From the opening wallop of “Temptations Wings” to the chugging riffs that close out “Bury Me In Smoke,” “Nola” packs a power that equals any other metal album I’ve ever heard. The band doesn’t guite go with the full-scale frontal assault that characterizes Pantera’s work, instead opting for an album that is dark and brutal but more nuanced and abstract than one might expect from a Phil Anselmo-led band. This album would rate high in my book even if only for the music, thanks to the thick, heavy riffs, huge solos, and crunching rhythm section. The music on this album is not especially polished or complex, just driving and powerful. Despite the outstanding music, Phil Anselmo steals the show with what I consider to be his finest moment vocally. Singing, screaming, growling, whatever else you can think of is all here, and Phil does it better than anyone else. Every line is overflowing with emotion, and you don’t need to know the lyrics to realize this fact. There is not a weak song on this album, or even a weak part of a song; this album is completely-filler free. All through it’s a stirring, brooding masterpiece. If you’re expecting Pantera Part 2 you may be disappointed at first, but if you want everything that makes Pantera great and more, “Nola” is the first place to look.