Metal Retrospective: Pantera
Posted by RiffRaff
There are no metal bands that have garnered the universal love and respect of just about every single metal fan on the planet quite like Pantera did. I have met many people who don’t like Metallica and Slayer, I’ve met some that are indifferent toward Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden and others that outright hate Slipknot. Of all the metal heads I’ve met in my life I have never come across anyone who did not say “Pantera is f*cking awesome!!!!!”(emphasis on the exclamation points!!!) Whenever a Pantera song is mentioned or played you will immediately discover who all the metal heads are in the surrounding area in no seconds flat. To call Pantera the ultimate package in metal would be an understatement. They bring everything one would want to hear in a metal band to the table and after that they bring some bonus beer and whiskey.
I’m completely sure that everyone who reads this blog owns(or at least heard) every Pantera album multiple times (not including the ones from their hair metal days) and knows the whole back-story and what became of the brothers Abbot(R.I.P. Dime), Rex Brown, and Phil Anselmo quite well by now so some details have been left out. Here are my thoughts on every Pantera album released. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
The Glam Metal Era
When Pantera was formed in the early 80’s by brothers Darrel and Vinnie Paul Abbott they got their footing in the metal realm in the world of hair metal. Within these hair metal days they released 4 albums. Lucky for me I grew up close to a cool music memorabilia store where the owner was cool enough to track down and sell to me these 4 hard to find albums. If you were to listen to their first album, Metal Magic, you wouldn’t believe that it would eventually turn into the Pantera that you know and love today. The only thing that really stood out on the album that could be associated with modern Pantera would be Dimebag Darrell’s excellent soloing ability and some cool riffs, but when compared to their hair metal contemporaries there wasn’t much going on. Thank God for forward progress.
For their follow-up album, Projects in the Jungle, there was a line-up change that introduced a new vocalist, Terry Glaze, and a new bass player know then as Rexx Rocker(guess who that is 😉 ). While still very much a hair metal album new styles of metal were starting to be introduced such as the popular at the time Thrash metal style. The album was much heavier than their previous release and some staples heard in Pantera‘s well known releases started to pop up as Vinnie Paul’s drumming skills increased and were a lot more cleaner and precise this time around and Dime’s signature guitar playing style started to take form as he lets loose doing crazy bends, dive-bombs, thrashy riffing, and blues infused soloing. Rex Brown’s pick attack with his bass guitar also started to shape the heavier side of Pantera as he was able to keep up with Vinnie Paul in the fast rhythm section.
The next record from Pantera is called I am the Night and with a bit cleaner production, it is a continuation of the sound that was started on Projects in the Jungle. It was about this time in their career where the music press started taking notice of them and their fame started to pick up. I am the Night is one of the more rare Pantera albums with about only 25,000 copies in circulation( 🙂 ). The band filmed a video for the lead single of the album, “Hot N’ Heavy”.
And with the follow-up to I am the Night, the Pantera we all know and love begins its first steps into their glorious metamorphosis. For the album Power Metal following the loss of their vocalist Terry Glaze, Pantera struck heavy metal gold and found a new metal brother in Phil Anselmo. With the inclusion of Phil the vocals, while still very glam metal styled, took on a harder edge. With the harder vocals, the music also took a turn for the heavy. More persistent on Power Metal is a heavier thrash metal feel, but with some great work in the rhythm department they were able to incorporate a heavy groove into their music, another trademark that would stick with them for the rest of the Pantera legacy.