Friday, May 7, 2010

Use My Third Arm

To coincide with the 14 year anniversary of the release of the Pantera album, The Great Southern Trendkill I have decided to post about an item that I received in the mail this week. I'll keep things simple: Far Beyond Driven is the album that has had the longest running influence on my overall musical tastes, period. I may not regularly listen to any Pantera these days, but Far Beyond Driven, along with Vulgar Display Of Power and The Great Southern Trendkill, are the three albums that made me like aggressive music. Metal and hardcore are just about the biggest things in my life these days (let's not deny it, they have always been so), so I suppose I could say with a certain confidence that this band changed my life. Wether they changed it for the good or the bad is up to debate though, I can be a pretty angry guy sometimes. Anyway, I was 13 or 14 and a friend at school leant me a tape of VDOP. 'Fucking Hostile' blew me away. I still want to start a band and cover that song.
This is the reissue 2xLP of Far Beyond Driven by the bands label Elektra. Along with this repress they also did Cowboys From Hell and VDOP. I didn't have the cash to spend at the time, so I chose just to grab this one. Had TGSTK been available I would have definitely ordered that too. Black wax. Original artwork that was 'banned'. Was it really banned, or was it just a hype builder? I may have only been 11 or 12 when this album first came out, but there were certainly other big bands issuing far more graphic artwork at the time.
Inside of the gatefold, with the more well known art. I prefer the skull anyway. More simple, more to the point. I doubt many would disagree. I'm not normally ever a fan of vinyl that's issued by big labels. It's like buying CD's; it's too generic most of the time, too sterile. But this is actually quality, yeah there's a fucking barcode on the back panel, but it's clean and tidy, and it seems as if some effort has been put in. If they decide to reissue TGSTK I will be all over it.
The dust covers act as the liner notes/lyric sheets etc. When I think about it these days, some of Phils lyrics (especially with this album and then TGSTK) got pretty intense at times, 'Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills' being a great example. Even as a kid, I never took them too seriously, I wasn't an idiot, but I remember the day my friend bought this CD under my recommendation, and his mum perused the lyric book. Fuck, she was not impressed. I mean we were only like 15. She was an uptight bitch, but I can't blame her for freaking out really. Up until that point this friend of mine had been a pretty good kid from what I can remember. We lost touch as we grew up, but last I heard, he had run off the tracks pretty bad. Drugs etc. I wonder if his parents blame me for this?
Say what you will about this band, and what has happened over the last decade, but they are still probably the most influential metal band of the 90's. I cried on my girlfriends shoulder the day I watched the news reporting of Dimebag's death, though I'm not sure if those emotions were brought about because of the shitty way he was murdered, or if was because of how fond I was of him. I mean, I loved all of the guys in the band, but I always liked Phil the most, not Dime. There's something about the miscreant, douche bag junkie in Phil that I've always been drawn to. Watch any videos of him these days and you'll see. Such a fucking rocker. I hate the idea of hero worship, but Phil is certainly a guy I very nearly idolize, and the fact that I can admit that, scares me just a little bit.

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