Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Retroview: Pantera discography

Pantera is, without a doubt, one of the finest bands ever to set foot on planet Earth. I can't speak for other parts of the galaxy, maybe one of the guys from Nocturnus can shed some light on that, but I do know that if you want to experience POWER GROOVE here on the third rock from the sun, you must jam some fucking Pantera.

Dimebag RIP
First, let me address the tragic death of Dimebag Darrel. As you will see from the rest of this post, I am a huge Pantera fan, but I have to be real on this one. Damageplan fucking sucked and you can totally see why someone felt like Dime deserved to be shot for defecating on the corpse of Pantera by starting that band. I mean I can totally imagine myself saying "He should be shot!!"

The glam years: Not on the exam

The beginning: The glam years
Many internet metal nerds would probably spend a lot of time making fun of Pantera's early records which as most of you surely know are unbelievably gay. I am not going to do that because their other records are so fucking sweet and I would rather focus on them. Enough said on that subject.

Fuck yeah dude, look at how much of a badass Phil is. He's all, "You talkin' to me?!" And Rex is all, "Yeah, that's right, what are you gonna do about it?"

Cowboys From Hell (1990)
There are certainly a fair amount of people who think this is the best Pantera album, but I think they are "I only like the demo" types who try too hard to be different. It is definitely totally fucking awesome but it also has some real stinkers like "Cemetary Gates" that keep it from rising to the top. Oh and "Psycho Holiday," ugh, what a fucking turd. That said, the mosh parts in "Primal Concrete Sledge" and "Domination" are ungodly brutal and most definitely the prototype for countless awesome 90s mosh bands like Earth Crisis and Abnegation (for better or worse). Also, the title track might be the best song ever written, I'm not sure. It's either that or "Wake Me Up" by Wham! A lot of people seem to think this record was a big Exhorder rip off, which I guess it sort of is, but the songwriting is so much better that it's not an issue as far as I'm concerned.

The less extreme version of Phil's undercut, popular on females at the time. I'm still not sure what the benefit of shaving the upper neck is.

Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
Now this is where things get REALLY good!! This is when Pantera created a NEW GENERATION OF POWER GROOVE! Also, Phil had one of those haircuts where it's long on top but shaved all around the sides. If you saw Prong, White Zombie, or Tool in the early 90s, you saw lots of these haircuts. Anyhow, from beginning to end, this record fucking shreds. Well, except for "This Love" which was a total puss move. "Hollow" was also gay, slow, and far too long, but the mosh riff at the end is super brutal so it makes up for the rest of the song. But "Mouth For War," "Rise," and "Live In A Hole" are fucking classics. Lots of lame football types liked "Walk," which is a good song and I like it too, but they kind of ruined it for me. But overall, this must be considered their finest release and the definitive Pantera album.

Apparently there is a car called the Pantera. I don't really know anything about that, but this looks like a sweet place to get high and listen to Pantera (probably somewhere in Snohomish County, Washington)

Far Beyond Driven (1994)
When this album came out, I wasn't really ready for it. I think this is where Phil started to come unglued so there are lots of weird, longer songs on here that are obviously the product of an insane junkie. They drag the average down, but this one also has some of Pantera's finest songs such as "I'm Broken," "Shattered," and of course "Strength Beyond Strength" which is definitely one of the very most underrated Pantera tracks. Overall, this album is kind of a mixed bag: Half face-ripping awesomeness, half weird crap that makes you race for the fast-forward button on your AM/FM cassette Walkman. Lots of people I went to high school with would listen to this album while sitting on a rock in the woods and smoking pot and wearing a Starter jacket. In retrospect, I should have joined them instead of writing zines in my parents' basement.

I wonder what the 8 year olds that manufacture these in Bangladesh think they are? They're probably too busy getting flogged by the Blue Grape plant manager to think about it.

The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)
This is another hit and miss record. It has some of their very best songs like "The Underground In America," "Floods," "Suicide Note Pt 2" and "Sandblasted Skin," but some seriously shitty shit that just goes on forever and sounds like the dull ramblings of a self-centered junkie. Which I guess it is. Why is it that drunks and junkies always think that they are so interesting? They just go on and on about whatever trivial bullshit is in their brain, writing what seems to be an endless stream of books, songs, and movies about it. Someone should tell them how gay it is (although I did like the last VOD album a lot). It's certainly not interesting, novel, shocking or noteworthy in any other way. It just reminds me of my parents.

By the way, I was recently watching the Cowboys From Hell VHS, and was startled at how unintimidating Phil was. At the time it seemed like he was such a bad looking dude, but looking at him now he just looks like some surly, white-trash guy that you would see at 7-11 stocking up on Mountain Dew before he goes off to his roofing job. His physique is definitely not impressive at all, which isn't how I remembered it.

Phil's "Look how trve I am" phase was cringeworthy

Reinventing the Steel (2000)
This is sad. With a band as great as Pantera, you would hope that they could go out on a high note, but it didn't work out that way. I tried so hard to like this album, but it's just not that good. They probably phoned this one in, and it shows. Basically it feels like the blueprint for Hell Yeah to me: flimsy, hackneyed riffs and NO POWER GROOVE whatsoever. Disappointing, but what can you do? Just put Vulgar Display in the tape player instead of this.


  1. Most frequently overrated, least interesting and necessary band in the history of heavy metal, not even worth a footnote in a deleted Exhorder Wikipedia edit. Only hillbillies and fat slobs like this band. Fuck those guys.

  2. Seeing "Pantera" among Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Metallica on "Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal" is a thing that makes my blood boils.
    Phil Anselmo launched a horrid singing style / stage movement that still plagues most of extreme metal frontmen. I hate the fact that virtually everyone in "metal community" lick their balls since their overrated guitarist died.
    Along with the "Black album", their "catchy" music was/is just "Thrash metal for girlz"...

  3. i am going to start a Wikipedia page entitled "List of posers." the first two entries will be svein and frank.

  4. add me to that list. i have never understood why people like this band.

  5. 1. Pantera's drumming courtesy of Fattie McFat-Fat is so funny and laughable. In Cowboys From Hell, in particular, it's so audible during the guitar solos since most of them have no rythm guitar overdub behind the solo. He's basically playing a slow hihat-snare drumbeat that would be at home in a polka band, or a slow Ramones cover band. He also keeps his hi-hat closed during most of the time...which sounds so wimpy. Probably cus his leg is so fat that it perpetually mashes down on the pedal.

    2. While I have to admit that the shredding power of the better tracks they did in the early 90s was captivating to me at the time...I have to say that the level to which these dudes influenced shirtless, sweaty, angry white trash dudes was awful. The whole southern thing was a turn off, and Phil's taste for white power shirts was a bit much. When he got into black metal, i knew he's lost his mind.

    3. Phil having the awful undercut or shaved head certainly gave the green light to washed up metallers who were considering a full-on Robb Flynn-like makeover. It also made every dope with a shaved head think they were hard. Phil's arms still look pretty much like wet noodles. who was he kidding?

    4.I thought the guitar tone was cool back then...low and odd. I was like 14 then. Now...I think they contributed to nu-metal as much as the Deftones.

  6. Sarcasm aside, and band members egos/personalities aside, i liked Pantera...and I thought Reinventing the Steel was probably the most solid, no skip songs on a single CD they put out :)...

    It just sucked that meatheads who only knew Metallica and Soundgarden as their "metal" references liked them too :(

  7. hahahahaa. earth crisis and awesome in the same sentence? really? wow, everytime you mention how lame something is, i'll remember that you wrote that. i bet you think hatebreed is "sick".
    also, add me to the list of posers as well. overproduced mall metal, ugh.

  8. i love hatebreed, especially the pre-victory stuff

  9. I think it's funny how there are those bands who will always hold a place in your heart, no matter how poorly the records hold up. I will ALWAYS love early Victory Records stuff like Earth Crisis, Bloodlet...fucking Integrity! I still listen to Integrity.

  10. agreed... i think that "driven" and "trendkill" could be edited into a single awesome cd, and the other half released by D.A.R.E, in middle schools across america to warn kids of the dangers of heroin and steroids.

  11. man, i love bloodlet and earth crisis. those records still sound great today!

  12. Sign me up for that list of poseurs, too. Phil's tough guy vocals are worse than Glen Benton's double-layered old man belches.

    Surprised to see no mention of the mysterious "Anton Crowley" and the hilariously bad Necrophagia music videos.

  13. oh heavens..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHPPR7xxraQ

  14. Fuckin dinosaur metal.

  15. ^^^ Yeah, that one is bad, but I was thinking of the video where they actually videotape the fat drummer choking his chicken.

    And yes, I'm completely serious. Phil has a role in that video, too, I believe; however, I haven't watched it in a while. Can you blame me?

  16. It's all about "Regular People (Conceit)"!!!

  17. I think Pantera was responsible for introducing a lot of hardcore kids to metal. My hang up about metal as a teenager was the falsetto vocals, so Pantera became a good intermediary because they were more complex musically than most hardcore, but with the aggressiveness of hardcore vocals.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Phil wanting to be Henry Rollins converted the hardcore kids.


    They are stupid, no doubt. Phil Anselmo is a moron. Their glam period was hilarious. But that song makes me go AAAAAAAARGH!

    And Hatebreed (especially the record on Victory) and Earth Crisis are guilty pleasures. The ears want what they want.

    Integrity, on the other hand, I'm not ashamed at all to admit that I like them. They crushed, at least until Dwid went completely apeshit and did that horrible "Integrity 2000" album.

  21. I Am The Night> All Pantera albums.

  22. It all makes sense now.

    Unlike some other bands, Pantera was not a "gateway" band. People that liked Pantera were NOT metal fans, they were hardcore fans, gangsta rap fans, Korn fans top 40 fans and the like. And those fans, for the most part, never got into other metal, because being a Pantera fan meant having such a low IQ it made finding good music almost impossible.

    That being said, Pantera did bring some good bands on tour with them, like Eyehategod and Neurosis.

  23. being a Pantera fan meant having such a low IQ it made finding good music almost impossible

    it's hard to argue with this idea

  24. Wait, are you serious about the burn on Cemetery Gates? Because that song rocks.

    I mean, very little face-ripping awesomeness, granted, but it's probably the only ballad they've ever pulled off.

  25. Since I started reading your blog a few months back, it's not often that I disagree with the nearly spot-on commentary, but this is one of those times. Fucking Pantera? Maybe it's me, and that I lived through the Thrash era, but this band was huge piece of shit.

    White-Trash "don't-fuck-with-me" lyrics that motivated millions of jocks to listen to this before important games against [insert main rival high school team]'s Flaming Envelopes or some shit.

    One of the only reasons they gained so much popularity is their appropriation of pot culture. Don't get me wrong--I love weed like I love my metal, but putting pot leaves all over your merchandise is a cheap way to get suburban stoners in your corner.

    Their music can basically be characterized as 2nd rate, overproduced thrash. When I first heard this band, I thought, I've heard someone do this better. I think they were called Exhorder.

    Fuck this lame, white-trash institution. It set metal back a good 10 years.

  26. Wow, a "Flaming Envelopes" reference. Sweet. My favorite team was always "The Disoriented Nude Girls" /oscure SNL reference.

    I've never likes Pantera. I did a whole burn piece on their glam era a while back and could never get into them.

  27. i'll second anything anyone has to say about pantera, but i still can't help but like 'em. yeah, the music's dumb and primitive (at least their older stuff), but that's part of the appeal. strikes a chord with that primate in you. the other part is nostalgia. my '08 self could whoop phil's '94 self's ass, but back then i thought he was the man. i used to practice pulling this face in front of the mirror all the time.

    like lucho, i hate those lead guitar-only solos, but i think vinnie's a tight drummer. the end of "becoming", for instance. how does he pull that off with those porky legs of his perplexes me to this day.

    anyways, back then i couldn't give a fuck about any of the other bands people are namedropping here. one whiff of that break in "domination" should be enough to tell you why.

  28. Please let someone write a bashing article about fucking Pantera. Something like the other side of the coin, of the medal, of the moon, of the piece of shit...
    Just for "par condicio"!

  29. Pantera was the fucking worst, and metal is only in the last few years finally recovering from what this shitty band helped usher in throughout the 1990s.

    Come on, Metal Inquisition. You should 'Inquisition' the guy who wrote this post.

  30. If nothing else, I can appreciate how it took ten comments on a Pantera post to veer into the almighty unsurmountable fuckin' Integrity, by a ridiculous longshot the greatest band of the nineties. The goddamn 28 second long intro on Those who fear tomorrow is a greater achievement in artistic vision, scope and competence than every Pantera song stacked to the moon and back.

    If Pantera brought any hardcore kids over to metal, those must've been some frilly, well smoked and not very interested fuckers (see pot leaf appeal.) There is nothing to be found in Pantera's music that hardcore bands of the time didn't do ten fucking times better, minus the cheese and moronic elementary school lyrics.

  31. Personally I think Pantera fucked it when she stopped being Thor's very large breasted sidekick and transformed into four blokes.

    Totally confused me.

    Why would you want to go from standing next to the world's biggest gimp as he blew up a hot water bottle, whilst his band stumbled through Thunder on the Tundra, to being Billboard Number One with a fairly mediocre album?

    Having said that if you look at an old Thor video, her tits are so big that it does look like she actually has Vinnie Paul stuffed inside her top. Bad stubble and all.

  32. You know when you were a kid and you realized your dad might not be the bad-ass you previously thought he was?
    This post made me experience those feelings all over again.

  33. I admit that I was rocking to V.D.O.P. when it was released, but it all got old fast. Pantera would make a one or two listen "best of" tape at best now. Pantera was nothing but a magnet for knuckle dragging meatheads to come "kick some ass in the pit" and worship at the altar of their leader Phil. I find this page funny but when you slam Voivoid and praise Pantera I have wonder if some burly Pantera fan didn't punch you in the head too hard in the 90s.

  34. let me get this straight... you guys worship limp-wristed dinosaur metal like Iron Maiden and Manowar but don't like Pantera? what's the world come to?

  35. On a philosophical note, at least the dudes in Iron Maiden sort of knew they were limp wristed. And Manowar were (are) bodybuilders. These Texan brocore blowjobs acted as though they're TOTALLY NOT limpwristed and that they got some sort of muscle to flex in front of a screaming crowd of douchebags. Total Profanatica syndrome here.

  36. lolz @ anyone in manowar being a bodybuilder

  37. Manowar have ruined lives with their musculature.

  38. Pantera vocals sound like he got his shit pushed in and is straining to take a dump after. Fudge packing man

  39. Phil had some definition in his earlier years, but I would never have considered him 'jacked'. People see that because he shaved his head and performed shirtless.

    I worshipped 'Vulgar' when I was a kid, but a couple years ago I listened to it again and it didn't hold up as well. There's an undeniable cheese factor with the cock rock guitar solos, somewhat dated production, and silly vocal effects. The lyrics are unintentionally hilarious. I'd still crank "Fucking Hostile" though.

  40. Sergeant D...I worship GENERIC DEATH METAL only... ;-)

  41. Pantera were always terrible.

    However, if you turned 16 around Cowboys from Hell I could imagine you using Pantera as the Marijuana "gateway" drug to superior metal.

    Anyone older just listened to Pantera and was like "Meh, I'm going to listen to Altars of Madness/Autopsy/grind/anything of interest other than Pantera"

    Pantera for most of us old farts is like Lamb of God or Arch Enemy are to you.

    Listless and weak immitations of better bands.

  42. i'm cranking pantera's "power metal" record as i browse these comments. fuck the haters, this album smokes. the title track is better than your favorite song ever.

  43. Phil Anselmo is a classic case of a little guy overcompensating for his perceived "shortcomings". The misplaced anger, his juvenile junkie/daddy issue/self-pitying lyrics, the ridiculous tough-guy posturing, total Napoleon syndrome.

    Plus, he's an idiot. Watch him deliver one of his classic stage rants & you can actually see the empty thought bubble form over his head.

    Dimebag Darrell was a fine guitar player, sure, but seriously, it was mostly just a heavier take on the typical Zakk Wylde/Skid Row-style squiggery with some hillbilly thrown in for flavor. All this fawning praise like he was Ritchie Blackmore or something is silly.

    Pantera's biggest influence was on shirtless dudes with Confederate flags hanging in the rear window of their trucks who like to spill beer on themselves & scream "fuckin hostile" over & over again while looking for someone to punch.



  45. Integrity, Earth Crisis, Bloodlet, etc are NOT hardcore you poseurs. they are metal, just like Pantera.

    Hardcore is Void, SSD, Gauze, BGK, Larm, Negative Approach....

    tisk, tisk, tisk.

    until i read this, i had successfully blocked Pantera out of my mind you dicks.

  46. Pantera are terrible. Listen to Metal Blade Metal sergeant d, rediscover the magic you've lost.

  47. Oh great.The only worse than "more-metal-than-you" guy is "more-hardcore-than-you" guy... although it is a pretty typical mentality to try to delineate what is and isn't hardcore. When I was a teenager and listening to a lot of hardcore, we didn't like a lot of punk bands because they didn't sound like Killing Time or Token Entry...ie. "weren't hardcore". It was arrogant to not see a connection. This amounts to much of the same. Integrity's sound flirted with more metallic aspects, but one listen to any early Integ album, and only an idiot would deny that Dwid's vocals were highly influenced by the likes of Choke and John Brannon.

  48. actually i am more of a "i liked the demo better" guy.

    i have known Dwid, Melnick, and all those Clevo idiots for a long time.

    trust me, Integrity was influnced by metal and will openly admit they play METAL. They are the bastard son of Slayer and Cro-Mags.

  49. im going to start a band called UNDERCUT. its going to have all girls with that haircut shaved underneath and then i will sing and i will have the "Anslemo".

    my band will sing about black power though and we will have the black panthers "fist" instead of rebel flags on all our gear.

  50. Savage^^
    Demo guy!!! Hilarious... touche, my friend. Definitely a lot of Slayer worship going on there though... I would have said a head on collision between Slayer and Neg. Approach but I obviously don't know shit;)

  51. I just wanted to say thanks to Winslow for posting that awesome video. Thanks Winslow

  52. http://cache.imagefap.com/images/full/39/141/141451380.jpg

  53. there is such a thing as 'trend hating' & pantera always brings out these wanna-be hardcore kids by the dozens. Pantera was thrash metal's last evolutionary leg, granted they tried desperately to distance themselves from the genre by labeling themselves *shrug* "GROOVE" metal, lamest combinations since "military intelligence". "Groove" does not have any place in categorizing Metal. Hatebreed is for homos btw.

  54. you are all pathetic
    pantera ushered in metal as new form of rock(even if most of the metal bands, some thrashers excluded) these days that mtv tells u is whats hot in that genre fucking blow....i dont blame pantera for that they couldnt help limp bizkit, and i bet u limp bizkit looked up to athrax doing shit with public enemy, there are plenty of nu metal bands before the crappy time of nu metal-98 on)
    just because ur on a shit site with like minded shit heads who sit on a metal site....but dont fucking get pantera, doesnt mean any of yall are right.
    Go down to dallas
    go to any bar
    start talkin shit about pantera
    see if u make it out of texas without spending a considerable amount of time in a hospital first.

    and as far as them being white trash hillbilly rascist
    and as for being hillbillie white trash, they made more money and they lives were far more exciting than a dumass blogger on a bullshit metal site that fucking hates pantera and his pathetic following of even more obscure people.
    i would never even waste my time commenting if it wasnt for the fact that yall are all retarded...
    fuck you all
    i bet none of you could even come close to playing like dime bag darrell i am fucking sure of it

    so keep sending your angry little messages judging people with no right, and ill sit here laughing thinking how pathetic it is for u to think u can judge when none of you have made multi platinum records, filled thousands of stadiums with people coming just to see u.
    i piss on this site and will never return.
    just thot yall should know the truth.
    thrash lives(independent of ur pointless critics on a pathetic blog)

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  56. If you dont like pantera you dont know shit.

  57. If those jackoffs knew anything about pantera,and they wanted to point out negative flaws about phil,surely they would point out the fact that the very first scream on the great southern trendkill included backup vocals by the lead singer of anal cunt,including many other songs on the album,but providing that they actually knew something like facts,in my opinion sepultura had more influence on bands like limp bizket,korn,rageaginstthemachine,.
    Truth is phil is very successfull,produced an awsome band called crowbar,and has a label ,so i say to you jagoffs ,all the money in the world wouldnt buy a second of trust or one ounce of faith in anything your about