Book & Magazine Reviews

Rex Brown (with Mark Eglinton) - 'Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 20, 2014    
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A worthy addition to any metal fan's library.

Published by: De Capo Press

Pantera have always done their best to ignore their first three albums with singer Terry Glaze and have even forgotten Phil Anselmo's first album with them, 'Power Metal' from 1988. That was back in the days when they were a hair metal band copying their heroes, Def Leppard, Kiss and Van Halen. Those first four releases have been deleted and are not available to buy anymore. The band have made it apparent that their major label debut 'Cowboys From Hell' from 1990 should be considered their true first album.

With British author Mark Eglinton who has an acclaimed biography of James Hetfield to his name, Pantera bassist Rex Brown dishes the dirt on life inside one of America's most prominent metal bands. Pantera were one of few bands during the metal-unfriendly 1990s that had mainstream success post-grunge. The book is well-written and entertaining, but unfortunately lacks detail in many pivotal areas.

Brown joined the band in 1982 replacing Tommy Bradford, and the early years of the band with Terry Glaze (he replaced original singer Donny Hart) are skimmed over very quickly. When Gaze departed Pantera in 1986 Phil Ansemo didn't join the band straight away, the Abbotts – Darrell (known as Diamond Darrell back then after the Kiss song 'Black Diamond') and his elder brother Vinnie – hired a whole bunch of singers, including Donny Hart, to replace Glaze. When Phil Anselmo, an aficionado of the tape trading underground metal scene, came along he completely changed the sound of the band. Brown doesn't go into enough detail on this important transition. He takes many stabs of Vinnie and talks openly about the band's break down of communication during the early noughties due mostly to Anselmo's drug problems and his growing list of side-projects, most notably Down, which also involved Brown.

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He also talks honestly about his family life and upbringing in Texas, which is interesting, as are the stories during the mid 1990s when Pantera were a true force to be reckoned with. There are some quotes from associates such as former Pantera manager Walter O'Brien, Terry Glaze and others, which add a different perspective to the tale. Like many books of this kind there is very little in the way of music, how it was created and what inspired the songs and such, though Brown does get a little to technical at times referring to his style of bass playing and which bass guitars he has used. At times it reads more like a collection of memories and anecdotes than an autobiography.

If you're expecting anything like 'The Dirt' you'll be disappointed, but '100% Official Truth' is a good book and certainly a worthy addition to any metal fan's library. However, I suspect Anselmo's highly anticipated autobiography could be a far more extreme and less "mainstream" read.

Neil Daniels

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