Book Review: "Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell" (Backbeat Books)



Though the tragic shooting of guitarist Dimebag Darrell will always permeate headlines when it comes to the history of Pantera, the truth, as obvious as it should be, is that this is a band with a rich history, as author Neil Daniels notes in Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell.

This unauthorized biography of the once powerful thrash metal band covers the bands somewhat humble beginnings, from their infancy in the early 80’s through their complete and utter dominance in the 1990’s and beyond, including the sudden death of Dimebag in 2004. Daniels details the bands glam rock beginning (they were called Pantera’s Metal Magic in 1981) with stories of the writing and recording processes behind the bands first four releases, a quartet of albums long out of the minds of probably just about everyone. From there on in, Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell reads like a thin rehashing of the band, one that doesn’t go into all that much detail. While there’s an extended epilogue focusing on Dimebag’s murder, funeral and some discussion about the bad blood that exists between Pantera’s surviving members, there’s VERY little in the way of contribution from any of those said members, outside of a couple of early vocalists.

Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell doesn’t offer anything in the way of big revelations or the like, and for the most part, Daniels take the high road in the telling of this story.

While the definitive biography of Pantera has yet to be written, it’s clear that Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell is not it.

Grade: C

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