Release DetailsLABEL Big Vin Records
RELEASED ON 5/2/2006
Rebel Meets Rebel
posted on 5/2006 By:
Back in 2004, I had the privilege of interviewing Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul during a local stop with Damageplan on the Headbanger’s Ball Tour. Two of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, and they made me and my friend feel comfortable right away. After the usual array of touring, Pantera, and Damageplan questions, it came time to ask about their long-talked-about-but-still-a-mystery recordings with David Allen Coe, which had created something of a curious buzz in the underground ever since news first broke of them in 2000. Well, I tell you, those guys just lit up at the chance to talk about it, and we even swapped a few lines from some of Coe’s dirtier material. Still grinning ear to ear, I concluded the interview and shut off my recorder, when Dime invited us to stick around and actually HEAR some of it. Floored, we obediently handed over our recording equipment and moved to the front of the bus, where Zakk Wylde had been awoken for the occasion. Dime cued up the disc and poured the bus a round of Black Tooth Grins, when that distinctive guitar tone blasted from the stereo. This was a Cowboys from Hell-era riff – and this throaty old country road dog putting his stamp on it. We were in awe. Dime turned and saw our expressions and winked at us as I nodded approval. That song turned out to be “Nothin’ To Lose”, the lead track on the long-awaited release that was branded Rebel Meets Rebel. I have to say I’m getting a little choked up as I write this, although I’ve told the story a million times, and will tell it a million more. It’s the best memory I have of the late guitarist, and I couldn’t imagine a better recording for it to be linked to.
Metallica, Kid Rock, Big N’ Rich, Garth Brooks – all have had their go at mixing down-home country with rock n’ roll power. Rebel Meets Rebel makes them all sound like Kenny Rogers (or Styx, for you more rock-minded folk). These guys merge the sounds together like chocolate and peanut butter. The riffs in “Nothing To Lose” could have been lifted from any Pantera album, but the drums are straight rock, and Coe’s voice brings you right to the honky tonk. The track “Rebel Meets Rebel” adds Charlie Daniels-type fiddle to the mix, and the hoedown begins. “Cowboys Do More Dope” is firmly rooted in the southern rock school with a smooth mid-tempo groove which, now that I think about it, recalls the ending breakdown riff from “Use My Third Arm”. “Panfilo” and “Heartworn Highway” show off the other side of this collaboration: the former a bit of acoustic instrumental, the latter some straight-up country.
I’m going to cut this track-by-track breakdown short and make summary work of the remainder. “One Nite Stands” is another honky-tonk barburner, and “Cherokee Cry” follows suit, albeit with a harder edge. “Time” and “No Compromise” are just flat out heavy, as is “Get Outta My Life”, which features guest backing vocals from modern day outlaw Hank Williams III. This could have been on Cowboys From Hell, or even Reinventing the Steel, and no one would have even blinked. That classic Pantera groove and precision Dimebag riffing with a hearty dose of fuck-off attitude. The album closes with “N.Y.C. Streets” a primarily acoustic number with some understated electric solos. It’s the kind of closer that helps you unwind from the ride, with a little help from your friends Mary Jane and Jack Daniels.
Rebel Meets Rebel is not genius in structure. What is genius about it is that the parties involved were able to blend these styles together so perfectly. It never sounds forced or awkward. It just sounds right. I can’t help but listen and wonder what may have transpired had Dime been around to see this get released. You know he’d be one happy motherfucker, and I’m sure he’ll be smiling down every time someone spins this disc. I guarantee there will be no more enjoyable listen, on party value alone, this year. Whoever would have thought that the Cowboys from Hell and the man who has written some of the dirtiest songs in history would bring us the feelgood album of the year? This is the fun Dime had, and we can finally share it with him.
posted on 5/2006 By:
It’s been a while coming, but the long-awaited Rebel Meets Rebel collaboration featuring David Allan Coe, Vinnie Paul, Rex Brown, and the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott finally sees light of day. Understandably, if you expected Rebel Meets Rebel to sound like a mix of Southern groove and metal crunch with a little pinch ’n’ twang, and whacked-out lead guitars, you’d be getting exactly what you envisioned. If you expected genius, you’d be sorely found wanting, because this album is the epitome of taking unapologetic pride in Good Ol’ Boy mentality. I was a bit surprised at how brazenly dumbed-down the lyrics tended to be throughout this CD, and coupled with Coe’s sanded voice, it’s not the most refreshing experience in the world. Nevertheless, this is an entirely enjoyable, imperfect release for what it is: boisterous, obnoxious southern rock with the patented, often quirky Abbott songwriting seal placed firmly in its center. Is it groundbreaking? I’m afraid not, but it doesn’t have to be.
For the most part, this is a good album in and of itself, with bare moments of occasional greatness, but there’s very little crossover appeal here compared to what I was anticipating. There’s not much to be heard which will be attractive to average metalheads, because even though it is very accessible, catchy, and well-arranged for the genre, there aren’t many boundaries broken on Rebel Meets Rebel that would appeal to anyone who isn’t already a fan of this kind of music. Unlike the more somber, stoned vibe of Down, Rebel Meets Rebel is mostly uptempo, rambunctiously played yet smoothly executed, with hints of jazz, classical, and a touch of brusque Latino influence on the compelling instrumental, “Panfilo”. Even with these more eclectic nuances added, it merely serves as seasoning to the meat and potatoes ethic of the majority of the album, which is balls-out, rolling in the mud, drunken Southern rock.
It’s all a matter of preference. If you’re a fan of Pantera, Down, and Damageplan you’ve probably already laid your claim to owning a copy of this release, so you’ll more than likely love this no matter what. For those who normally wouldn’t go near anything like this, I’d still say to check it out because Vinnie, Rex, and Dime’s personalities are radiantly celebratory and entertaining, and Coe puts great effort and soul into his performance, with a swagger that can only come through hard-learned experience. Even if this acquired taste is something you might not be too quick to add to your collection, it serves as a fitting tribute to one of metal’s most innovative, charismatic and provocative musicians. Casually recommended for the curious to investigate, mandatory for the faithful, and a sure bet for those of us who already appreciate a pie-eyed good time in music form, I can almost picture Dime’ smiling over this.
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