Pantera Controversy – EXPLAINED!

One of the greatest stories the metal scene is likely to see this year is the announcement that remaining Pantera members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown will go on a “reunion” tour in 2023.

The agents Dennis Arfa and Peter Pappalardo are taking care of the vocalist and bassist of the legendary groove metal band, who have inked a contract with Artist Group International to arrange their North American tour dates. “We are happy to be partnering with such a legendary band and bringing their music back to the fans,” the latter company told Billboard.

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Undoubtedly, many people are excited about the prospect of having the opportunity to watch Anselmo and Brown go back in time and play a variety of their songs, which will undoubtedly include songs like “Walk” and “Cowboys from Hell,” which are among the most important in metal. The band, which was founded in 1981, through a number of lineup changes before settling on its iconic configuration in 1987, which included Anselmo Brown, the renowned guitarist “Dimebag” Darell Abbott, and his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott.

The Arlington, Texas-based group first gained notoriety with their fifth album, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell, and went on to achieve new heights over the following year with albums like 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power and 1994’s Far Beyond Driven. Guitarist Dimebag and the potent sound of his Dean ML, which helped to popularise the groove metal genre, were the band’s essential elements.

This element, which was frequently colored by a flanger, helped them stand out from their contemporaries and provide something new to the metal scene. You could say goodbye to the sounds of Korn, Slipknot, and many more bands without Dimebag.

However, the internal conflict led to the band’s breakup in 2003, and Reinventing the Steel, their ninth album from 2000, served as their final offering. Following Pantera, Darrell and Vinnie started Damageplan, and Anselmo worked on a number of different projects, including the supergroup Down. In addition to performing with artists like Jerry Cantrell and Crowbar, Brown also briefly appeared in the band Down.

The post-Pantera world appeared to be moving along reasonably nicely, despite the fact that there was still tension between Anselmo and the Abbotts until tragedy occurred in December 2004. On December 8th, when Damageplan was starting their show at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, a disturbed fan named Nathan Gale stormed the stage and shot Dimebag many times. At only 38 years old, he was pronounced dead at the spot.

Naturally, the metal community was devastated. They lost one of their most cherished characters. Many community luminaries, like Zakk Wylde, Corey Taylor, and Jerry Cantrell, attended his tribute along with thousands of fans. Eddie Van Halen famously gave his renowned black-and-yellow “Bumblebee” guitar, which was also present in the casket. Dime was an original, and only an original deserves the original, he stated during the burial.

This is where we start. Dimebag Darrell was Pantera in many ways because he was so unique. They would not have happened without him. It just wouldn’t be the same if another renowned guitarist, like Zakk Wylde, who is said to be taking his place for Anselmo and Brown’s 2023 tour, were to replace him. He was what set them apart. It’s nearly difficult to imagine Led Zeppelin or Nirvana without Kurt Cobain or Jimmy Page.

The absence of Vinnie Paul, who passed away in 2018, further contributes to the overpowering impression that the 2023 tour is not Pantera. He added rhythmic stability to the group by supporting his brother’s heavy riffs with equally potent drumming, giving Pantera its now-iconic sound.

Despite all of that, there is still one more reason to be unhappy about Anselmo and Brown’s choice to reconcile, and that is the former’s prior, unavoidable statements on race. First, we must focus on the infamous Pantera event that took place in Montreal in 1995. Anselmo asserted that Pantera had friends “of all colors and all types” and that they were “not a racist band” in this statement. Anselmo did, however, add a qualifier, stating that he had an issue with Black rappers “pissing all over white culture.”

Anselmo allegedly went on to suggest that the African-American community’s cries to stop “Black on Black violence” should be taken to mean “it’s OK to kill white people.” He said that white people ought to be more proud of their heritage. He said, “Tonight is a white thing.”

Anselmo received justifiable criticism for his outburst, and this, along with other murmurs, became specters that followed him throughout his life and career. As a result, Anselmo eventually issued an apology for using “harmful comments that may have racially offended our audience.”

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Anselmo’s outburst was pardoned and forgotten by some while not by others, further polarising the already divisive vocalist. However, a video of the Pantera vocalist appeared on YouTube in January 2016 following the yearly “Dimebash” tribute to the late Dimebag. After his performance, Anselmo was seen on camera making the Nazi salute and yelling “white power” at the audience. Anselmo provoked a never-before-seen outrage by claiming that he was kidding about drinking “white wine,” which he claimed was some sort of backstage inside joke among the musicians.

“OK guys, I’ll own this one, but dammit, I was kidding, and the ‘internal joke of the night was because we were drinking fucking white wine,” he said in a comment on the real YouTube video. Some of you need to get thicker skin. There are plenty of jerks to pick on who have more sensible goals. I really adore everyone, and I absolutely detest everyone. I won’t apologize.