While Cinematic is a film blog, my greatest interest alongside movies is metal. Despite not looking like the typical metalhead, I almost exclusively listen to bands like Sabbath, Metallica, Priest, and Slayer and wear Iron Maiden or Motorhead t-shirts. And like many other metal fans, Pantera was the band that introduced me to more extreme metal. Initially a Texas glam act, by the 1990s, after listening to many of the thrash acts that dominated the metal scene in the 80s, Pantera stressed itself into becoming the heaviest band possible, delivering some of the strongest and monstrous metal songs there are. Pantera was undeniably a group effort, with Phil Anselmo’s incredible showmanship, Vinnie Paul’s thunderous drumming, and Rex Brown’s pounding bass, but Dimebag Darrell’s stunning riffing and shredding helped turn the band into major superstars.
Inspired by the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and later thrashers such as Kerry King and James Hetfield, Dimebag created some of the best and most memorable riffs in metal history. While Pantera can’t be fully credited for the creation of groove metal, Dimebag was undoubtedly the master of the genre. Listen to the ominous “Cementary Gates,” the somber “This Love,” or “Walk,” which captures the entire essence of Pantera’s metal domination in a few short minutes, and you’ll hear the work of a true master, someone who has perfected the guitar to the ultimate extreme.
But other than his extraordinary riffing, Dimebag was also known for being one of the nicest, most down-to-Earth guys in the music business. Over the past few months, musicians from Dave Grohl to Scott Ian have been talking about their experiences and friendships with Dimebag, from his love of whisky to his easy going nature. Dimebag’s amicable spirit was a rarity in the serious, egocentric world of rock stars, adding on to his impenetrable legacy.
A decade ago from today, a crazed fan came on stage and shot Dimebag on stage while he was performing with Damageplan, the band he had formed with his brother Vinnie after Pantera broke up. Despite rumors that Pantera could possibly reunite with Zakk Wylde taking over the guitar work, Dimebag’s death destroyed any chance of the band rejoining. But the music Pantera made will live on forever, and Dimebag ranks up there with the likes of Tony Iommi as one of the greatest guitarists who ever lived.
Update: Despite saying a few days ago that he would’t be doing anything publicly for Dimebag today, Phil Anselmo wrote a very touching tribute about him over at Rolling Stone. You can check it out here.