I’ve been wanting to say this for a while. I fucking hate Pantera with the burning fury of 10,000 white-hot suns.
No, it has nothing to do with Phil Anselmo’s frequent outbursts of racism. I’m not easily offended and I can’t think of much I care less about than what Phil Anselmo has to say about anything.
The problem with Pantera is their music, which sounds like a room full of chimps trying to bang out Skynyrd jams.
The weird thing is, I want to like them, if only because I’ve hated them for so long. You see, kids, I have a long, long history of hating Pantera. Almost as long as my history of hating Pearl Jam. I remember seeing and liking the video for “This Love” at a sleepover party when I was in sixth grade. But by the time I got to high school, Phil Anselmo’s pain was not (apologies to Charles Bronson) burning in my black, little heart. It was, however, burning in the heart of every meathead who spent my freshman year terrorizing me.
I’m really good at anticipating idiotic objections, so let me anticipate this one: No, I do not hate Pantera because New England’s equivalent of rednecks listened to them and made me sad when I was 14. First of all, I was a mouthy little shit (not much has changed there) who deserved most of the flak I got. Second, it was character building. Thanks, young dickheads of America!
No, the reason I hate Pantera is because they are mind-numbingly, embarrassingly, scandalously awful. Oh, “Dime” was a super technically talented guitarist? Eh, maybe, but so is Yngwie Malmsteen and that doesn’t stop him from boring me to tears, either.
It’s a bummer if Pantera was the only thing you had to listen to when you were pissed and in high school. I definitely lucked out by growing up 10 minutes from Dropdead and tripping over Infest and Despise You as a result. Not everyone can be as cool as I was when I was 15.
It might interest you to know that I like the Pantera that everyone hates. Power Metal is a solid album of 1980s speed metal I have no trouble recommending to fans of Exciter or Accept. I frankly don’t understand why they felt the need to switch from groovy, sped-up rock & roll to knuckle-dragging thudcore.
My guess is money. The boys are, if nothing else, savvy to trends in hard rock. I know that my saying this won’t stop the gummed masses of Pantera fandom from freaking out anyway, but there’s nothing wrong with making money and certainly nothing wrong with making money doing something you love. Good on Pantera for spending more on booze and drugs than what I make in a year. And good on them for basically single-handedly destroying the need for hard-ass bands to puff their manes out like poodles. Well done, lads!
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But if I want to listen to some dude screaming over the same riff for five minutes I’ll bust out some Earth Crisis or White Zombie. They might not have done it first, but they sure as hell did it better than Pantera, who might actually be the worst band grownups proudly admit to liking.
[Note: An earlier version of this piece misspelled Yngwie Malmsteen's name. We'd say we regret the error, but we'd be lying.]