No matter how much you love jumping behind the wheel of the Toyota Rav and cranking “Fucking Hostile” while driving your eight-year-old to soccer practice, one seriously has to ask a simple question: “Why?”
Or, if one prefers to traffic in vulgarity, “What in the flying fuck?”.
Today brings news that one of metal’s most fiercely uncompromising bands ever is planning a reunion.
According to Billboard, Pantera has committed to reforming and hitting the road for a series of dates in 2023. The only problem that fans might have with that is that half of Pantera is dead.
Guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott was shot to death onstage in 2004 while performing with the post-Pantera project Damageplan. His killer was reported to have either been upset at the breakup of Pantera, or, alternately, convinced that the band had stolen his lyrics in the past.
Dimebag Darrell’s sibling, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, meanwhile died of a heart attack in 2018. Along with his brother, he founded Pantera in 1981, the early-years incarnation featuring singer Terry Glaze and bassist Tommy D. Bradford. That lineup released three albums, all of which are found today under “hair metal” in record-store cut-out bins.
What does all of this have to do with Pantera you might right ask?
Well, with the Abbott brothers jamming with Lemmy Kilmister and Layne Staley in heaven, that leaves only singer Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown as the surviving members of the band’s definitive lineup. And that’s who has signed on for the Pantera reunion.
There’s no word as yet who will handle guitar or drum duties.
There’s a valid argument to be made that Pantera didn’t become Pantera until Anselmo joined, helping transform the band from hairspray also-rans into one of the most punishing—and groove-heavy—metal bands of all time.
Listen to “Fucking Hostile”, and try not to destroy the furniture or beat up the family bird.
Given how lethal Pantera sounds above, and on the breakthrough full-length Vulgar Display of Power, the band without the Abbott Brothers is like Alice in Chains without Layne Staley, or Linkin Park without Chester Bennington. Make of that what you will.
Add to that the fact that the Abbott brothers blamed Anselmo for the 2003 breakup of Pantera, backed up by years of embittered sniping at each other in the press. And that Vinnie Paul Abbott doubled down on his estrangement of Anselmo after Dimebag Darrell’s death, noting on more than one occasion that he was never going to speak to him again.
That would become prophetic with the drummer’s death.
As for the upcoming reunion, normally fans are thrilled at news of their favourite band getting together.
That’s not totally true on Twitter today, where folks seem more interested in asking a simple question: “Why?”. Or, if you prefer, “What the flying fuck?”.