Far Beyond Driven is the seventh album by heavy metal band Pantera. The album was released on March 15, 1994 through East West Records. It is considered one of the most extreme albums ever to debut at #1 in the US.
The album's original artwork (a drill bit impaling an anus) was quickly replaced with a new image, depicting a skull impaled with a drill bit. Copies of the original version with the banned artwork are now quite rare and fetch high prices in record stores and in auctions.
Far Beyond Driven took Pantera's music to an even heavier and more extreme style than on previous releases; settling for a continuous, slow chugging, mid-tempo groove throughout the album. Much of the shift was due to Dimebag Darrell's more down-tuned and heavier sludgy playing style.
Anselmo's lyrics on the album were far more personal than on the previous albums. Songs such as 'Becoming' and '25 Years' appear to be about Philip Anselmo's early life.
In the liner notes of the album, all the songs' lyrics are printed apart from the cover of "Planet Caravan". The somewhat defensive liner note reads:
"This is a Black Sabbath song off of the Paranoid album. So don't freak out on us. We did the song because we wanted to. It has nothing to do with the integrity of our direction. It's a tripped out song. We think you'll dig it. If you don't, don't fucking listen to it. Thanks. On behalf of the rest of Pantera, Phil Anselmo '94".
This was the first Pantera album with Darrell being called "Dimebag Darrell" and not "Diamond Darrell," although in Vulgar Videos he is referred to as "Dimebag".
A limited edition box set released in Australia and New Zealand contained two copies of the album, with both the original and new artworks.
The Japanese and Driven Downunder Tour '94 Souvenir Collection editions both contain a bonus 13th track. The track ,'The Badge' is a 'Poison Idea' cover.
The album is referenced in the Machine Head song "Aesthetics of Hate", the third track from the 2007 album The Blackening.
The track 'Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills' is a reference to the song 'Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine' on Ted Nugent's album Weekend Warriors.
The track "The Badge" features quotes from the 1976 film Taxi Driver.
The album features a cover version of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" as the closing track, which reached #21 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and #26 on the UK Singles Chart. The album's fourth track and first single, "I'm Broken", reached #19 on the UK Singles Chart.
Rolling Stone (5/19/94, p.103) - 4 Stars - "…a kind of aesthetics of thud…the real art smolders in the noise itself…"
Entertainment Weekly (4/1/94, p.54) - "If you're burned out on raging young men spewing aggression atop jackhammering drums and grinding guitars, then pass on Pantera. But if you've still got a yen for that sort of fare, than you can't do much better than this slab of metallic mayhem." - Rating: B+
Melody Maker (4/2/94, p.35) - "Like great techno, it's utterly flawless music, free of any error, minimal and animal enough to make a screaming bloody mess of the head."
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