Way back in 1993 a friend recommended that I check out this band called Pantera. I didn't until a year later. In 1994 Pantera released their third album, Far Beyond Driven. This was the first album I ever heard by the foursome. It was a collection of brutal, bone crunching, no holds barred, take no prisoners metal. As soon as I heard this I was hooked, I went out and got the first two albums, Cowboys from Hell and Vulgar Display of Power.
The music on display here was incredible, everything just came together so well. Aggressive vocals, guitars that crushed your skull with their riffs and melted your face with the solos, drums that were innovative and hard as anything your likely to hear, all backed by a solid gut rumbling bass player.
As a fan of metal, Pantera quickly became one of my favorite bands. Dimebag Darrell's guitar playing was particularly attractive to me. He played along that fine line separating music and noise creating this incredible wall of sound. Heavy riffs that got your head moving combined with those blazing solos. He was one of the top guitar players on the metal scene for over ten years creating heavy music that will live on.
As the nineties came to a close, so did Pantera. Phil Anselmo was moving onto other projects leaving the rest of the band to pick up the pieces. Darrell and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, went on to form a new group, Damageplan. The released their first album earlier this year, and thankfully it was not just another version of Pantera. The album, while not as strong as Pantera's work, was a good piece of metal mayhem. It was also a sign that Darrell was moving on and forging a new metal sound, and not just content to remake past success. Unfortunately we will not be able to bear witness to any more innovations from this metal madman.