Notes From The Past is a TNF feature dedicated to exploring past trends, genres, and bands of the past.
90’s Month rolls on with Pantera.
Forget what you know about their glam metal days – they’re unimportant. What’s important about Pantera is that they popularized “groove metal”, essentially a slower-tempo version of thrash metal. Releasing essential albums in Cowboys From Hell and Far Beyond Driven (arguably the heaviest release ever to hit the top of the charts), the band unfortunately broke up in 2003, and any hopes of a reunion were squashed when guitarist Dimebag Darrell was gunned down on stage in 2004.
They’ve influenced all of your favorite metal bands – Lamb Of God, Hatebreed, and many others take their overall attitude from the band. Without further ado, here’s my list of Pantera albums ranked – only including their post 1990 output. Enjoy.
Reinventing The Steel, 2000
It might be Pantera’s weakest output, but still has a few highlights – “Death Rattle” and “Revolution Is My Name” are two gems in their discography.
The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996
“Floods” is one of Dimebag Darrell’s best (if not THE best) guitar solo of his career. And Dear God this is one heavy album – tracks like “Sandblasted Skin” will punch you in the face. But it also has a great track like “Suicide Note, Part 1” which is a pretty interesting experiment unlike any the band had done before.
Far Beyond Driven, 1994
The most extreme album ever to hit #1 on the charts, it’s not Pantera’s best. But it’s possibly their heaviest. A few duds here (like the nonsensical rankings of Anselmo in “Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills”) but also contains their most iconic tracks – the angry “5 Minutes Alone”, and live staple “I’m Broken”.
Cowboys From Hell, 1990
The groove metal genre was popularized by this album, which signaled the end of the band’s glam metal days. Though still slightly flawed, it influenced a generation of bands with essential tracks like the title track, “Domination”, and arguably their best song in the 7 minute “Cemetary Gates”. Essential.
Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992
Every fan of heavy metal (and many people in general) recognize the iconic guitar riff from Dimebag Darrell in “Walk”. It’s the band’s finest hour, one that cemented them as one of, if not the biggest, heavy metal band of the 90’s.
And for good reason. Even the lesser known tracks are essential pieces of music history. “Fucking Hostile” is an aggressive call to destroy everything in your path, while the two ballads in “This Love” and “Hollow” are cutting, painful tales of lost love – the former containing some of Anselmo’s most vicious screams.
The pride of Texas, indeed.