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Biography

  • Years Active

    1982 – 2003 (21 years)

  • Founded In

    Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas, United States

  • Members

    • Darrell Lance Abbott
    • Dimebag Darrell (1981 – 2003)
    • Phil Anselmo (1987 – 2003)
    • Rex Brown (1982 – 2003)
    • Rick Mythiasin
    • Terry Glaze (1981 – 1986)
    • Vinnie Paul (1981 – 2003)

Pantera was an American band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers—drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell—along with lead vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing Tommy D. Bradford, who was the unofficial original. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums independently during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. In 1989, the band secured a record deal with the major laber Atco. With its fifth album, 1990's Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced the genre, while its 1992 follow-up Vulgar Display of Power exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In addition to their contribution to the groove metal genre, Pantera is credited (along with Sepultura and Machine Head) for being part of the second wave of thrash metal scene in the early-to-mid 1990s.

Tensions began to surface among the band members when Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995; he almost died from an overdose in 1996. These tensions resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) being held separately. The ongoing tension lasted for another seven years, during which only one studio album, Reinventing the Steel (2000), was recorded. Pantera went on hiatus in 2001 but was disbanded by the Abbott brothers in 2003 amid communication problems and their conclusion that Anselmo would not return to the band.

The Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan, while Anselmo continued work on several side projects, including Down, which Brown joined as well. On December 8, 2004, Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a mentally unstable fan during a Damageplan concert in Columbus, Ohio. Vinnie Paul died of heart failure in 2018, leaving Brown and Anselmo as the only surviving members of the band's best-known lineup, as well as its first singer Glaze.

While being a heavy metal band, Pantera's style was considered both groove metal and thrash metal. Pantera's early material has been described as glam metal. The band also has been influential to the development of nu metal, metalcore, and several other movements. They have also been called one of the pioneers of the new wave of American heavy metal. PopMatters has claimed that, "Darrell Abbott's influence on the entire genre of heavy metal is massive; after Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power, every notable young American metal band since has, in some way or another, copied their guitar style from those records: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall… the list is endless."

Pantera toured on Ozzfest as main stage acts twice; the band played at the second annual Ozzfest in 1997 and the fifth Ozzfest in 2000. Over the course of their career, Pantera's members became known for their excessive partying and debauchery, even acquiring an official drink called the "Black Tooth Grin". The "Black Tooth Grin" ("Black Tooth", "The Grin", or "BTG", alternatively), named after lyrics from Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets", is a mixture of Crown Royal or Seagram 7 whisky (or both) and Coca-Cola.

Pantera also adopted a self-described "take no shit" attitude, epitomized in its song "5 Minutes Alone" from the album Far Beyond Driven. According to Vinnie Paul, the song originated when, during a show in San Diego, California, Anselmo was annoyed by a heckler and encouraged the crowd to beat him up. Consequently, the band was sued by the father of the heckler who said he wanted "five minutes alone" with Anselmo to prove who was the "big daddy", and Anselmo responded that he would use those "five minutes alone" with the father to "whoop his ass.

Similarly, the die-hard attitude of "We'll Grind That Axe for a Long Time" (from Reinventing the Steel) is, according to Anselmo, "in a way, our motto."

Aside from their post-glam, thrash metal influences, the band members cite heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath as one of their favorite bands. As a tribute, Pantera has recorded three different covers of Black Sabbath songs (all from the Ozzy Osbourne era). The first was "Planet Caravan", a slower, quieter song planned for the first Sabbath tribute album, Nativity in Black, that eventually became the final track on Far Beyond Driven. The band performed Sabbath's "Electric Funeral" on the second Nativity in Black. A previously unreleased cover of Sabbath's "Hole in the Sky" was included on the band's 2003 compilation album, The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits! Pantera's affinity for Black Sabbath is also shown through the lyrics, "Your trust is in whiskey and weed and Black Sabbath", in "Goddamn Electric". The same song also mentions Slayer, one of the band's thrash metal influences.

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