Pounding for Pantera
Part 1: New Pantera? / Making the Most of Metal / A Southern Man's Band
For Texan metal maulers Pantera, rebirth is a many splendored thing. A war chest of heavy metal brawn, this multi-fisted quartet sets the metal standard with grooves that are as hard as nails but with a warmth and feel that evades their contemporaries. Drummer, leader, men's club owner Vinnie Paul goes all teary eyed when discussing Pantera's latest powerfest, Reinventing The Steel. "Our music is a reinvention because no one else out there does it like we do," claims Paul. "We sound way different from Korn. Reinventing The Steel is also a play on words, referring to Judas Priest's British Steel, which was ten kick-ass songs start to finish, no monkey business, no ballads. It rocked, just like our new record."
Contemporary metal runs the gamut from clowns in masks to whirlygig hair merchants to metal rap clones. But Vinnie means to put the music back into metal. "Our earlier records were abrasive, almost offensive. If you hated heavy metal we wanted you to hate it that much more. For Reinventing The Steel we used that attitude, but we went back to writing the best songs that we could with the best guitar riffs and the deepest grooves. We wanted it to be more than just attitude. We want you to remember the songs." So what makes this album and this band better than all the rest? "It's very aggressive, kick ass hard rock that is made by real musicians," offers Vinnie. "It's not made by drum machines, tape loops, or record scratchers, it is all straight, for real. I think the musicianship quality in the band is top notch."
Musician.com: How is Reinventing The Steel different from earlier Pantera albums?
Vinnie Paul: The last couple records were strictly about attitude. They came out at a time period when heavy metal had become less popular and all kinds of bands were trying to escape the word. They were coming up with different terminologies for themselves and they were jumping on the hip hop rap metal bandwagon. A lot of those bands are gone and we've stayed true to what we we're all about. We wanted to make sure that the records that we made at that time were very ferocious and aggressive and abrasive. We always stood by it. And when it came time to do this record we felt like we had already proven that point and we wanted to take the attitude and the aggressiveness, but go back to writing the best guitar riffs, the deepest grooves that we could and really come up with something more than just attitude. These are really good songs.
Musician.com: Your music is like organic metal. It's very rhythmic and raw and funky and animal, almost like an alternate metal Allman Bother's Band.
Paul: We always called it a heavy metal band because we were heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Kiss and to us those were metal bands. We carried that on and we couldn't find any other moniker that really fit us. I never felt like we were alternative or anything like that. It was always important for us to put more on there for the listener than the average band does.
Musician.com: There is a real visceral quality between you and Dimebag Darrell. It has an almost bluesy quality.
Paul: There is plenty of southern influence. I mean, growing up in Texas hearing ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, we saw some of the greatest blues players around. We always had a great deal of that in us, but never thought it showed through in the style that we play, although we were influenced by it. We have never been a common metal band - leather - wearing, singing about dungeons and dragons, it has always been a real street level thing. We have always done everything we can with each record to make sure that the sound is as modern as possible and the ideas are new and fresh for us without forgetting where we came from.
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