Any fans of the "Far Beyond Driven" album by Pantera? How has it held up after 25 years?
I think it's a good album overall, but not one of the bands best albums. I mean it's not on the same level as Cowboys From Hell or Vulgar Display of Power. Part of the problem is the band is so focused on being as hard, fast and heavy as possible that it feels more style over substance. Because of this, it feels like the songwriting isn't as sharp as on the previous albums. I also feel like people rate it as a great album just because it debuted #1 on the Billboard chart when it first came out or something like that. The songs on the first half of the album are better than the songs on the second half. We all know of the singles like "5 Minutes Alone", "Becoming", "Strength Beyond Strength" and "I'm Broken". There are other good album tracks like "Slaughtered" and "Shedding Skin". The only two songs I dislike are "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" and "25 years". The former being just nonsense and the later being lackluster. I will say they do a terrific over of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" that might even be superior than the original.
I do think the performances of the band members are good and tight. However, my only two gripes are that this is where Phil Anselmo starts to scream more than sing and Dimebag Darrell doesn't solo as much as he does on the previous albums (though he has plenty of memorable riffs). Vinnie Paul is still a beast on the drums (and certainly proves it on this album) and Rex Brown does some fine bass work (like in 5 Minutes Alone for example).
So while the album has its flaws, it still rocks hard and there are still plenty of memorable tracks. It may not be the finest album Pantera has released, but it's still worthy of recognition.