain).  I don't know if that's as useful to the reader, but these are all what comes to me when I sit down to write, not trying t…