PANTERA: The history of the group

Pantera in the early to mid-90s all vestiges of the 80s metal scene exploded, almost single-handedly demolishing any notion that hair metal, speed metal, power metal, and the like.

The Texas band had actually been one of those '80s metal bands, playing pretty unsuccessful (and later disowned) glam-inspired music for much of the decade.

 

PANTERA

PANTERA

PANTERA: The arrival of Anselmo

The about-face came with the addition of singer Phil Anselmo, and the turning point was the band's debut, Cowboys from Hell (1990). The mainstream breakthrough of Pantera Next came with Vulgar Display of Power (1992), their second major album, which propelled the band in the foreground of the metal scene, alongside veteran bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, as well as his emerging colleagues Sepultura and White Zombie.

When Pantera launched Far Beyond Driven (1994), after two long years of touring they were the metal group Country's Most Popular: The new album debuted atop the Billboard Top 200 as the first single, “I'm Broken,” was released on a massive scale.

 

PANTERA: self-destruction

The great southern trend at the height of their popularity and influence, Pantera began to self-destruct. Less than two months after the release of The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) - an album filled with allusions to drug addiction and personal destruction - Anselmo overdosed on heroin after a return gig in Texas, and while tensions were mounting between him and his comrade.

members of the group, he began to engage in a growing list of side projects that took him away from Pantera . A live album, Official Live: 101 Proof (1997), was compiled for release when it became apparent that no new studio album was coming anytime soon.

PANTERA: the last album and the end of the group

A final studio album resulted, Reinventing the Steel (2000), but that was more or less all for Pantera briefly reunited. The band members went their separate ways again, forming groups such as Damageplan, Down, and Superjoint Ritual.

The end of Pantera then became official on December 8, 2004, when guitarist Dimebag Darrell was murdered on stage by a deranged fan.

 

 

This high-profile murder shone the spotlight on Pantera for a long time, and in the midst of all the emotional outpourings and tributes, a consensus emerged: in retrospect, there was no largest metal group from the early to mid-90s.

Pantera inspired a legion of rabid fans whose style often referred to as "groove metal" has stood up to all of the prevailing trends of the day - from hair metal and grunge to nu-metal and rap-metal - and remains singular to this day, as defined by Anselmo's vocals as well as Dimebag's guitar.

 

PANTERA: COWBOYS FROM HELL 1990

PANTERA: COWBOYS FROM HELL 1990

PANTERA COWBOYS FROM HELL 1990

A major Pantera album

Although Vulgar Display of Power remains the best and best album of Pantera , Cowboys from Hell was the creative breakthrough that set the stage for its conception.

Not only were his demos responsible for signing Pantera on a major label, but his new musical outlook also gave them a much needed blank slate to conquer the 1990s and, above all, erase their failures of the 1980s.

These failures were cataloged across no less than four independently released albums, filled with largely derived and totally unimpressive hair metal, and only the fourth of them counted even with recently installed lead singer Phil Anselmo, whose broader influences and unstoppable energy cannot be underestimated to alter Pantera's fate.

As a "new guy" entering the island world of the Texans, Anselmo made only provisional contributions to this fourth Pantera album, Power Metal 1988, but its incremental heaviness and titular statement of intent nonetheless foreshadowed the wholesale reinvention that would effectively be crystallized by Cowboys from Hell.

Here, finally, virtuoso Diamond guitarist (soon to be renamed Dimebag) Darrell Abbott was finally inspired to release the rampant Van Halen-isms who had creatively stringed together his formidable talents so far, and established his own unmistakable imprint for the instrument and, by extension, Pantera's signature sound.

This was characterized by an unsubtle mass approach informed by, but not beholden to, recent metal developments extreme, as well as a muscular, groove-loaded riffing style punctuated with squeaky pinch harmonics - as exemplified by the lowered post. -thrash beatdown of the title song, "Primal Concrete Sledge" and "The Art of Shredding", among others.

 

PANTERA

PANTERA

Anselmo gives up his melodic song

For his part, Anselmo was only too eager to decorate Darrell's brutal rhythmic assault with cavernous roars declaiming brash and uplifting lyrics that appealed to all comers.

In the process, he practically abandoned his impressive range of melodic vocals (tied with the great Rob Halford), only reaching those higher registers on "Shattered" (a rather ill-placed return to. the power metal era) and the majestic “Cemetery Gates,” which, years later, would sadly serve as a requiem for Darrell's untimely death.

Not to be outdone, drummer Vinnie Paul almost matched his little brother's night out with hitherto unknown percussive dexterity, Rex Brown not only managed to keep up with Darrell's six-string tour de force, but also bolstered the bottom of the group with extra hitting power.

 

Cowboys from Hell by Pantera: a collective ritual

So, in what can truly be described as a collective ritual of musical catharsis, the members of Pantera are reborn as Cowboys from Hell, simultaneously defining an entirely new subgenre in the process: groove metal.

Indeed, such was the lasting impact of the album that, over time, it received a 20th anniversary reissue consisting of three separate discs: the first contained a complete remaster of the original set; the second contains 12 live recordings, of which seven (recorded at the Foundations Forum music industry event in 1990) were previously unreleased.

The third collected the most important demos from the album (most are very faithful to the versions on the album, although "Shattered" boasts an intro that was later dropped - "Cemetery Gates" still hasn't. the intro he got) plus one never heard from the album titled 'The Will to Survive', which, with its more traditional heavy metal riff and predominant Anselmo melodic vocals, Wouldn't have sounded in its place on Painkiller's Judas Priest.

 

PANTERA: VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER 1992

PANTERA vulgar display of power

PANTERA vulgar display of power

VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER by PANTERA: WORSHIP

THE'one of the heavy metal albums most influential of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is exactly what it says: a raw, pulverizing, and incredibly intense portrayal of the naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and subjects them to submission.

Even the "ballads", "This Love" and "Hollow", have very strong and aggressive chorus sections.

Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo rejects any further attempts to sing in favor of militaristic bark and messy roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's riffs to such a thunderous rhythmic backdrop. that Darrell often solos. without underlying rhythm guitar parts.

Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs up early and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around.

the power metal Pantera's thick, post-hardcore sound and outraged, testosterone-infused intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of these virtues.

 

PANTERA: FAR BEYOND DRIVEN 1994

PANTERA Foa beyond driven

PANTERA Foa beyond driven

 

Far Beyond Driven may have been Pantera's best-selling album when it was released, but it's not really its best. In fact, although it reached No. 1 on the Billboard sales charts in its first week (arguably the most extreme album ever made), this incredible feat doesn't reflect its own qualities so much as those of its predecessor. . , Vulgar Display of Power from 1992.

 

Pantera's Vulgar Display or the invention of the wheel

A true landmark by definition, Vulgar Display had seen the Texan quartet literally reinvent the heavy metal wheel in a way not seen since Metallica's rise to fame in the mid-1980s.

But when the time came to follow him, the members of Panterane seemed unsure of how they could possibly get past him, so they decided to try and outdo themselves, which resulted in a less cohesive record that often sacrificed songwriting for outright assault.

Guitarist Dimebag Darrell (recently rebranded from Diamond Darrell, much more glam) has taken it upon himself to ward off the heaviest guitar sounds imaginable, cranking up the volume and dissonance to sometimes painful thresholds with his massive, squeaky riffs.

As a result, songs like "Becoming," "Shedding Skin," and the particularly vicious "Slaughtered" still stand head and shoulders above most of heavy metal, but only die-hard fans can resist their systematic sensory hype. long enough to reach the hooks hidden below.

Indeed, with the exception of the judiciously chosen first single "I'm Broken", the rest of the material (and especially the excessively long songs like "5 Minutes Alone" and "25 Years") generally lacks iron discipline and subdued power captured on the group's previous triumphs.

 

 

 

PANTERA: Continuation and end

In 1997, Pantera released their live album, Official Live: 101 Proof, an overwhelming testament to their power on stage at their peak. Much of it, according to drummer Vinnie Paul, was recorded during the Far Beyond Driven tour when, he says, “things were still killing” - and the band kept on touring and touring.

“They were all pretty much the same, but mostly Dime,” says longtime Pantera producer Terry Date. “It was his # 1 passion to wake up every day and perform live or perform in the studio. "

 

Terry Date no longer follows Pantera…

For his part, Date wasn't interested in the 2000s production of Reinventing the Steel - not because he felt the band was on their last legs but simply because his liver couldn't take it anymore.

“I'm older than them and just couldn't keep up,” the producer laughs. “With these guys, Black Tooth [the band's signature drink - a glass of Crown Royal with a hint of Coke] is a regular ritual.

Every 20 minutes or so you all have to stand in a circle and come down. As soon as everyone's head was turned, I threw it over my shoulder. But Darrell would see that, and he'd make me do a double. It was like, 'Take your medicine now, or you'll be a lot sicker later!' "

It was just as good that Date felt it was time to step down, because Darrell and Vinnie Paul wanted to take the reins themselves anyway.

 

Reinventing the Steel by Pantera

Co-produced by the Abbott brothers with Sterling Winfield in Darrell's new home studio, Reinventing the Steel more than met the spray standards set by their previous records, as evidenced by notable tracks like "Revolution Is My Name," "Yesterday Don 't Mean Shit' and 'Goddamn Electric', a tribute to the power of heavy metal itself with a guest solo from Slayer's Kerry King. “This album is one of my favorites - That and Vulgar,” Rex Brown says.

Paul and singer Phil Anselmo also have a lot of love for Reinventing the Steel, not only because of the quality of the music but also because the experience of making the album was so much more positive than Trendkill's.

"I felt like things had turned out," said Paul, recalling Reinventing the Steel.

 

“I felt like Phil had discovered some of these demons and maybe there were people around him who wanted to help him instead of going the other way. We kind of wanted to go back and really grab some of the things people loved the most about Vulgar. and Cowboys, and Phil's exact words were that he wanted to make a record that was “more anthemic”, lyrically.

More stuff people could sing along with. Dime spent a lot of time in the studio with Phil working with him on his vocals, arrangements and melodies. "

“I had sort of cleaned up my act,” Anselmo says. “I had a new fire lit under my ass. Dimebag and I were very close to this one. I showed up to the jam sessions, and I think they were impressed with how I was doing.

 

 

I wasn't all screwed up constantly. was a breath of fresh air. I guess I handled the pain better at the time, and if I used it was minimal and very irregular. But there was a little renewed brotherhood. There was a renewed sense of fun with songwriting. I spent a lot of time at Dimebag on this race. I remember her mother passed away when we were making this album from cancer.

I was a coffin carrier at the funeral. So that was a bond someone's mom goes through and that's a great thing. Especially her. She's been a big part of their life, in my life, and in Rex's life. It was a big problem. I was there for that. I love this record. "

 

Unfortunately, the good vibes don't last for Pantera

Unfortunately, the good vibes wouldn't last. Rather, bad luck seemed to follow Pantera after the album's release.

First, the band had to cancel a whole series of US dates in 2000 after Anselmo broke two ribs in a freak accident when he slipped and fell while working on the House of Shock, the Halloween haunted house he co-founded in New Orleans.

 

 

Then, just as Pantera was meeting in Dublin to begin a European tour, the terrorist attacks of September 11 occurred. After canceling the tour, the Abbotts retired to Arlington and Anselmo began work on Down's second album, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, with Brown, who had joined the group in 1999.

“Philip and I wrote a bunch of stuff for the Down album,” says Brown. “We just wanted to release the Down record and play a few shows with it. And I really liked making this album, but I didn't know then what the consequences would be. I had no idea what the impact of Down would be on the other two guys. And I never thought in a million years that we wouldn't pull ourselves together. "

While it would be unfair to blame Pantera's disappearance directly on Down, it's clear that the project - along with many other Anselmo projects, like Superjoint Ritual - has become another snowball in the avalanche of bad. feelings that eventually overwhelmed the group.

Admittedly, the lack of direct communication between the Abbotts and Anselmo, which had relapsed into heavy drug use after the relative clarity of the Reinventing the Steel sessions, had something to do with it as well, as he said / they said. “Salvos that were fired back and forth between the two camps - with Brown caught in the middle - via interviews in magazines including Revolver.

“Really, it was just a complete lack of communication [within Pantera], and the wrong things were said at the wrong time,” said Pantera manager Kim Zide-Davis.

 

 

“Philip doesn't really understand that he has to be careful who he says what, and how people can misinterpret what he says. It got to the point where I walked into the office and Phil was on tour with Down or Superjoint Ritual and had just said something else. Honestly, it was heartbreaking.

“I've spent most of the last three years [with Pantera] working with them every now and then, trying to keep them from falling apart. The brothers were ready to go, as was Rex. But Philip was beyond anyone's control. "

“There was never an official break from the group,” says Paul. “It never officially broke. When we finished the last tour we did, in 2001, we really didn't talk to each other for about a year, and then the Phil's Superjoint thing goes full blast, and then he gets that. thing, and it comes out on Ozzfest and the people in the crowd are obviously going to be screaming, “Pantera! and he would do all those "Fuck Pantera" speeches. “This group is dead. "

We say to ourselves: Where does it come from? News for me. This is really how it all started. We tried to contact the guy. Dime has contacted the dude several times personally. After about a year and eight months or whatever, me and Dime just said, “You know what? Guess we're out of a group, man.

We had better start doing something else if we want to keep moving. I have all these cool new riffs. And that's how Damageplan was born. "

“I remember hearing the news that they were going to create this Damageplan group,” says Anselmo. “I thought maybe it was that side thing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Pantera was over.

I remember calling Vince and he kept expressing how upset Dimebag was with me, so I said, 'Fuck man, I got to call this guy. Sure enough, he's a little annoyed with me, and I ask him, "Well, what's going on with this Damage plan thing?" And he said, 'Well, that's the direction we're going to take, man.' So I said, "Come on, man. Dude, we can keep pushing Pantera forward. "

 

 

 

I guess he didn't. I can't blame him. Looking back, I fully understand where they come from. I understand, man.

“I regret what I said,” Anselmo admits of his anti-Pantera, anti-Abbott comments on stage and in interviews during this time.

"But, man, I couldn't even tell you what I said." I have no recollection of the Superjoint days. Everything is so vague. I was devastated. I was consumed with pain. I was consumed with what comes with the pain, the addiction. .. Methadone, heroin, Soma, Xanax, that huge cocktail of fucking pills.

I was an animal, a wounded animal. I was hitting anyone and you just know how they say you hurt the ones you love the most "That definitely applies. I hurt my whole family. I hurt my best friends. I hurt my band because I was in pain and what you feel is what you put on. This is the situation I was in, and, yes, it's a fucking regret. "

While Pantera may never officially break up, with Dimebag Darrell's untimely death, the group he and his brother founded are dead. Which doesn't stop just about every Pantera fan from periodically wondering if Pantera would have reunited if Darrell was still alive.

 

«C’est une question à laquelle il est impossible de répondre car cela n’arrivera jamais», dit Paul. « Mais en fin de compte, quand nous sommes partis et avons fait l’aventure Damageplan, nous avions fermé le livre sur Pantera. Nous étions comme, nous avons donné tout ce que nous avons à cela. Si ce gars va chier sur nous comme ça , et c’est le genre de respect que nous obtenons, alors nous en avons terminé.

We have millions of fans, they're confused, and they don't know what's going on. This business is not at all Without going into a full personal level, there has been a lot of crap done to us. We weren't interested in continuing. People who are drugged and that kind of shit leave a fucking trail of destruction. They don't even realize all the fucking hearts they've broken, all the lives they've ruined, all the devastation.

Then if they can manage to do it at the end of the day and somehow come clear somehow, they expect everyone to give them a big hug and say, " Dude, glad you did, brother. Maybe some people can get past that, but we were pretty exhausted and called it one day and moved on. "

For his part, Anselmo likes to think that the comrades of the group could have made amends. “Don't go too far into Never Land,” he says, “but if Dimebag was still alive, trust me, I think after my back surgery [in 2005] and I got better, physically, mentally - it all goes together - and - I think we would have reunited, that's for sure.

And does a lot of stuff, tours, new records, all, but I guess it's not. I think there would have been at least some forgiveness, some understanding, and some healing. I really do. "

Brown, too, imagines a similar scenario. “Maybe somewhere down the road we would have it sorted out - the four of us get together in a room and fight each other or whatever,” he says.

“We can't do this now. All we can do now is move on and do our best and try to preserve the legacy that we have built, and at least keep Dime's musical legacy alive. "

Dime's musical legacy lives on. With the exception of the group's first four self-released records, Pantera's albums are still in print - Cowboys from Hell was remastered and reissued in an elaborate three-disc edition in 2010, and Vulgar received a treatment. similar reissue in 2012.

And unlike so many metal records from the same era, the music still sounds remarkably relevant. The fact that it is not dated is certainly a testament to Pantera's musicality as well as the heart of the band.

“We're never going to see a guitarist with that kind of creativity and that kind of passion for their instrument for a long, long time, if ever,” Date said to himself. “There have been very, very few in history, and he was one of them.

When you combine that creativity and passion with the way he communicated with his brother, and the way others all clicked, the chemistry between them was special. It's so rare to have this combination of all of these elements coming together, and I think their legacy is that they did it the way it was meant to be done. They believed in every drop of what they did. "

 


 

Eric CANTO Photographer: Concert photos, portraits, album covers.

 

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