Pantera was a popular heavy metal band from Dallas, Texas. Some metal fans consider them groove metal. The band name “Pantera” means “panther” in Latin.
Formed in 1983, Pantera was a very big heavy metal band in the 1990s when the popularity of heavy metal had dropped. They were modern (or so-called “power-groove”) metal. This is for most of their songs composed from repeating catchy, groove power chords.
Pantera released three forgotten albums (Metal Magic, Projects in the Jungle and I am the Night) before ditching singer Terry Glaze in favor of Phil Anselmo with 1988’s Power Metal. Terry Glaze was included in talks to sign with a label that was fronted by Gene Simmons of KISS. When Terry balked at the contract he was kicked out of the band. Pantera then located Phil Anselmo and produced “Power Metal”, a tape that had Phil singing some songs that were originally sung by Glaze, as well as a few originals.
The first commercially successful album Pantera recorded was 1990’s Cowboys from Hell. At this point, Pantera's music was still heavily influenced by “classic heavy metal” — with Rob Halford-style vocals and the extravagant riffs and solos of guitarist Dimebag Darrell, though the album also showcased a more extreme style.
Pantera's breakthrough album was 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power, which saw the replacement of falsetto vocals with a more shouted delivery and a heavier guitar sound. The extent to which this album grew in popularity can be assessed by the instant success of the 1994 follow-up, Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at number one in both American and Australian album charts, the first metal album ever to achieve this, despite the failing fortunes of metal in America at that time. In this release, Pantera took an even more extreme direction. Pantera's next album, The Great Southern Trendkill, was released in 1996 during the height of grunge rock. This album saw moderate success for the time at which it was released. Pantera's final album was Reinventing the Steel.
Pantera irretrievably dissolved after Anselmo left the band to pursue other work with such bands as Down. It was thought he would return to Pantera, but didn’t and instead decided to carry on full time with one (of many) of his side bands, Superjoint Ritual, who released two albums. After this, Vinnie Paul (Abbott) and Dimebag Darrell (Abbott) formed a band of their own called New Found Power, which was later renamed Damageplan.
The break-up of the band was not amicable and invariably a war between Superjoint and Damageplan was waged via the heavy metal and musical press. Anselmo and the Abbott brothers could have had difficulties in agreeing upon the kind of music to be made. Vinnie Paul and Dimebag later said that Anselmo were forcing them to make music that he wanted and they were not allowed to experiment and take chances. Also, Anselmo's drug habits (like the one famous heroin incident) could have caused some problems. And finally personal relationship problems between Anselmo and the brothers.
In 2004 Nathan Gale shot and killed Dimebag Darrell at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, as they took the stage.