Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers – drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell – along with vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brownjoined the band the following year, replacing the original unofficial bass guitarist Tommy D. Bradford. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in 1987. With its fifth album, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced a groove metal sound. The sixth album, 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power, exhibited even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
Tensions began to surface amongst the band members when Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995, which nearly led to his death in 1996 following an overdose. These tensions resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) to be held separately. The ongoing tension lasted for another seven years, in 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 began work on several side projects, including Down in which Rex Brown joined as well. On December 8, 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a deranged fan during a Damageplan concert in Columbus, Ohio, permanently ending hopes for a reunion. Vinnie Paul is currently a member of Hellyeah. Philip Anselmo is currently the frontman for Down, Superjoint Riutal, Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals as well as several other side projects. Rex Brown is currently the bassist for the band Kill Devil Hill that once featured Vinny Appice on drums, best known for his work with the bands Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell.
The band members cited 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”, 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.
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. For more info on Pantera click here.