Pantera: Metal Magic (1983) Music Review.

a Metal Monday post

a 1983 Project post


Imagine an alternate world where your favorite musician has a different influence as a child. How would the music they create be changed? If Gene Simmons was given Hank Williams and westerns instead of Elvis and comic books. If Greta Van Fleet found their parents Black Sabbath albums instead of Led Zeppelin. If Pantera had less early thrash influence and more glam. Wonder that last one no more and subject your ears to Pantera’s first release from 1983.

Most of the Pantera you know is already here. Rex Rocker, with the brothers. A sixteen year old Dimebag Darrell and a nineteen year old Vinnie Paul. Terry Glaze was their vocalist at the time.

To think the band on this album became the Cowboys from Hell is absurd. Everything on this album sounds closer to KISS than the groove metal icons they became. The talent is already here. Raw and following a different influence at the time, but present.


The first song “Ride my Rocket” exposes the KISS influence immediately. Not a rip off of “Detroit Rock City” but the echos are there. Van Halen, Deep Purple, and the aforementioned glam style is all over the tracks on this album. At such a young age though it would be impossible to not have similarities to their favorites.

For Pantera to sound like this in the same year as Metallica “Kill ’em All”, to say nothing of Mercyful Fate it’s blowing my mind to see this band closer to Def Leppard than death metal. It is a great showcase of individuals with talent who have yet to gel into a band.

If this had been the one and only recording from these guys it would be a great memory someone pulls out around Christmas time and says, “remember when we did this?” While not perfect, and fans can understand why this didn’t get a massive reprinting as Vulgar Display of Power or Far Beyond Driven was selling millions. It’s a fun record with historical context. Enjoyable for what it is, and don’t ask it to be anything more.

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