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Metal - Released April 17, 2010 | Rhino Atlantic

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Although Vulgar Display of Power remains Pantera's best and definitive album, Cowboys from Hell was the creative breakthrough that set the stage for its conception. Not only were its demos responsible for getting Pantera signed to a major label in the first place, but its fresh musical perspective also gave them a much-needed blank slate with which to conquer the 1990s and, first and foremost, erase their 1980s failures. These failures were cataloged on no less than four independently released LPs packed with largely derivative and thoroughly unimpressive hair metal, and only the fourth of them even counted with recently installed lead vocalist Phil Anselmo, whose broader influences and irrepressible energy cannot be underestimated in altering Pantera's fate. As the "new guy" entering the Texans' insular world, Anselmo made only tentative contributions to that fourth Pantera album, 1988's Power Metal, but its incremental heaviness and titular statement of intent nevertheless presaged the wholesale reinvention that would be effectively crystallized by Cowboys from Hell. Here, at last, virtuoso guitarist Diamond (soon to be rechristened Dimebag) Darrell Abbott was finally inspired to snap out of the rampant Van Halen-isms that had creatively shackled his formidable talents thus far, and established his own unmistakable imprint for the instrument, and, by extension, Pantera's signature sound. This was characterized by a subtlety-free sledgehammer approach informed by, but not beholden to, recent developments in extreme metal, as well as a groove-laden, muscular riffing style punctuated by squealing pinch harmonics -- as illustrated to perfection by the downtuned post-thrash beatdown of the title track, "Primal Concrete Sledge," and "The Art of Shredding," among others. For his part, Anselmo was only too eager to decorate Darrell's blunt rhythmic onslaught with cavernous roars declaiming impetuous and empowering lyrics that challenged all comers. In the process, he virtually abandoned his impressive melodic singing range (on par with the great Rob Halford) altogether, only reaching for those higher registers on "Shattered" (a rather misplaced throwback to the power metal era) and the stately lament "Cemetery Gates," which, years later, would sadly serve as requiem for Darrell's untimely passing. Not to be left out, drummer Vinnie Paul almost matched his baby brother's coming-out party with a heretofore unknown percussive dexterity, and bassist Rex Brown not only managed to keep up with Darrell's six-string tour de force, but bolstered the band's bottom end with added gut-punching power. So it was that, in what can truly be described as a collective ritual of musical catharsis, the members of Pantera were reborn as Cowboys from Hell, simultaneously defining an entirely new subgenre in the process: groove metal. [Indeed, such was the album's lasting impact that in time it was accorded a 20th anniversary reissue comprised of three separate discs: the first contained a complete remastering of the original set; the second packed 12 live recordings, of which seven (recorded at the 1990 Foundations Forum music industry event) were previously unreleased; and the third collected the all-important album demos (most of them very faithful to the album versions, although "Shattered" boasts an intro that was later dropped -- "Cemetery Gates" still lacks the intro it got) plus a never-heard album outtake called "The Will to Survive," which, with its more traditional heavy metal riff and predominating melodic vocals from Anselmo, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Judas Priest's Painkiller.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Rock - Released February 21, 1992 | Atlantic Records

One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is just what is says: a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission. Even the "ballads," "This Love" and "Hollow," have thunderingly loud, aggressive chorus sections. Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo discards any further attempts at singing in favor of a militaristic bark and an unhinged roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's pummeling riffs against a rhythmic backdrop so thunderously supportive that Darrell often solos without underlying rhythm guitar parts. The album again follows Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs at the beginning and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around. Pantera's thick-sounding, post-hardcore power metal and outraged, testosterone-drenched intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of those virtues. ~ Steve Huey
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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released June 22, 2018 | Dynamo Concerts

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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino - Elektra

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Hard Rock - Released September 23, 2003 | Rhino - Elektra

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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released May 3, 1996 | Rhino - Elektra

Thankfully, Pantera has stopped attempting to outdo each successive album in terms of start-to-finish intensity, but that doesn't mean they don't try in spots. The Great Southern Trendkill is burdened with passages in which Phil Anselmo's vocals cross the line into histrionics, making the band's trademark intensity sound dull, forced, and theatrical rather than sincere. The lyrics, which reached their apex with Vulgar Display of Power's focus on personal politics and integrity, have degenerated into half-baked rants against drugs and pop-culture media. But Trendkill is partially redeemed by trading Pantera's usual pound-then-pound-harder approach to albums for a greater variety of tempos and moods. Dimebag Darrell, while mostly sticking to his familiar riffing style, does coax some intriguing, unexpected sounds from his instrument. Ultimately, though, the ballads and slower tracks ("10's," "Suicide Note, Pt. 1," and "Floods") provide the album's most chilling, memorable moments, and rank with their best material. Longtime Pantera fans will find plenty to enjoy here, and the band's expanding range bodes well, but overall, Trendkill is an inconsistent outing. ~ Steve Huey
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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino - Elektra

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Metal - Released May 15, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is just what is says: a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission. Even the "ballads," "This Love" and "Hollow," have thunderingly loud, aggressive chorus sections. Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo discards any further attempts at singing in favor of a militaristic bark and an unhinged roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's pummeling riffs against a rhythmic backdrop so thunderously supportive that Darrell often solos without underlying rhythm guitar parts. The album again follows Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs at the beginning and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around. Pantera's thick-sounding, post-hardcore power metal and outraged, testosterone-drenched intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of those virtues. ~ Steve Huey
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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released September 7, 2010 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released August 30, 2013 | Rhino Atlantic

Panteras' eponymous debut for Polygram Records is an infectious, melodic and danceable collection of merengue that has a giddy, good-time spirit. The six Dominican women that form Panteras -- Vilma, Dlmara, Yamilka, Criss, Alfridis, Clara -- don't necessarily have great voices, but they have great enthusiasm and that's what makes the album a good party record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Metal - Released March 24, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Atlantic Records

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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released July 20, 1990 | Rhino

Although Vulgar Display of Power remains Pantera's best and definitive album, Cowboys from Hell was the creative breakthrough that set the stage for its conception. Not only were its demos responsible for getting Pantera signed to a major label in the first place, but its fresh musical perspective also gave them a much-needed blank slate with which to conquer the 1990s and, first and foremost, erase their 1980s failures. These failures were cataloged on no less than four independently released LPs packed with largely derivative and thoroughly unimpressive hair metal, and only the fourth of them even counted with recently installed lead vocalist Phil Anselmo, whose broader influences and irrepressible energy cannot be underestimated in altering Pantera's fate. As the "new guy" entering the Texans' insular world, Anselmo made only tentative contributions to that fourth Pantera album, 1988's Power Metal, but its incremental heaviness and titular statement of intent nevertheless presaged the wholesale reinvention that would be effectively crystallized by Cowboys from Hell. Here, at last, virtuoso guitarist Diamond (soon to be rechristened Dimebag) Darrell Abbott was finally inspired to snap out of the rampant Van Halen-isms that had creatively shackled his formidable talents thus far, and established his own unmistakable imprint for the instrument, and, by extension, Pantera's signature sound. This was characterized by a subtlety-free sledgehammer approach informed by, but not beholden to, recent developments in extreme metal, as well as a groove-laden, muscular riffing style punctuated by squealing pinch harmonics -- as illustrated to perfection by the downtuned post-thrash beatdown of the title track, "Primal Concrete Sledge," and "The Art of Shredding," among others. For his part, Anselmo was only too eager to decorate Darrell's blunt rhythmic onslaught with cavernous roars declaiming impetuous and empowering lyrics that challenged all comers. In the process, he virtually abandoned his impressive melodic singing range (on par with the great Rob Halford) altogether, only reaching for those higher registers on "Shattered" (a rather misplaced throwback to the power metal era) and the stately lament "Cemetery Gates," which, years later, would sadly serve as requiem for Darrell's untimely passing. Not to be left out, drummer Vinnie Paul almost matched his baby brother's coming-out party with a heretofore unknown percussive dexterity, and bassist Rex Brown not only managed to keep up with Darrell's six-string tour de force, but bolstered the band's bottom end with added gut-punching power. So it was that, in what can truly be described as a collective ritual of musical catharsis, the members of Pantera were reborn as Cowboys from Hell, simultaneously defining an entirely new subgenre in the process: groove metal. [Indeed, such was the album's lasting impact that in time it was accorded a 20th anniversary reissue comprised of three separate discs: the first contained a complete remastering of the original set; the second packed 12 live recordings, of which seven (recorded at the 1990 Foundations Forum music industry event) were previously unreleased; and the third collected the all-important album demos (most of them very faithful to the album versions, although "Shattered" boasts an intro that was later dropped -- "Cemetery Gates" still lacks the intro it got) plus a never-heard album outtake called "The Will to Survive," which, with its more traditional heavy metal riff and predominating melodic vocals from Anselmo, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Judas Priest's Painkiller.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released March 24, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released March 15, 1994 | Rhino - Elektra

Far Beyond Driven may have been Pantera's fastest selling album upon release, but it's hardly their best. In fact, although it shot straight to the number one spot on the Billboard sales chart in its first week (arguably the most extreme album ever to do so), this incredible feat doesn't so much reflect its own qualities as those of its predecessor, 1992's Vulgar Display of Power. A true landmark by any definition, Vulgar Display had seen the Texan quartet quite literally reinventing the heavy metal wheel in ways not seen since Metallica's rise to fame in the mid-'80s. But when the time came to follow it up, the members of Pantera seemed unsure about how they could possibly top it, so they decided to try and out-heavy themselves, resulting in a less cohesive record which often sacrificed songwriting for outright aggression. Guitarist Dimebag Darrell (recently re-baptized from the far more glam Diamond Darrell) took it upon himself to conjure the heaviest guitar tones imaginable, turning up the volume and dissonance to sometimes painful thresholds with his massive, grinding riffs. As a result, songs like "Becoming," "Shedding Skin," and the particularly vicious "Slaughtered" still stand head and shoulders above most of the heavy metal competition, but only die-hard fans may be able to withstand their systematic sensory bludgeoning long enough to get to the hooks hidden underneath. Indeed, except for wisely chosen first single "I'm Broken," the rest of the material (and especially over-long tracks like "5 Minutes Alone" and "25 Years") generally lacks the iron-fisted discipline and controlled power captured on the band's previous triumphs. Worst of all is probably "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills," which wanders aimlessly in formless feedback and is topped with vocalist Phil Anselmo in gratuitous, stream-of-consciousness mode -- a sketchy proposition at the best of times. In the end, it's probably the band's need to justifying their faithful cover version of Black Sabbath's gentle "Planet Caravan" in the album's liner notes that sheds the most light on their embattled frame of mind at the time. With or without this evidence, however, the bottom line is that Far Beyond Driven doesn't match the hype -- but it sure proved its weight in platinum at the bank. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Hard Rock - Released December 9, 2015 | Doxy Records

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