Rock Reads: Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell by Neil Daniels

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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While this book is about Pantera as a whole it necessarily focuses on Darrell "Dimebag Darrell" Abbott, the late guitarist whose playing caused the band to get noticed in the first place and eventually propelled the band to fame.

That doesn't mean the rest of the band gets short shrift but when Daniels chronicles the youth of Dime and his drummer brother Vinnie the slant is towards Darrell's first guitar, Darrell's musical influences and Darrell's friends. This likely would be the case even if Dime hadn't been murdered onstage in 2004 a year after Pantera broke up but everybody knows how the story ends and it is nice here to fill in the backstory.

Even longtime fans may be surprised to find out that Pantera's first album Metal Magic (now a pricey collectible) was a glam rock affair, a far cry from the crunching metal they later became known for, or that the band burned through singers quickly until they asked Phil Anselmo to join.

Fans will read about such things as how signature song "Cowboys From Hell" was written, about Dime's penchant for practical jokes including a prank involving urine and a member of Annihilator, and how rumors of Anselmo being gay circulated when Phil became close friends with Rob Halford. Eventually there was bad blood between Anselmo and Dime and that is covered too.

The terrible climax of the book is of course the retelling of the slaying of Darrell Abbott and three others at a Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio. As the anniversary of Dime's death passes; the legion of fans who revere him to this day will greatly enjoy this book.

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