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The original cover for Far Beyond Driven

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Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven (1992–1994)

Pantera's unique "groove" style came to fruition in its breakthrough album Vulgar Display of Power, released on February 25, 1992. On this album, the power metal falsetto vocals were replaced with a hardcore-influenced shouted delivery and heavier guitar sound, which firmly cemented the band's popularity among mainstream and underground fans alike. Two other singles from the album became two of Pantera's most notable ballads: "This Love", a haunting piece about lust and abuse, and "Hollow", somewhat reminiscent of "Cemetery Gates" from Cowboys. The band would play the song "Domination" (from Cowboys) leading into the ending of "Hollow" (what is roughly the last 2:30 of the album version), forming a medley referred to as "Dom/Hollow", as can be heard on the band's 1997 live album. Singles from Vulgar also received significant airplay on radio as did the companion music videos on MTV. The album entered the American charts at No. 44. Pantera hit the road again, visiting Japan for the first time in July 1992 and later performing at the "Monsters of Rock" festival co-headlined by Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath in Italy. It was around this time that Darrell Abbott dropped the nickname "Diamond Darrell" and assumed "Dimebag Darrell", and Rex Brown dropped the pseudonym "Rexx Rocker".

Far Beyond Driven, released on March 22, 1994, debuted at No. 1 in both United States and Australian album charts. The album's first single, "I'm Broken", earned the band's first Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance" in 1995. Driven saw Pantera continue its groove metal approach, while taking an even more extreme direction with its musical style. The album's original artwork (a drill bit impaling an anus) was banned, so it was re-released with the now familiar skull impaled with a drill bit. A limited edition was released with a slip-cover case. Also, a boxed set called Driven Downunder Tour '94 Souvenir Collection was released in Australia and New Zealand to coincide with the tours there. It featured Far Beyond Driven (with its original banned artwork) with a bonus 13th track, "The Badge" (a Poison Idea cover), the 5-track aLIVE and hostile e.p., and the Japanese collector's edition Walk EP, all presented in a special cardboard box with an 8-page color biography.

Pantera hit the road again and toured South America, along with being accepted into another "Monsters of Rock" billing. At that festival on June 4, 1994, the Abbott brothers got into a scuffle with journalists from the music magazine Kerrang! over unflattering cartoon depictions of drummer Vinnie Paul. Then in late June, Anselmo was charged with assault for hitting a security guard after he prevented fans from getting on stage, Anselmo was released on $5,000 bail the next day. The trial was delayed three times. In May 1995, he apologized in court and pleaded guilty to attempted assault and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Pantera continued their tour of the United Kingdom in 1994 and eventually ended it in the United States where the band was opened for by fellow groove metal band Prong.

Band tension and The Great Southern Trendkill (1994–1996)

According to the Abbott brothers, frontman Phil Anselmo began behaving strangely and distanced himself from the band when they returned to the road in 1995. The rest of the band members first thought that Pantera's perception of his fame had gotten to Anselmo, but Anselmo cited back pain from years of intense performances as the reason for his erratic behavior. Anselmo attempted to subdue his pain through alcohol, but this, as he admits, was affecting his performances and "putting some worry into the band." Doctors predicted that with surgery, Anselmo's back problem could be corrected, but that the recovery time could be a year or more. Not wanting to spend that much time away from the band, Anselmo refused, and began using heroin as a painkiller.

Anselmo's on-stage remarks became notorious during this time. After stating at a Montreal concert that "rap music advocates the killing of white people", Anselmo denied accusations of racism, and later issued an apology, stating that he was drunk and that his remarks were a mistake. In 1995, Down, one of Anselmo's many side projects, took off. Down is a supergroup consisting of Anselmo, three members of Crowbar—guitarist Kirk Windstein, bassist Todd Strange and drummer Jimmy Bower (also of Eyehategod)—and Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan. Down's 1995 debut, NOLA, was a success, but shortly after the group members returned to their respective bands, leaving Down inactive for several years.

Pantera's next album, The Great Southern Trendkill, was released on May 22, 1996, and is often considered Pantera's "overlooked" album. Phil Anselmo recorded the vocals for this release in Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor's studio in New Orleans while the rest of the band members recorded in Dallas, evidence of the continued distancing between Anselmo and the rest of the band. In comparison to the band's previous efforts, there was a heavier emphasis on vocal overdubbing in a somewhat "demonic" fashion. Drug abuse is a recurring theme in Trendkill, as exemplified by tracks such as "Suicide Note Pt. I", "Suicide Note Pt. II" and "Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)". "Drag the Waters" became the album's only music video, and likewise, the only track from the album to appear on the band's compilation album. Another Trendkill single, "Floods", achieved acclaim largely because of Darrell's complex guitar solo in the song, which ranked No. 15 on Guitar World magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" of all-time.

Overdose, Official Live: 101 Proof, and side projects (1996–2000)

On July 13, 1996, Anselmo overdosed on heroin an hour after a Texas homecoming gig. After his heart stopped beating for almost five minutes, paramedics gave Anselmo a shot of adrenaline (or possibly Narcan) and sent him to the hospital. After waking up in the hospital, the nurse working in his room said "Welcome back to life, oh and you have overdosed on heroin." Anselmo apologized to his bandmates the next night, and said he would quit using drugs. The revelation of heroin use came as a shock to Vinnie and Darrell who were embarrassed by Anselmo's actions, according to Rita Haney, the guitarist's girlfriend. Anselmo said after which, he relapsed twice and was overcome with guilt.

Some of the band's live performances were eventually compiled in its July 29, 1997 release, Official Live: 101 Proof, which included fourteen live tracks and two new studio recordings: "Where You Come From" and "I Can't Hide". Two weeks before the live album's release, Pantera received its first platinum album, for Cowboys from Hell. Just four months later, both Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven went platinum as well. The band also received their second and third "Best Metal Performance" Grammy Nominations for Trendkill's "Suicide Note (Pt. I)" and Cowboys' "Cemetery Gates" in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The release of their video 3 Watch It Go earned them a 1997 Metal Edge Readers' Choice Award, when it was voted Best Video Cassette.

Also in 1997, Pantera played on the mainstage of Ozzfest alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and Powerman 5000. Additionally, the band played on the 1998 UK Ozzfest tour alongside Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Slayer, Soulfly, Fear Factory, and Therapy?, as well as touring with Clutch and Neurosis.

Around this time, Anselmo ventured into more side projects, such as playing guitars on Necrophagia's 1999 release Holocausto de la Morte, where he went as the alias "Anton Crowley", which combines the names of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and occultist Aleister Crowley. He also temporarily joined the black metal supergroup Eibon and contributed to that band's 2000 release. Another one of Anselmo's "Anton Crowley" projects was black metal band Viking Crown. The Abbott brothers and Rex Brown began their own country metal crossover project, Rebel Meets Rebel with David Allan Coe, around the same time.

Fans of the NHL's Dallas Stars were treated to a raucous fight song penned by Pantera and dedicated to their favorite hockey team during the Stars 1999 Stanley Cup Championship run. Throughout the season members of the team befriended members of Pantera. During a Stanley Cup party hosted by drummer Vinnie Paul, the Stanley Cup was damaged when Guy Carbonneau attempted to throw the Cup from the roof of Vinnie Paul's house into his pool. The Cup landed short on the concrete deck and had to be repaired by NHL commissioned silversmiths.

Reinventing the Steel and break-up (2000–2003)

Pantera returned to the recording studio with Anselmo in 1999 and cut its last album, Reinventing the Steel, which was released on March 21, 2000. Steel debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and included "Revolution Is My Name" and "Goddamn Electric", the latter of which featured a Kerry King outro solo recorded backstage in one take during Ozzfest in Dallas. "Revolution Is My Name" became the band's fourth nomination for Best Metal Performance in the 2001 Grammys. In 2000, Pantera played on the mainstage of Ozzfest alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Godsmack, Static-X, Methods of Mayhem, Incubus, P.O.D., Black Label Society, Queens of the Stone Age, and Apartment 26. In November the band cancelled their planned tour after Anselmo broke his ribs after falling during his eighth annual House of Shock event.

The band once again returned to touring and visited the United States (where they were guest musicians on the show SpongeBob SquarePants in the episode "Pre-Hibernation Week," performing the song Death Rattle from Reinventing the Steel), Canada, South Korea, Australia, and Europe. The tour in Europe was cut short, however, by the September 11, 2001 attacks which left the band stranded in Dublin, Ireland for 6 days as a result of all flights being cancelled. Pantera played their last show in Yokohama, Japan at the 'Beast Feast' festival on 28 August 2001. This would be the last time the members of Pantera performed together. Back home, the band planned to release its fourth home video in Summer 2002 and record another studio album later that year, but neither came about.

Anselmo again engaged in numerous side projects. In March 2002, Down released its second studio album, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, which featured Rex Brown on bass following Todd Strange's departure in 1999. Brown remained Down's full-time bassist until 2011, having appeared on their subsequent release in 2007. Also, in May of that year Anselmo's Superjoint Ritual released its debut, Use Once and Destroy. Vinnie Paul claims that Anselmo told him he would take a year off following the events of September 11, 2001, but Anselmo's touring and record output for both Superjoint Ritual and Down contradicted this. The Abbott brothers were frustrated, and held out for a time, assuming Anselmo would return. However, according to Anselmo, taking a break from Pantera was a "mutual thing" between each of the band members.

The Abbott brothers officially broke up Pantera in 2003, also the year when their "Best Of" compilation album was released (on September 23), when the Abbott brothers concluded that Anselmo had abandoned Pantera and would not return. The break-up of the band was not amicable and subsequently a war of words was waged between the former bandmates via the heavy metal and musical press. The Abbott brothers and Pantera crew members claimed that they tried numerous times to contact Anselmo over the phone to reorganize Pantera, but Anselmo maintains that they never called him. Caught up in the torrent was Rex Brown, who later said "It was a bunch of he said, she said nonsense that was going on, and I wasn't going to get in the middle of it." Anselmo's comment in a 2004 issue of Metal Hammer magazine saying that "Dimebag deserves to be beaten severely" typified Pantera's internal conflicts; Anselmo insists that this comment was tongue-in-cheek, and he was angered his comment ended up on the cover of the "god damn" magazine. This explanation was soon dismissed by Vinnie Paul, who said shortly after the 2004 murder of his brother that he had personally listened to the audio files of the interview and that Anselmo had not been misquoted or misrepresented, but said the exact words which appeared in the article. In July 2004, Vulgar Display of Power went double-platinum, and The Great Southern Trendkill went platinum the next month.

Damageplan and the murder of Dimebag Darrell (2004)

After Pantera's breakup, Darrell and Vinnie formed a new band, Damageplan, with vocalist Pat Lachman and bassist Bob Zilla. The group released their first album, New Found Power, on February 10, 2004. The album was a commercial success; over 44,000 copies were sold in its first week alone and within a year over 100,000 copies were sold. However, some fans felt that Damageplan's material did not measure up to that of Pantera.

Tragedy struck on December 8, 2004. Damageplan was performing in support of their album at a show at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio when, less than a minute into the first song of their set, Nathan Gale, 25, went onstage and shot and killed Darrell. Gale also killed fan Nathan Bray, 23, club employee Erin Halk, 29, and Pantera security official Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, 40, and injured longtime Pantera and Damageplan drum technician John "Kat" Brooks and Damageplan tour manager Chris Paluska before being shot dead by Columbus police officer James Niggemeyer.

No motive has been given as to why Gale killed Dimebag Darrell, but early theories, which were dismissed by police, suggested that Gale, who was reported to have suffered from schizophrenia, was angered over Pantera's breakup and resorted to violence. In a number of interviews, some of Gale's friends suggested that he claimed that he had written songs that were stolen by Pantera.

Aftermath (2004–present)

When Anselmo called in the aftermath of the murders, Rita Haney, Darrell's girlfriend, answered one of Anselmo's calls and said she would "blow Anselmo's head off" if he attended Darrell's funeral. He was buried with Eddie Van Halen's black and yellow-striped Charvel electric guitar (sometimes referred to as "Bumblebee"), which was pictured with Van Halen on the inner sleeve and back cover of the album Van Halen II. Dimebag had asked for one of these guitars in 2004, shortly before he was shot. Eddie Van Halen originally agreed to make Darrell a copy of the guitar, but upon hearing of Abbott's death, offered to place the actual guitar in his casket. Dimebag was buried in a KISS Kasket. Inspired by the hard rock group KISS, he requested in his will that he be buried in one of the famous coffins. Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons said, "There were a limited number made and I sent mine to the family of 'Dimebag' Darrell. He requested in his will to be buried in a Kiss Kasket, as he sort of learned his rock 'n' roll roots by listening to us for some strange reason." Not long after Darrell's murder, Anselmo received a heated message from Vinnie, which (according to Anselmo) "went along the lines that my (Anselmo's) day was coming." Anselmo's rebuttal was that everybody's day is coming and that if his day should end before Vinnie's it would not change anything, except for Vinnie to go through "losing another brother".

On May 11, 2006, the VH1 Behind the Music episode on Pantera premiered. While focusing heavily on Darrell's murder and burial, the episode also detailed the band's glam metal beginnings, the band's perceived rise in its own popularity after the change in musical direction, and the conflicts between Anselmo and the Abbott brothers in the band's later years that would tear them apart. When asked by Crave Music in 2006 if there was any chance of reconciling with Phil Anselmo, Vinnie Paul answered "Absolutely not. That's it." The former Pantera drummer has since begun work on Hellyeah, a collaboration between him and members from Mudvayne and Nothingface. Both Anselmo and Brown have reunited with Down, and supported Heaven & Hell and Megadeth on their 2007 Canadian tour, as well as supporting Metallica on the first half of their World Magnetic Tour.

In interviews in 2009 & 2010, both Rita Haney & Phil Anselmo have stated that after a meeting at Download 2009 they have patched up their differences and are once again on speaking terms. On March 30, 2010, Pantera released a greatest-hits collection, titled 1990-2000: A Decade of Domination. It was made available exclusively at Walmart stores and is made up of 10 tracks that were remastered.

On April 11, 2012, at the Revolver Golden God Awards a new song, titled "Piss", was debuted after being discovered in the Pantera "vaults" by Vinnie Paul. A music video was made for "Piss" and shown at the awards show and, according to Vinnie Paul, this is the only complete previously unheard Pantera track. It was recorded during the Vulgar Display of Power sessions. During a 2012 appearance on That Metal Show, when asked about the possibility of a Pantera reunion, Vinnie Paul said it would be possible if Dimebag Darrell were still alive. Despite being proud of his Pantera years, however, he indicated that there were no plans for a reunion, adding that "some stones are better left unturned." On March 22, 2014, Pantera released a 20 year anniversary edition of Far Beyond Driven. All songs were remastered, and as a bonus, they released a live recording of their 1994 Monsters of Rock performance.

Public comments made by Phil Anselmo following the shooting suggested that he had considered reuniting with the band prior to Darrell's death. However, one year after the murder Vinnie stated in an interview that this reunion was never going to happen. Comments about a potential one-off reunion concert often resurface periodically, with Zakk Wylde often being suggested as the stand-in replacement for Darrell. Vinnie, however, has been strictly resistant to the idea.

 

 

Attribution

Pantera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panterahttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/...