It was five years ago this month that Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was shot and killed onstage while performing with his post-Pantera band Damageplan.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Pantera was probably, Metallica excepted, the biggest metal band of the ’90s. Their third album, Far Beyond Driven, debuted at number one on the Billboard music charts when it was released in 1994, which seems kind of crazy in retrospect. Pantera were the heirs of ’80s thrash metal and infused it with some of the more extreme elements of the underground, making them the flagship band for a genre that has since split into dozens of micro-genres.
In many ways Pantera is the polar opposite of the complex, arty progressive metal that wins critical accolades these days (sometimes derisively referred to as “hipster metal”). They were four drunken rednecks from Texas who played about the most unsubtle, bludgeoning music imaginable, and we loved ’em for it (warning: some bad language):