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Pantera is the name given to a group of cattle-herders from the fiery depths down below, who emerged into our realm in the early 90s to take over the music industry. Their epic tale begins in the 70s, when heavy metal had become popular amongst a select group of individuals, despite its original purpose as the Devil's music designed to horrify humanity and cause chaos everywhere (something that the blues had been invented for, yet failed miserably). In order to cause further suffering to humanity for foiling his plans, the Devil summoned a group of metal-loving drunken rednecks, who took the music from the underground and made it accessible to the non-metal public - an act that metal fans everywhere hold contempt for. Such a vulgar display of power caused uproar in the community, and the incident has since been named "the Great Southern Trendkill".
The chaos Pantera unleashed was captured by nearby audio recording equipment, and people so enjoyed the noise produced by the group that it was distributed around the country. Now dubbed a "band", their vocalist, Pantera (also known as Philip Anselmo), was famous for his anger issues, and contributed to the band's lyrics. This unlikely combination made Pantera's music the perfect soundtrack to kick the shit out of someone to, giving the band an appeal from jocks everywhere. Tensions arose within the band after Anselmo, despite dubbing himself "the Great Southern Trendkill", decided to copy every other rockstar of the 1990s by doing heroin, and thus Pantera split up in 2003. Any hope of a reunion was dashed when in December 2004, guitarist "Dimebag" Darrel Abbot sold his soul to Gene Simmons just to be buried in a cool-looking KISS coffin. Needless to say, his wish was granted. Though revolutionary and celebrated in the 1990s, Pantera's current legacy is nu metal and having their shirts worn by hip kids who listen to Slipknot.
Despite what the common detractor will tell you, all die-hard fans know Pantera was not formed until 1989, when they went into the studio to record their debut album Cowboys From Hell. The confusion arises from a 1980s local glam rock group from Texas, who happened to share not only the name "Pantera", but also the same band members. The key difference is that the glam rock group, originally fronted by Terrance "Terry" Glaze for their first three releases, was totally gay, while the later groove metal group Pantera is not. Allegedly, four albums were produced by what is now retrospectively known as "Glamtera", beginning with Metal Magic. Around the time of their third release, Metallica and Slayer came into the mainstream, and the Abott brothers realised that if they want to be a metal band, they actually have to be heavy. And so, Terry Glaze was kicked out and replaced with New Orleans sludge metal fan Phil Anselmo, for their supposed fourth album, Power Metal, which rather than being heavy, was merely a rip-off of Judas Priest, and just as awful. It should be noted, however, that these four albums don't actually exist, and were made up by Pantera critics to make them look like sellouts and phonies, complete with photoshopped images of Pantera members dressed like queers.
In 1989, newly formed groove metal band Pantera were performing their new metal material when a scout for a major record label company was in the audience. To the band's disappointment, the scout left midway through the set, but their hopes were lifted when they found out he was merely going for the phone. The band was disappointed a second time when the scout actually phoned a taxi to pick him up and take him as far away from the state as possible. More bad luck came to the band when another outfit, called Exhorder, stole their newly invented groove metal and released an album featuring this sound. Being the Cowboys from Hell, Pantera weren't going to take this shabby treatment lightly, so they used their demonic powers to wreak havoc and destroy everything using the sound of heavy metal, ensuring Exhorder never became famous and threatening the record company to give them a deal, and so Pantera recorded the noise of their destruction, becoming their first ever album, Cowboys from Hell. Pantera's debut album Cowboys was their first, and was released in 1990, becoming an immediate success. Though their first ever album, it was also the last album to not feature any tough guy lyrics about beating people up, which the group remedied after its release.
In 1991, Seattle-based alternative-grunge-punk-sonic-noise-rock garage band Nirvana released their second album, Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's Nirvana. This album swooped the media and not only became the best-selling record of that year, but single handedly (with the help of Pearl Jam's Ten Songs to Cry Alone To) destroyed heavy metal, and now once hugely successful metal bands like Metallica and Megadeth were underground and completely unheard of. Metallica's 1991 album Metallica - originally recorded to be the ultimate thrash metal album - was scrapped and hastily rerecorded as a slow, non-agressive pop-metal album. It was now up to Pantera to save metal, but they couldn't do it without changing their style to attract attention. Anselmo shaved off his gay-ass mowhawk-and-ponytail, becoming a skinhead, while he and the rest of the band donned street clothes and jeans. The end result was Vulgar Display of Power, released in 1992 to massive success, something metal bands had never done since the totally-not-a-metal-subgenre grunge took over. With the heaviest record ever released at that point, Pantera had now officially saved metal.
But not only had Pantera saved metal - and anyone who constests this claim is wrong - they were now on track to becoming the heaviest band on the planet. Only two bands stood in their way; Nirvana, responsible for the death-metal masterpiece Bleach and fronted by scream-master Kurt Cobain, and the heaviest band around, Pearl Jam - a Seattle-based sludge metal group inspired by metal legends the Melvins and Alice in Chains. Pantera laughed in the face of the enemy, and went into the studio to record their next album. Before its release, Pantera leaked a few tracks onto the radio to give audiences an idea of how heavy their next album would be. Horrified at how In Utero was no longer the heaviest metal album of all time (excluding Pearl Jam, of course), Kurt Cobain committed suicide out of shame. Pearl Jam took the challenge and recorded Vitalogy, a black metal album heavier than their previous releases. But little did they know that these leaked Pantera tracks were the lightest songs from their upcoming album. Far Beyond Driven was released in late 1994 like a kick to the bollocks, a groovy monolith heavier than any death metal album. This victory forced Pearl Jam into a self-induced exile out of shame - to this day only three Pearl Jam albums are cared for by anyone.
Pantera's mess of bleak, depressing Cookie Monster vocals may have seemed like the heaviest album ever made at that point - too heavy for its own good - and so Pantera were now going to return to their old Cowboys From Hell days. That was until Alice in Chains dared to make a heavier album than them the following year. Furious, frontman Pantera gargled a cocktail mix of heroin, tobacco and whisky every day until his vocals were destroyed, and the band proceeded to shit out the heavy metal masterpiece the Great Southern Trendkill. This album toned down the subtlety featured on previous albums, instead opting for guitars downtuned to oblivion, Phil Anselmo's demonic howling, and Seth Putnam on backup vocals. In order to be even heavier and rednecker, Phil Anselmo grew out his hair to metalhead levels, resulting in the finest country-metal album ever produced. Behind the scenes, Phil Anselmo lived a quaint and tech-free lifestyle in those days and as such did not own a radio, and thus had no clue that Pantera were the biggest metal band on the planet, leading to an album full of lyrics on how much he hated the mainstream.
This album nearly proved to be Pantera's final album, as Pantera himself almost overdosed on heroin. Though he survived, Pantera's music did not, and in 1999 the band went on to record the great disappointment Reinventing the Steel. This album proved to be inferior to steel, and those promised an improvement on steel felt cheated. Uproar was unleashed on the newly-invented internet about how Pantera were no longer KVLT or TR00, and to make matters worse, inferior clones to Pantera such as Lamb of God and other nu metal bands were taking their place. It was clear that both Anselmo's heroin addiction as well as his inability to sing for shit was now a problem - on top of this, Anselmo kept ditching them to play in numerous side projects. And so in 2003, while touring in Japan, the Abbot brothers had their revenge and ditched Anselmo in that country, heading home to form nu metal band Damageplan. Bassist Rex Brown went on to join Anselmo in some of his numerous side projects. It seemed hope was lost.
In 2004, Dimebag Darrell sold half his soul to Van Halen for his yellow-and-black-striped guitar, dubbed "bumblebee". He then sold the other half of his soul to Gene Simmons of KISS, in exchange for a cool-looking KISS coffin. Being Jewish, Simmons was not at all pleased that he was only getting half a soul in exchange for such a coffin. When Dimebag received his guitar, so excited he was that he jokingly said "shoot me now!". Gene Simmons, still sour over being ripped off, granted Darrell's wish. He was buried in a cool-looking KISS coffin while still in the pose of playing the bumblebee guitar. His brother Vinnie Paul Abbot, being paranoid, maintained that it was really Anselmo in disguise, and to this day refuses to speak to him. Of course, Anselmo's speech impediment and inability to finish sentences quickly makes it painful for others to speak to him anyway.