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It's probably safe to say that Pantera were one of the most important metal bands throughout the 1990's, hammering listeners with a one-of-a-kind, steroid-injected blend of groove metal and thrash metal.
Though they disbanded in 2003, and we have now lost the two brothers in guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul, their towering legacy lives on through some of the finest metal music to have ever graced our ears.
With so many iconic riffs, guitar solos, drum beats and vocal deliveries littered throughout their catalogue, it's definitely not easy to pick out their best songs, but here is what we believe to be the top 10 Pantera tracks:
10 - Cowboys From Hell (Cowboys From Hell)
Pantera's fifth album Cowboys From Hell saw them well-and-truly transitioning from their early glam rock days, instead going down a more testosterone-riddled groove metal path that would define their future legacy.
And it would be absolutely rude to not include the album's title track, which opens the record with one of the catchiest riffs ever, before Phil Anselmo quickly gets up in your grill with intimidating, seething lyrics. Throw in a brilliant solo from Dimebag, groovy drums throughout, and you have a classic Pantera track.
9 - This Love (Vulgar Display Of Power)
You could include most of Vulgar Display Of Power on a top 10 Pantera list and get away with it, but 'This Love' sticks out to us as one of the better cuts to be found.
It's the dynamics between the dingy, ominous verses and the explosive choruses with Anselmo yelling "LOVE!" over and over that make this one hit really hard. Vinnie's drumwork in said choruses are also extremely clever, making use of the space between Anselmo's vocal bursts to inject extra groove with his kick drums.
It's a pretty damn good breakup song too if that's what you're in the market for.
8 - I'm Broken (Far Beyond Driven)
'I'm Broken' sees Pantera at their most groovy, with some of the catchiest riffs you'll ever hear, a 7/4 time signature during verses to keep things fresh and a mighty, mighty breakdown to round out four-and-a-half minutes of southern perfection.
Anselmo's vocal delivery hits like a truck, with his gut-wrenching howls of "I'm broken!" finding their way right into your chest.
7 - 5 Minutes Alone (Far Beyond Driven)
It's one of Pantera's most popular songs, and for good reason - '5 Minutes Alone' does a fantastic job of combining catchy groove with raw, unbridled anger. As always, Dimebag's masterful guitar work carries the song through all sorts of heavy territory, peaking with a siren-esque wailing on his top strings.
With this one, Pantera managed to craft a track that feels like having someone threatening to take your lunch money for 5 minutes straight.
6 - Fucking Hostile (Vulgar Display Of Power)
Get out your blender and throw in a handful of skate punk, a pinch of early 90's hardcore and a generous dash of thrash metal. Combine, and congratulations - you've just made 'Fucking Hostile'.
Right from Anselmo's count in, 'Fucking Hostile' doesn't give you a chance to breathe until it ends on Phil's maniacal closing vocals, with some unbelievably fast and tight drums from Vinnie, and Dimebag's frenetic, dissonant solo.
It's basically speed in music form, and it's one of Pantera's best songs ever.
5 - Mouth For War (Vulgar Display Of Power)
If 'Fucking Hostile' is speed, then 'Mouth For War' is steroids - a heavy, half-time jam that oozes with adrenaline that abruptly kicks up to 11 at the end with a blast of glorious speed metal.
The message found here is ultimately a positive one, with Anselmo saying that it's a song about "turning your hate into something productive", which means that it's a perfect buddy for lifting some heavy weights.
4 - Walk (Vulgar Display Of Power)
You were waiting to see where it landed on the list, and here it is!
Some might find it ironic that Pantera's most well-known and iconic song 'Walk' isn't anywhere near as musically complex as their other offerings. But that's where its charm lies - a simple, strutting rhythm and chest-thumping lyrics that anybody can easily understand and sing along with make 'Walk' a staple in any metalhead's catalogue.
And let's be real - the looping guitar riff might be the most definitive in Pantera's catalogue. Re! Spect! Walk!
3 - Floods (The Great Southern Trendkill)
'Floods' is a great example of Pantera's versatile songwriting; instead of a roundhouse kick to the face, you get a 7-minute slow-burning epic that haunts with brooding guitars, deep drawls from Anselmo and lyrics that address some of humanity's darkest behaviours.
The track's highest points come from the wizardry of Dimebag, with one of his most iconic solos ever half-way through, and what might be one of the best outros of all time with a beautiful melody set to the gentle pattering of rain.
2 - Domination (Cowboys From Hell)
The fact that such a heavy song came out in 1990 is a mind-blowing thought; 'Domination' combines Motörhead-esque galloping riffs and some inventive underlying bass playing from Rex Brown for what is one of the best metal songs ever written.
The star of the show here is the monstrous breakdown at the end of the song that sees Dimebag shred up an absolute storm over a simple, crushing chug pattern. It might have been the start of the breakdown as we know it today, and we actually ranked it as the greatest breakdown of all time with no regrets!
1 - Cemetery Gates (Cowboys From Hell)
This is it - in our opinion 'Cemetery Gates' is the greatest Pantera song ever. It's a metal ballad at its core, but it has a little bit of everything that makes the band so great. Phil Anselmo demonstrates a scary vocal range, hitting some ridiculously-high notes at the song's tail end, while Dimebag is somehow able to summon some of the most infernal divebombs ever heard out of his axe.
A beautiful guitar solo, perfect riffs that dance the line of heavy and melodic, and Vinnie's drums that always seem to be perfectly technical for what the song needs.
Goddamn Electric (Reinventing The Steel)
Suicide Note Pt 1+2 (The Great Southern Trendkill)
Listen to Pantera now.