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Pantera

Pantera circa 1997
Left to right: Dimebag Darrell (lead guitar, backup vocals), Vinnie Paul (drums), Phil Anselmo (lead vocals), Rex Brown (bass guitar, backup vocals)
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Background information :

Origin : Arlington, Texas , United States
Genres : Groove metal, heavy metal, thrash metal, glam metal (Early) Years active : 1981-2003
Labels : Metal Magic, Atco, EastWest, Elektra
Associated acts : Damageplan Down Superjoint Ritual Hellyeah, David Allan Coe
Website : www.pantera.com
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Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas . Formed by the Abbott brothers, Vinnie Paul (drums) and Dimebag Darrell (guitar) in 1981,bassist Rex Brown would join in late 1981 with vocalistTerry Glaze. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera had Terry replaced in 1987 with Phil Anselmo as the new vocalist. Pantera has sold around 20 million albums. Starting as a glam metal band, Pantera played a heavier groove and thrash sound when they released Cowboys from Hell in 1990. Their second album Vulgar Display of Power, released in 1992, revealed a heavier sound than Cowboys from Hell and their 1994 release of Far Beyond Driven debuted at No.1 in the Billboard 200. Tensions began to surface amongst the band members when Phil Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995. This resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill to be held separately. The ongoing tensions lasted for another seven years, in which only one studio album, Reinventing the Steel was released. Feeling that Anselmo had abandoned Pantera due to his time away from the band, the Abbott brothers disbanded Pantera in 2003 and subsequently formed Damageplan. Any hopes of a reunion were lost on December 8, 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed onstage by a mentally unstable fan during a Damageplan performance.

History

Formation and early glam years (1981–1987)

The band was originally named Pantera's Metal Magic and consisted of Vinnie Paul Abbott on drums, Dimebag Darrell Abbott (called Diamond Darrell at that time) on guitar, Donnie Hart on vocals, Terry Glaze on guitar, and Tommy Bradford on bass. In 1982, the band was renamed Pantera in order to shorten the name and to settle an agreement between all band members. Also, Pantera is "panther" in Spanish and several other languages. Hart left the band because he did not agree with the bands' ethics and Glaze became the group's vocalist, leaving Darrell as the sole guitarist. Later that year Bradford also departed and was replaced by Rex Brown (then known as Rexx Rocker). Pantera became an underground favorite, though its regional tours in this era never took them beyond Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The band began supporting fellow heavy metal acts such as Stryper, Dokken, and Quiet Riot, who in turn promoted Pantera's debut, Metal Magic. Metal Magic was released on the band's record label of the same name in 1983 and produced by the Abbott brothers' father, Jerry Abbott (referred to as "The Eldn"), at Pantego Studios.
The following year, Pantera released its second album, Projects in the Jungle. Though still very much a glam metal album, the band members crafted songs that had less overbearing melodic influences than songs from Metal Magic. Another change was Terry Glaze's name, as he was henceforth credited as "Terrence Lee". In addition, a music video for the album's lead track, "All Over Tonight", was eventually created. Projects in the Jungle was also released on the band's independent Metal Magic Records label and produced by Jerry Abbott. In 1985, Pantera again released a full- length album on Metal Magic Records, entitled I Am the Night. As with Projects in the Jungle, this album saw Pantera's sound becoming heavier (though still rooted in glam metal), and the heavy metal press took more notice of the band. Because of poor distribution, I Am the Night was a costly album to many fans. Around 25,000 copies of I Am the Night were sold. Pantera's second music video was produced for the track "Hot and Heavy".

A new vocalist emerges (1987– 1989)

1986 and 1987 saw the release of several landmark thrash metal albums that would prove influential to Pantera's developing musical style. Among the most prominent of these were Metallica's Master of Puppets, Slayer's Reign in Blood, Anthrax's Among the Living and Megadeth's Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? Terrence Lee's glam approach did not fit the band's new outlook and he and the other members parted ways, beginning the search for his replacement. Terrence then went on to form rock group, Lord Tracy. The band went through temporary vocalists Rick Mythiasin, Dave Peacock and Matt L’Amour before eventually discovering New Orleans native Phil Anselmo in 1987. Anselmo had previously been the vocalist for the bands Samhain(not to be confused with Glenn Danzig's band of the same name) and Razorwhite. Upon playing with Pantera, Anselmo immediately clicked with the other three members. More than just the band's image was changing, however. In 1988, Pantera released its first album with Anselmo, entitled Power Metal. By far the band's heaviest album at this point, Power Metal was a mix of 1980s hard rock and thrash metal, sometimes blending both styles in a single song. Complementing the band's new sonic approach was Anselmo's harder- edged vocals compared to those of Terrence Lee. After the release of Power Metal, the band members decided to seriously reconsider their glam metal sound and image. Referring to the band's spandex appearance, Vinnie Paul remarked at a band meeting that "These magic clothes don't play music; we do. Let's just go out there and be comfortable —jeans, t-shirt, whatever—and see where it goes.''As with the previous three 1980s albums, Power Metal was released on Metal Magic Records. Power Metal began to reflect the characteristic sound of later Pantera, though it still contained many elements of 1980s glam metal. The band members would later ignore their independent releases, including Power Metal, as they sculpted a new, heavier image to accompany their developing "groove" sound. Their four independent albums are not listed on the band's official website and have become hard-to- find collector's items.

Cowboys from Hell (1989–1991)

Shortly after Power Metal was released, "Diamond Darrell", as he was then known, auditioned for Megadeth's vacant guitarist slot, and was invited to join the band. Darrell insisted his brother, bandmate Vinnie Paul, be included, but because Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine had already hired a drummer, Nick Menza, Darrell declined and Mustaine instead decided on Marty Friedman. The Abbott brothers refocused their attention on Pantera, and in 1989 they were given their first shot at commercial success. 1989 was also when the band formed their relationship with Walter O'Brien at Concrete Management (the management arm of Concrete Marketing), who remained their manager until they disbanded in 2003. After being turned down "28 times by every major label on the face of the Earth",Atco Records representatives Mark Ross and Stevenson Eugenio were asked by their boss Derek Shulman, who was interested in signing Pantera, to see the band perform after Hurricane Hugo stranded them in Texas. Ross was so impressed by the band's performance that he called his boss that night, suggesting that Pantera be signed to the label. Atco Records accepted, and at the close of 1989, the band recorded its major label debut at Pantego Studios. Released on July 24, 1990, and produced by Terry Date and Pantera, Cowboys from Hell was another leap into heavier territory. Pantera showed a more extreme style on this outing, leaving behind its glam metal influences in favor of an amalgamation of thrash metal and groove metal dubbed "power groove" by the band. Although Anselmo still used Rob Halford and Eric Adams-influenced falsetto vocals, he also adopted a more abrasive delivery. Darrell's more complex guitar solos and riffs, along with his brother's faster-paced drumwork were evidence of the band's extreme transformation. The album marked a critical juncture in the band's history. Many fans, as well as the band itself, consider it Pantera's "official" debut.Cowboys included the tracks "Cemetery Gates", a brooding seven-minute piece that focuses on death and religion, and the thrashing title track, which gave the band members their nickname and asserted their raucous personality and style. So began the Cowboys from Hell tour alongside thrash acts Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. In 1991, Rob Halford performed with the band onstage, which led Pantera to open for Judas Priest on its first show in Europe. The band eventually landed a billing for "Monsters in Moscow" with AC/DC and Metallica in September 1991, where they played to a crowd of over 500,000 in celebration of the new freedom of performing Western music in the Soviet Union shortly before its collapse three months later. The band was often found at the Dallas club "the Basement", where the band shot the videos for "Cowboys from Hell" and "Psycho Holiday". Pantera's 2006 home video compilation 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell features performances of "Primal Concrete Sledge", "Cowboys from Hell", "Domination", and "Psycho Holiday" from the show in Moscow.

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. 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 #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 #1 in ...
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