Monday, October 6, 2008

Metal Monday: Pantera, 'I'm Broken'

Starting life as glam metal also-rans, Pantera played a major role in shaping post-thrash metal with ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ in 1992. By slowing down the tempos and incorporating a harder-edged vocal style they pioneered a new era of groove metal. 2 years later Pantera returned to much hype and fanfare, becoming the defining metal band of their generation. Dubbed the most extreme album to ever get to number one, ‘Far Beyond Driven’ was devoid of nearly all the Thrash Metal influences Pantera had on their previous three albums, settling for a driller-killer mid tempo groove throughout the album.

Much of the shift was due to Dimebag Darrell's more down-tuned and heavier, sludgy playing in the style of Tony Iommi from metal behemouths Black Sabbath. Anselmo's lyrics were also showing a new found maturity, far more personal than on the previous albums. Don’t be lulled into thinking that the band had shed the metallic mayhem with their new found popularity, this is the sound of raging young men spewing forth blatant raw aggression atop jackhammer drums and industrial guitars.

‘I’m Broken’, is archatypal of pantera’s classic sound, the song features one of guitarist Dimebag Darrell's most famous riffs (later echoed in Audioslave’s ‘Cochise’) and Phil Anselmo’s razor blade vocal style. Pantera officially disbanded in 2003 amid a war of accusations and in late 2004, Dimebag was murdered onstage during a Damageplan performance. Although Phil Anselmo has garnered much acclaim fronting Louisiana bayou metallers Down, he is destined to live in the shadow of Pantera's peerless canon.

Where to find: Far Beyond Driven (1994)

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