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Rollins Band: Get Some Go Again

Album: Get Some Go Again
Label: Dreamworks

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It's easy to bag on Pantera for its hair-metal roots—especially when the band is so hell-bent on suppressing them while voicing its abhorrence of all things trendy—but at least it's stuck to the brutal, crushing, economical sound that eventually got it where it is. Still, trends or no trends, commercial considerations or no commercial considerations, Pantera's dull roar sounds almost quaint on the new Reinventing The Steel. Sure, the band deserves a certain amount of respect for not feebly aping Korn or its myriad rap-informed offshoots. But there's no point in praising Pantera for what it hasn't become; what it's remained is thuggishly monotonous. For a band with no sense of irony, Reinventing The Steel's title oozes it out of every pore: If Pantera is reinventing anything here, it's the sort of slick, anonymous, commercially stillborn aggro-metal that wiped out Anthrax's career after Joey Belladonna left. The album is full of defensive old-school anthems, a common hallmark of bands on the decline, including the metal-will-never-die song ("We'll Grind That Axe For A Long Time"), the ode-to-bands-that-rock song ("Goddamn Electric"), and so on. The result is a weak, redundant record, where the huffing and puffing sounds a lot like a last gasp. Speaking of huffing and puffing, Henry Rollins' blustery-he-man persona can wear thin quickly, especially when he falls back on self-made clichés in the you-are-weak/I-hate-you-because-you-are-weak mold. The former Black Flag frontman (and estimable spoken-word performer) seemed to be running out of musical and lyrical ideas on Rollins Band's 1997 flop Come In And Burn, but he sounds energized, musically at least, on the new Get Some Go Again. Having scrapped his backing band and replaced it with the bruising, more simplistic rock outfit Mother Superior, Rollins sounds almost like he's having fun, though that doesn't stop him from spouting such ridiculous lines as, "Your woman looks good / and I'm gonna see her blood tonight" on the vein-bursting title track. (That's saying nothing of the ponderous, 14-minute "Illuminator," which rails predictably against the Hollywood "money train"; Jack Frost co-star Rollins is not among those implicated.) He's such a charismatic performer that his lyrics are never easy to ignore, making Get Some Go Again a clear return to form only for those who don't listen very closely.