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Pantera

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Pantera is labeled notoriously as one of the five bands who greatly influenced the Metal genre of music during it's incarnation in the late 1980's. Those other four bands being: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth (in no particular order), and Black Sabbath who pioneered the Metal sound. Being labeled simply as a Groove Metal Band, Pantera has aquired a variety of sub-genres to better define themselves: Power, Speed, and Thrash are the main others, along with the more vague definition of Heavy Metal, but at Pantera's inception, the band sported the look and sound of current, in-style Glam Metal. Covering songs by Kiss and Van Halen while playing various clubs around the south-central U.S.. Before becoming a household name, Pantera released four lesser-known indie albums during the 80's. Their first album was titled Metal Magic (1983) on the label of the same name, and was produced by the Abbott boys' father, noteworthy country music songwriter, Jerry Abbott at Pantego Studios. But before this album's release, current bass player for Pantera Tom Bradford was substituted for Rex "Rocker" Brown, permanently.
Pantera's next two albums would be released in consecutive years following Metal Magic. The latter of the two being I am the Night (1985), with Projects in the Jungle (1984) preceeding that album. For Pantera's fourth album, they decided to exchange their glam-metal sound and image for a heavier sound with more depth, and they certainly found that in New Orleans native Phil Anselmo. It was he who added what was missing from Pantera.
Now, their fourth album Power Metal could very well be declared the band's debut album. With all four long-lasting members of the band: Phil Anselmo (vocals), Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott (Guitar), Rex Brown (Bass), and Vinnie Paul Abbott (Percussion). But bands change their line-up all the time, and they were also still under the label of Metal Magic, so it shouldn't really count against them. Especially since the Pantera Official Website doesn't contain the first four albums in Pantera's Discography. Some fans would've loved it if Power Metal was re-released when Cowboys From Hell came out, because it's so similar to what Pantera's legendary sound was.
Pantera led the way for all Metal Bands into the 90's with their "debut" album Cowboys From Hell (1990). Recorded at Pantego Studios under Atco Records, the boys saw the release of two tracks being released as singles. The first being the title track, sharing the album's name, and the other being Pantera's most soulful and heartwrenching song ever, Cemetary Gates. The album should've released more singles especially with songs like: Fan-Favourite Domination, The Art of Shredding, Heresy, or the shortest song (but still one of the heaviest!) on the album Primal Concrete Sledge.
Pantera's second album Vulgar Display of Power (1992) was praised higher than its predecessor was with some fans going as far as saying that it was the definitive "Nail in the Coffin" for 80's metal by changing the fashion-trend to Jeans & a T-shirt. The Guitar Solos composed by Dimebag, specifically in the songs: Walk (often covered by such bands as: Disturbed, Avenged 7fold, and Trivium at live shows), Mouth For War, and A New Level are more evidence added towards Pantera's awesome grasp of music and their own definition of sound.
Pantera's third album Far Beyond Driven (1994) received [i] as much praise as its predecessor. Another, if not stronger lineup of tracks with the same raw, aggressive style Pantera has used for numerous songs before. The song Five Minutes Alone was inspired by a Pantera hate-monger who was heckling Phil during a performance, so Phil told the crowd to beat the shit outta the guy, but the "fan" countered with a lawsuit against them. The fan's father was quoted as saying "You just give me five minutes alone with that Anselmo guy, and I'll show him who's Big Daddy around here." Mr. Anselmo later responded by stating that if he had Five Minutes Alone with that guy, he'd whoop his ass! The song Becoming uses a Digitech Whammy Pedal to create a unique riff, and mostly all of the solo. I'm Broken is regarded as one of Pantera's most famous riffs, regardless of it being a spur-of-the-moment thing off the top of guitarist Dimebag Darrell's head. Shortly after releasing the album -but not before touring- Pantera started to experience Lead Singer troubles. It seems Phil suffered from Chronic Back Pain and used to numb it down with Alcohol, but it was like taping duct tape over a crack in a dam. Anselmo could've opted for surgery to improve his performance, but didn't want to cease touring. So he substituted Alcohol for Heroin to subverse his pain.
Pantera's 1995 release The Great Southern Trendkill is one of their average albums that takes a back-seat to their fame, mostly due to little or no critical acclaim. One track really stands out amongst the others as the song Floods received 15th place among Best Guitar Solos of All Time by Guitar Player Magazine. It has been stated as a "crappy song with a kick-ass solo!" Other songs worth noting are: The Great Southern Trendkill, Drag the Waters, War Nerve (inspired by so-called racist statements Anselmo made at a Canadian venue), and Suicide Note Pt.1&2 (recorded in an unorthodox manner for Pantera as 12 string acoustic guitars and a keyboard were used in the process, along with the exclusion of any guitar distortion).
Pantera was slowly dying inside, with Phil ODing on Heroin a couple of times, and his involvement in side-projects. The future's outlook for Pantera looked fragile, but with three dedicated members remaining to pick up the slack Pantera released a live album titled Official Live: 101 Proof. It contained several tracks from previous live performances of theirs such as: Walk, Cowboys From Hell, Becoming, 5 Minutes Alone, and I'm Broken. Two songs were even merged together to create Dom/Hollow -Domination, and Hollow respectively. There were also two new studio-quality songs included titled: Where You Come From & I Can't Hide.
Pantera's remaining dedicated got members got their shit together and recorded one last album. Going out in style, Pantera dedicated Reinventing The Steel (2000) to their fans whom Phil has stated numerous times to be the best in the whole world! Pantera released two singles from Steel; Revolution Is My Name was the first. Starting out with an ear-splittingly high scale, then into a deep, running and quick rising riff. Revolution was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. The second single -and prominently their last ever- from Reinventing The Steel was Goddamn Electric. This song does the opposite of Revolution by having the outro contain the high pitch squeals from Dimebag's Custom Dean guitar.

{ Coming Soon: Dimebag's Murder }

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