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Music / Pantera

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The Cowboys from Hell.
Left to right: Rex Brown, Phil Anselmo, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell.
Related Acts:
  • Rebel Meets Rebel (Dime, Rex, and Vinnie)
  • Damageplan (Dime and Vinnie)
  • Down (Phil and Rex)
  • Hellyeah (Vinnie)
  • Superjoint Ritual (Phil)
  • Arson Anthem (Phil)
  • Necrophagia (Phil)
  • Kill Devil Hill (Rex)
  • Child Bite (Phil)
  • Scour (Phil)
  • Phil Anselmo and The Illegals (Phil)
  • Down (Phil)
"Can't you see I'm easily bothered by persistence?
One step from lashing out at you...
You want in to get under my skin and call yourself a friend?
I've got more friends like you, what do I do?"
— "Walk"

Pantera was one of the most popular and influential Heavy Metal bands of The '90snote , from Texas. Starting as a Hair Metal band, they changed their style after replacing original singer Terry Glaze with Phil Anselmo in 1987. They disbanded in 2003 after a long period of infighting, and any hope of a reunion was dashed after the murder of guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott in December 2004. In the years afterward, Anselmo and Brown occasionly floated the idea of a "tribute" tour where they and Vinnie would play with various metal guitar luminaries standing in for Darrell, but a combination of Vinnie not wanting to play Pantera songs without his brother and his holding one of the strongest grudges in heavy music squashed those plans, which were then permanently dismissed when Vinnie died in June 2018.

However in 2022, Anselmo and Brown announced that they would be reuniting to perform a tour in 2023, with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante taking the roles of guitarist and drummer respectively.


Note that up to Cowboys from Hell are considered, in general consensus, Canon Discontinuity (even by the band).

  • 1983: Metal Magic
  • 1984: Projects in the Jungle
  • 1985: I Am the Night
  • 1988: Power Metal

Albums after the change in style:

  • 1990: Cowboys from Hell
  • 1992: Vulgar Display of Power
  • 1994: Far Beyond Driven
  • 1996: The Great Southern Trendkill
  • 1997: Official Live: 101 Proof [Live Album]
  • 2000: Reinventing the Steel

Band members: (All former)

  • Phil Anselmo: lead vocals (1986-2003)
  • "Diamond" (pre-1992)/"Dimebag" (post-1992) Darrell Abbott: guitars, backing vocals (1981-2003; died 2004)
  • Rex Brown: bass, backing vocals (1982-2003)
  • Vincent "Vinnie" Paul Abbott: drums, percussion (1981-2003; died 2018)
  • Terry Glaze: lead vocals (1982-1986); backing vocals (1981-1982); rhythm guitar and keyboards (1981-1986). Credited as "Terrence Lee", starting with Projects in the Jungle.


  • Abusive Parents: Phil had a pretty rough childhood due in no small part to his physically and emotionally abusive father, which provided the inspiration for songs like "25 Years."
  • Angrish: Anselmo sounds like he's losing his mind in "Good Friend and a Bottle of Pills". By the final section he's launched into an Atomic Cluster F-Bomb, nothing resembling coherence left.
  • Anti-Love Song / Break-Up Song: "This Love"
  • The Band Minus the Face:
    • Pantera is an example of a band that benefited from this trope, as Terry Glaze became invokedThe Pete Best and the group became more successful with Phil Anselmo as the singer,
    • Dimebag, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul released an album called Rebel Meets Rebel, with vocals and lyrics provided by country singer David Allan Coe.
  • Band of Relatives: Well, Dime and Vinnie were brothers to say the least. Dime did not want to join Megadeth without Vinnie in the late 80s and Vinnie did not want a Pantera reunion tour without his brother.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "Becoming" has a couple examples, such as "to rise beyond Jesus" and "I'm the Un-Lord."
  • Book Ends: "The Great Southern Trendkill" album is started with a Title Track. "Sandblasted Skin", which is a final track of this record, is started with Phil screaming "The trend is dead!!!"
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A particularly vicious one in "25 Years."
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • Fucking... fucking... fucking... FUCKING HOSTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's so loud, there's a feedback whistle on the mic after he's done. Darrell laughingly recalled in a Guitar World interview that the first time he played that song for his father (a record producer), his dad told him, "Son, people are gonna think something's wrong with the record and take it back."
    • Some high-pitched screams appear at the end of "Drag The Water".
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • Dozens of their fellow metal musicians show up in their home videos. Skid Row, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth, Anthrax, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, Type O Negative, and many more.
    • Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt does backing vocals (screams) on a few tracks on The Great Southern Trendkill.
    • Also, Dimebag played on several songs on the last three Anthrax albums before his death (Phil also guested on Killing Box). This led many fans to call their collaboration "Panthrax."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most their songs contain at the very least one f-bomb. If they don't have it in studio, it'll be tacked in live. Check the Official Live version of "Walk".
  • Cover Version:
  • Darker and Edgier: Initially they were a Hair Metal band that was heavily influenced by bands like Van Halen, KISS, and Judas Priest. But in 1986 Metallica released the album Master of Puppets and Slayer released Reign in Blood; these groundbreaking thrash metal albums inspired Dimebag, Vinnie, and Rex to move the band in a darker and heavier direction. Original lead singer Terry Glaze did not agree with the change in style and left Pantera. Phil Anselmo was hired as Glaze's replacement, and the rest is history. Then they managed to do it again, this time with the whole album of The Great Southern Trendkill.
  • Day in the Life: The Pantera home videos are a compilation of footage (mostly taken by Dimebag and his assistant Bobby, with a camcorder) of Pantera while they're out on tour and performing other official functions. It provides a candid behind-the-scenes view of what the Cowboys from Hell are like when they're not onstage. Pretty much everyone who has watched the videos agrees on this: those guys would have been fun to party with.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Phil can be this at times. Check out his "tour" of his tent in Russia from the Vulgar Video DVD.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their glam metal albums from The '80s are, of course, a no-brainer. But 1990's Cowboys From Hell also has some of this. The songs are a bit more restrained and "playful" than on later albums, and it's the only one of their canonical albums to use standard tuning (the remaining four would be tuned a quarter step down).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Floods" from The Great Southern Trendkill is about a great flood that destroys mankind.
  • Epic Rocking: "Cemetery Gates," "This Love", "Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks", "Suicide Note," "Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)", "Floods", "It Makes Them Disappear", "Avoid the Light".
  • Fading into the Next Song: "The Underground in America" fades into "(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin".
  • Flash In The Pan Fad: Mocked in "The Great Southern Trendkill".
    Buy it at a store,
    from MTV to on the floor
    You look just like a star,
    it's proof you don't know who you are
  • A God Am I: "Becoming" is described from this point of view.
  • Greatest Hits Album:
    • Reinventing Hell. (2003)
    • The Word Salad Titled Far Beyond The Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits (2003) includes two songs not featured on the standard editions of their proper albums: One is an original, "Immortally Insane", and the other is a Cover Song, "The Badge". These were not new songs; Immortally Insane was on the Heavy Metal 2000 soundtrack and The Badge was on the import of Far Beyond Driven and was also on The Crow soundtrack.
    • In 2010 the album 1990-2000: A Decade of Domination was released. This greatest hits album actually features less tracks than previous greatest hits album. The reason for this is so that the album could be sold at Walmart, which refuses to sell music albums with the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" label, so the album omits some of Pantera's more profanity-laden songs.
    • In 2015, yet another greatest hits album was released. This one was called History of Hostility.
  • Groove Metal: Considered one of the pioneers of this subgenre, although the heavy, stomping riffs of Cowboys from Hell were heavily influenced by the Metallica albums Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets.
  • Hardcore Punk: Phil being an avid punk rock fan, which influenced his lifestyle.
  • Harsh Vocals: Phil codified the gravely shout that would become popular with metal bands from the 90s onward.
  • Heavy Meta: "Goddamn Electric" and "The Art Of Shredding."
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "Becoming", obviously
  • Initiation Ceremony: Joining the Pantera crew requires this, as seen in 3: Watch It Go. A new roadie is required to drink out of a bottle with a bachelorette party-style "dickie sipper" straw for a week or else he's out.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Suicide Note Part 1" and "Suicide Note Part 2." Part 1 has a 12-string acoustic guitar, lack of drums, and Anselmo mildly contemplating suicide via slashing of the wrists... Which leads into Part 2, the trademarked Pantera sound, and Anselmo screeching about suicide.
  • Lighter and Softer: Though "softer" might be a stretch, Reinventing The Steel is definitely less negative and gloomy than The Great Southern Trendkill and Far Beyond Driven were.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Type 3 from 1989 to 2003.
  • Macho Masochism: Phil encourages the listeners of "5 Minutes Alone" to headbang on broken glass.
  • Manly Tears: In the wake of Dimebag's death, Phil Anselmo posted a video online in which he pays his respects to his former bandmate. About halfway through the video he breaks down and starts crying.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Phil, depending on who you asked. Mostly to do with him being the youngest member, muscled as all hell and fond of going shirtless. Rex probably counted too, being the most conventionally attractive member of the band.
  • Metal Scream: Phil Anselmo is prone to this, such as in "Cowboys From Hell," "Fucking Hostile", "The Great Southern Trendkill".
  • Mood Whiplash: From The Great Southern Trendkill, "Suicide Note Pt. I" is a morose acoustic ballad while "Suicide Note Pt. II" is extremely heavy, chaotic and aggressive.
  • New Sound Album: Cowboys from Hell.
    • Vulgar Display of Power can be seen as this to an extent, as it perfected the formula set by Cowboys, and introduced the downtuned guitars the band would use for the rest of their career.
    • Even Power Metal can be counted as this. While it was part of their "glam metal period," it actually downplayed the glam metal of the previous three albums, and had some songs that leaned more towards thrash metal, hinting at the Darker and Edgier direction they would take on their subsequent albums.
  • The '90s: Their Growing the Beard period.
  • Noodle Incident: Whenever Phil is questioned about the lyrics to "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills", all he'll admit is that they were inspired by a real event. He refuses to speak any further on the subject.
  • Panthera Awesome: it's in the name!
  • Power Ballad: "Cemetery Gates", "The Sleep", "This Love", "Hollow", "Planet Caravan", "10's", "Suicide Note, Pt. 1", "Floods"
  • The Prankster: The guys in Pantera were constantly pulling pranks on each other, and also on the bands that they toured with. Several of these practical jokes were caught on film and included on the Pantera Home Videos.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "RE! SPECT! WALK!"
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Many fans have expressed their desire to see a Pantera reunion show, with Zakk Wylde filling in for Dimebag Darrell. The only obstacle preventing it from happening was Vinnie Paul, who, up to his death, refused to speak to Phil and insisted that "With no Dimebag, there's no Pantera." As of 2022, Pantera has reunited with Zakk Wylde filling in for Darrell and Charlie Benante for Vinnie.
  • Rated M for Manly: Aggressive, riff-based metal with lyrics about rejecting social norms and generally being badass. They definitely qualify for this trope.
    • They will sometimes subvert this, though, with songs like "Cemetary Gates" and "Hollow." Not to mention several of Phil's songs with supergroup Down.
  • Record Producer: All their nineties albums were produced by Terry Date and the band. (The last was produced by Dimebag, Vinnie and Sterling Winfield.)
  • Religion Rant Song: "Slaughtered."
    • "Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks" is this combined with Drugs Are Bad and Take That, Critics!.
    • "Uplift" isn't technically one, but sneaks a dig at Christianity into its final verse.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Did an instrumental song for an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: As anyone who has seen the Pantera home videos will tell you, these guys loved to get drunk and party. And their female fans were not shy about exposing their assets on camera.
    • Pantera's former manager and producer, Terry Date, has mentioned in interviews that if you hung out with Dimebag, you would be drinking with him. If he offered you a shot and you refused, he'd take it as an insult and make you do two shots as punishment.
  • Shout-Out: Dimebag Darrell's signature drink, the Black Tooth Grin (which consists of a double shot of Canadian whiskey and a splash of Coca-Cola), is a reference to the Megadeth song "Sweating Bullets."
  • Song Style Shift: "Cemetery Gates" starts out with an acoustic guitar, then shifts into an aggressive heavy metal tune. "This Love" goes along the same line, except without acoustic parts - it starts low-key, then the chorus gets aggressive.
    • "Hollow" is this as well, the first half of the song being a fairly melancholy, soft, acoustic number, and the second half involving rapid fire guitars, and lots of shouting.
    • Let's not get started with "Suicide Note"
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The band's road crew and management get more time on the home video releases than the band, and got a lot more recognition during gigs than probably any other band's road crew. In particular, one-time head of security Big Val developed quite the cult following (which led to him getting fired ironically, as Rex would state in his bio that it went to his head and he thought he could sell Pantera t-shirts on his own).
  • Stage Names:
    • Darrell Abbott went from "Diamond Darrell" before Vulgar Display of Power to "Dimebag Darrell".
    • Rex Brown was "Rexx Rocker" before that album, and simply dropped it by its release.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: On Power Metal, Diamond does vocals for "P.S.T '88".
    • Terry Glaze stepped aside one show to let Diamond double on vocals and guitar for a live cover of "Seek and Destroy".
    • Pantera's covers of "Seek and Destroy" and "Whiplash" with Jason Newsted. In the first case, Phil alternated with Dimebag on lines which he had forgotten. For "Whiplash", Dimebag gave him his guitar and did all the vocals himself.
  • Stop and Go: "Cemetery Gates" and "Psycho Holiday".
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Their cover of "Planet Caravan" by Black Sabbath.
    • "Suicide Note Part I" from The Great Southern Trendkill. Part II? Not so much.
  • Take That!:
    • "No Good (Attack the Radical)" from Vulgar Display of Power is an attack on violent racists, specifically referencing the Ku Klux Klan, among others.
    • Some of their songs are basically "The Reason You Suck" Speeches set to music. "Mouth for War" and "Walk" are two prominent examples.
  • Take That, Critics!: "War Nerve" from The Great Southern Trendkill directly attacks the media and music critics.
  • Trash the Set: They are really, really fond of destroying backstage areas and hotels, as seen on the home videos. Also showed Dimebag taking a sledgehammer to a friend's car just for a laugh (and he could afford to buy him a new one). Darrell was well known in the Dallas area for doing donuts and ramp-jumping limousines, which the rental company didn't mind as he always replaced the damaged cars with a newer model.
  • Trope Codifier/Trope Makers: Arguably of Groove Metal. Whether they or Exhorder are the Trope Maker is a hotly debated topic in the metal community, and it's very wise to leave that question at that. note 
  • Uncommon Time: The verses of "I'm Broken" are in 7/8.
  • Villain Song: "Cowboys From Hell".
    Bad guys wear black
    We're tagged and can't turn back
    You see us comin'
    And you all together run for cover
  • Vocal Evolution: Phil started out sounding like a cross between Rob Halford and "Justice"-era James Hetfield (with hints of a Southern accent). Thanks to the effects of heroin addiction and screaming / growling on a regular basis without any proper technique, his voice became deeper and more gravelly throughout the '90s. This is especially noticeable when comparing his clean singing voice on older ballads like "Cemetary Gates" to his voice on later ones like "Floods."
  • Word Salad Title: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits, which of course consists of words from their previous four album titles strung together.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: Played straight, sans gun, in "Walk:''
    Re! Spect! Walk!
    Are you talkin' to me?
    Are you talkin' to me?
    Are you talkin' to me?
    No way, punk!