This month’s Classic Albums Column focuses on Pantera‘s Far Beyond Driven. Mars Attacks Podcast episode 60 features comments from Rex Brown formerly of Pantera, and currently in Kill Devil Hill, Gene Hoglan, Alan Tecchio, Dave Reffett, author Martin Popoff, Mitch Lafon from Bravewords, and Aaron from Iron City Rocks. As we established with the previous podcast we also discuss why this album was selected. You will find the podcast at the bottom of this post.
Remember that you can go here index page to find out further details on everyone involved in the column.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – This is the album that made me a total Pantera fan, this, Vulgar, Cowboys, Trendkill, Steel… another band that inspired a thousand more…
Dan Lorenzo – Before I tell you my thoughts on this album I have to interject with one of my highlights of my musical career involving Pantera. Right after ‘Cowboy’s came out, my band NON-FICTION opened up for Pantera in NYC. I don’t even think I even met any of the members of Pantera that night. In all honesty I thought ‘CFH’ was a bit too derivative of Metallica when I first heard it. I fell in love with Pantera when ‘Vulgar’ was released. By that time NON-FICTION had gotten signed and I was in L.A. with Alan Tecchio doing press for the first NON-FICTION cd. At one point I went back to my hotel room and I found myself alone in the hallway. Phil Anselmo was walking towards me. I said, “Phil..I don’t know if you know who I am, I’m Dan from Non-Fiction.” Phil said, “Of course I know who you are.” Then he started singing “The My Way” (the first song off the first NON-FICTION cd ‘Preface’) at the top of his lungs. How cool is that? Anyway, Far Beyond Driven contains the songs, “I’m Broken” and “5 Minutes Alone”. Monstrous riffing. Incredible vocals. Barreling drumming. And they just ripped it up live. ‘Vulgar” is still my favorite Pantera cd, but Far Beyond Driven is “Far Beyond” anything new coming out today for sure.
Peter Ellis – By the time Far Beyond Driven came out Pantera was a beast of a band! Each member had found their place and was comfortable within the spectrum of the band and were comfortable taking their music to uncharted territories. Also this album features one of my all-time favourite covers, Planet Caravan by Black Sabbath. I honestly don’t think any other band on the planet could have done a better job than Pantera did covering this song. Phil Anselmo will always be the best extreme Metal singer in history and the reason no other hardcore singer can sound like him is the fact that HE COULD ACTUALLY SING!!! He didn’t get into screaming because he couldn’t sing well like 99.9% of screamers. One of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands.
Jon Leon – Dimebag was a hero of 90’s metal guitar. That said….Pantera put out 3 albums that helped save metal in the 90’s, this one being the best of them. RIP Dimebag and Pantera will always be one of the all-time great heavier bands.
Erik Kluiber – must have seen Pantera 10 times between 93 and 95. They hit Detroit every few months. Their scene kinda turned less cool as time went on due to skin heads and jocks.
Phil Rind – Vulgar Display of Power is my favorite. I love the song “Rise”.
Mitts – Pantera’s best album. They were one of a few bands who kept metal alive through the 90’s era of grunge rock.
James J. LaRue – I got into Pantera with Vulgar Display. But I can’t stand phil’s voice or MMA/bro-down attitude. He ushered in a whole bunch of angry bros with thick necks shouting over stuff (“bro-cals”) and trying to be tough instead of learning proper vocal technique, but Dime was so great, and I suffered through the alpha male vocals because of that ultra-heavy guitar tone and wild leads. Once in a while I’ll throw this one on if I’m really really pissed. Anyways, I love Dime and his whole personality on the guitar and as a person. He had a huge effect on how I approach getting heavy tones. Pre-distortion EQ and solid state amps, later the tube Krank heads. He was friends and jam-buddies with another favorite player of mine, Blues Saraceno. I wish there was more recordings of Dime outside of Pantera. He was awesome.
Scott Middleton – Essentially Far Beyond Driven is the bench mark for modern heaviness and true attitude. Anything since has copied, borrowed, or stole something from this band. Straight up, this record is where 90% of metal and hardcore bands have stolen their tones from, whether they realize it or not! This band changed the way things were done, and no one since has put out a true metal record that really eclipses what this band accomplished. For christ’s sake it debuted at number one in ’94 when most metal bands couldn’t give away their records.
Jaye Schwarzer – The song ‘The Badge’ is a shredder of a tune that uses sound clips from the movie Taxi Driver. This record rips!! Dimebag Forever!
Seth Thacker – I personally think Pantera is the greatest metal band ever, always have and always will feel that way. I remember Far Beyond Driven being the first real metal record that I heard. It was so powerful, and it had so much attitude. It really opened me up to metal because up until then I really never cared for music of any kind. Once I discovered Pantera it was no holds barred on looking for other metal bands. Naturally I went backwards and discovered the previous records Pantera released. But Far Beyond Driven is probably one of my favorite records of all time. You just and beat it, the groove, the guitars, and Phil’s vocals just make for the perfect sound.
Scott LePage – Good Lord. This album is far beyond brutal. Especially for 1994 when most of the popular stuff was mid tempo grunge. I think I blew the tweeters in my car to this cassette. The riffs! And that clicky kick drum! My ears are still ringing….. Hold on, I’m gonna go put this on now!
Chris Biermann – Total fucking destruction in every note.
Jim Florentine – The heaviest album I ever heard at the time!
Raul L.R. – This sonic temple was released in ’94, it made clear to me that I would choose Pantera for life, instead of the metal gods like Metallica or Sepultura. I am no ashamed to say this. Phil Anselmo stands out, and is Darrell my favorite guitarist, I love the way his development of riffs and solos, the perfect balance, just perfect, just great, the whole album stands out, but to me tracks like 3 and 4 just shatter my brain, 5 Minutes Alone and I’m Broken, possibly because seeing the videos for this song really resonated and help form how I play guitar.
JL – With the “Vulgar Display of Power” Pantera were gaining considerable notoriety, which made many of us imagine that the next album would take advantage of the notoriety the band was having (with Vulgar Display). What happened was that none of us saw what was coming. As a result, the album is heavier, less polished, sharp as a razor, and powerful as a wrecking ball across the face.
Fer Fukyea – To begin I must say that Pantera is one of the best metal bands of all time, pioneers in this genre (abstain from mentioning Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and these sort of groups that do not belong to this style) and that have influenced probably 99% of the groups of metal today. What to say about “Far Beyond Driven,” well it is a very impressing, great album, the heaviest album they recorded up until then. It did not shake things up like when “Cowboys From Hell” was release, and won’t be remembered like “Vulgar Display Of Power”, but it is a tremendous album from start to finish. The Abbott brothers put together one hell of a set of song, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (guitar) and Vinnie Paul Abbott (drums), they demonstrate strength and incredible skill of the instrument on this album. Vinnie Paul does not need to play hundreds of notes per minute to back up a strong and brutal riff, and Dimebag … How original is the fucking man! Each song is different. I must say, while I am critical of James Hetfield (lead singer/guitarist of Metallica), and Phil Anselmo, lead singer of Pantera, I must say that in the studio he has a voice that varies between lower and higher registries, gravely and melodic, with impressive ease, but live, well, I do not know if he would have performed better sober, but he was drunk, almost always, and left much to be desired.
Jandro Storm – It was the album that we were all anxiously looking forward to hearing, after Vulgar Display Of Power. The truth is that nothing I was not disappointed and definitely put Pantera on my top 5 metal bands of the moment. I have the vinyl edition of this album, which has a different more explicit cover.
David Lozano – With Far Beyond Driven I discovered an energy in music that I had previously never experienced. They are definitely one of my favorite bands, and one that has influenced me a great deal as a musician.
Mikey Pannone – I honestly didn’t believe it was possible for any band to be THIS heavy. This album is the very definition of metal. Every song on this thing is like a natural disaster…tornado, hurricane, earthquake, volcanic eruption…all the above. R.I.P. Dimebag.
Owain Williams – One of the heaviest albums ever! Everything just sounds brutal. Except the bass drums. They sound like a typewriter! Haha. Throes of Rejection has to have one of the best Dime solos ever. I miss Dime.
Steve Smyth – Standout album from the legendary Pantera! You had the amazing chops of Dime and Vinnie, Rex holding it down, and Phil getting across all kinds of crazy sh*t vocally and lyrically! Awesome power on this album, in tracks like Strength Beyond Strength, Becoming, Five Minutes Alone, Shedding Skin, and their cover of Planet Caravan? A hard album to beat by a band on fire at the time, and in my opinion, I think they found it hard to follow as well…
Bat – I loved Vulgar display of Power and it has such great riffs and grooves and hooks. I found this album difficult to get into but I loved the version of “Planet Caravan” I was very lucky to meet and smoke spliff with Dimebag and Phil Anselmo in Dublin 93 just before this album came out
Clay Withrow – When Far Beyond Driven first came out it put Pantera on the map for a lot of metalheads. At a time when Korn and Limp Bizket were mainstream radio acts, most critics had given up on heavy metal thinking the audience had moved on. Thank god Pantera wasn’t led astray and continued to fly that heavy metal flag high. I honestly can’t think of many albums that top this, aside from the band’s later effort The Great Southern Trendkill. It’s a perfect mix of abrasive vocals, groovy rhythms, infectious guitar riffs and precision drumming. My favorite songs on that album would have to be “Hard Lines Sunken Cheeks” for its breathtaking solo and “Shedding Skin” for that insanely awesome opening verse. There’s no doubt in my mind Pantera is the most important metal band to come out of the 90s and one of the most influential heavy bands in history.
Kenny Pierce – Oddly enough by the time that “FBD” was released my interest was waning in Pantera. Having owned and loved “Cowboys From Hell” and “Vulgar Display Of Power” when they were released I was not prepared for the changes in the bands groove as this slightly new sound and direction were not my cup of tea. Back in the day this shift of interest was thanks to my switching over to more melodic Power Metal and believe it or not I sort of embraced the earliest providers of the Grunge Movement who were manifesting on that side of the USA. I felt that the strongest of the Hard Rock and Metal bands would survive that wave of “newness” that many felt was killing Metal, so while the USA moved to the plaid shirts my musical head turned to Europe where Power Metal continued to proliferate and dominate for many years. Looking back on “Far Beyond Driven” I can say that it was a solid album but not one of my favorites. I did enjoy the bands take on Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” of course and was shocked to see that one pulled out of the idea bank and delivered to fans.
Etan Rosenbloom – Far Beyond Driven was the first Pantera album I bought, and one of the first albums to spark my interest in the more extreme forms of metal. The album meant the world to me when I was a teenager and it still holds up. It’s got some of the band’s all-time grooviest riffs (“5 Minutes Alone,” “I’m Broken,” “Slaughtered,” “Shedding Skin”), and just as important, this was where Pantera embraced the swampy blues vibe that made them unique – “Hard Lines Sunken Cheeks,” “25 Years” and, especially, their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” all pointed to a more nuanced, subtle approach to aggression than we’d heard from Pantera before, but also a nastier one – no wonder it was also the first Pantera record where our dear departed Mr. Abbott changed from “Diamond Darrell” to “Dimebag Darrell.” This must count as the heaviest album ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts. Man…times have changed!
Grover XIII – When it comes to Pantera, Far Beyond Driven is a distant third behind Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display Of Power, but this album has some great tunes. The drumming on ‘Becoming’ is fantastic, and it took serious balls for these guys to cover a song like ‘Planet Caravan’, just because it’s so different from what they normally played.
Wayne Findlay – Far Beyond Driven is EPIC… Love that album.
Doug Gibson – Far Beyond Driven marked a noisier sound than the previous albums and it took me a while to warm up to it. “Becoming,” “Five Minutes Alone,” and “Becoming” were instant winners, and worth the purchase price alone. The latter half of the album pushed the boundaries a little more into noisier and more extreme sounds. Eventually, the entire album grew on me and is one of my all-time favorites, right behind Vulgar Display Of Power.
Jason Bittner – Great fuxking record by a great band- Becoming has one of the greatest double kick grooves ever by VP- the Bonham of groove metal!! Actually were in Australia now doing a lot of hanging together once again!! I met the Abbott brothers for the first time way back in 2004 when we toured with Damageplan- always straight up good dudes and never rock stars towards us!! Vinnie is the man, my bro-and we all still miss Dime every day! LITE ‘EM UP!!!
Jose Izquierdo – That’s the first album I heard by the band. A friend’s sister bought it for him on vinyl with the original cover. The first time I heard a song by the band was on the show El Pirata (famous metal show in Spain), I was sitting there with my brother, and my other brother and we all looked at one another and sort of said “What is this?” Getting back to my friend, his album is completely scratched, due to all of the times that we listened to the album. It was also the typical what is this reaction where the music just punches you in the face, and you’re trying to figure out exactly what you’re listening to. Planet Caravan winds things up perfectly, you really enjoy all of the other crushing tracks on the album, and then this track winds it all down perfectly.
Davish G. Alvarez I remember listening to Becoming for the first time and things, my god how is doing that. To this day, I don’t think I know exactly what he’s playing during that solo, I can’t play it exactly the same. You also have to look back and realize that with all of the Grunge that was being played at the time, they came out with a crushing album, heavy as anything, and it was the number one album. In reality I probably prefer Vulgar Display of Power, but this album was an evolution of the band, great, strong tracks throughout, even their cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan was incredible. It worked perfectly with the album, perhaps they put this cover on another album, and you sort of thing to yourself, what have you done? But it works on this album, it’s perfect.
Jorge Salan – Great album, Dimebag Darrell definitely had his own style, the way he played his solos, and in my opinion they created a style that so many others have followed. They have fans everywhere. I was actually invited to a Dimebag Darrell tribute in Madrid where I got to play Shattered, which is my all-time favorite track by the band.
Erun Dagoth – Crystal Moors lead singer Uruksoth brought this album to my attention, he’s a big thrash metal fan. He bought the album, and loved it, so I asked him to let me borrow it, since I was curious to hear what the band was all about. I also found it odd that a lot of people here in Santander (Spain) wore Pantera t-shirts. I listened to the album, and didn’t like it. Years later I asked to borrow the album again, and the same thing, I tried, and tried, but I just can’t get into them. They have songs that I think are really cool, and they’re all great players, but there is something about their style that I just can’t fully get into. They created their own style, which is very admirable, but they unfortunately don’t do anything for me.
The podcast portion can be streamed or downloaded from here: