Rebel Meets Rebel - _Rebel Meets Rebel_
(Big Vin Records, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (7 out of 10)
Whether it's an odd comment to make or not, trawling the Internet message boards from time to time I often get the feeling that the metal world as a whole is only now starting to make sense of and come to terms with the tragedy that was the Dimebag Darrell shooting. There are certainly several good reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that never before in the history of a genre so closely associated with violent and aggressive imagery did the reality of its favourite subject matter hit quite so close to home. To say that ours is a genre currently still caught up in a state of perpetual disbelief is therefore probably not all that far off the mark.

Certainly _Rebel Meets Rebel_, the last unreleased recording to feature Dimebag save for the demos to the sophomore Damageplan effort (which rumour has it will see the light of day at some point in the not too distant future as well) is bound to stir up a well of emotions in fans of the fallen guitarist. What's ironic is that musically this release is not so much notable for Dime's signature riffing, but for the handful of ballads that are scattered amongst its contents. Indeed, the much talked about fusion of heavy metal and country music -- ever-present here in the most literal sense imaginable -- is one that misses with greater frequency than it hits. Not taking into account that David Allen Coe's voice is an acquired taste -- especially for the majority of people who are likely to pick up this record -- the lion's share of the album's heavier songs sound as though they were birthed in and should have stayed in the jam room. There are exceptions: "Nothing to Lose" and "Time" are infectious, groovy, and the complete antithesis to the testosterone-addled bullishness of _A Vulgar Display of Power_, yet manage to pique one's attention by virtue of their sheer exuberance. "Cowboys Do More Dope", "Get Outta My Life" and "One Nite Stands" on the other hand, sound like what they started out as: four drunken rednecks having the time of their lives in a rehearsal room. Simply put, it's fun for some, novelty musical hi-jinx for everyone else.

It's on tracks like "Arizona Rivers" and the incredible "NYC Streets" however that both rebels in question hit their stride. The latter track in particular is as honest and emotive as anything Darrell has ever played on his guitar. It's for these moments that _Rebel Meets Rebel_ deserves most of its attention, because it's here where the album turns into exactly what you'd imagine Dimebag's brother Vinnie Paul (who spearheaded and released the project through his newly founded Big Vin Records) intended this release to be: a nostalgic celebration of the life of one heavy music's brightest shining lights, and a man whose talent and passion remains very sorely missed by us all.

Contact: http://www.rebelmeetsrebel.com

(article published 15/5/2006)


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