Pantera announces first reunion shows

Newly formed group announces four shows

The first comeback shows for the modern-era lineup of Pantera have been announced for December. The group, featuring original members Philip Anselmo and Rex Brown alongside Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante, will play their first shows in 20 years as co-headliners on opening night of Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest before heading to South America for three stops on Slipknot’s Knotfest Tour.

Pantera will co-headline the first night of this year’s edition of Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest in Mexico City on December 2nd. The new lineup will share the stage with Scorpions, Arch Enemy, Epica, Cradle of Filth, and others at Foro Pegaso in Toluca.

Hell & Heaven Metal Fest launched in 2010 as an annual open-air heavy metal music festival. With over 30,000 festival visitors, it attracts metal music fans of all sub genres including thrash metal, black metal, death metal, power metal, gothic metal, folk metal, metalcore, nu metal, and hard rock from all over the world.

Pantera has been tapped to perform at Knotfest Colombia on Friday, December 9th, Knotfest Chile on December 11th and Knotfest Brazil on December 18th.

Knotfest Colombia will feature Slipknot and Pantera headlining alongside Bring Me The Horizon, Trivium, Walls of Jericho and others. The Chilean and Brazilian editions will feature Slipknot and Pantera with Judas Priest, Bring Me The Horizon, Trivium and others.

The group has also shared a teaser video with archival live footage of the original members. The clip advertises the new lineup is “For the brothers. For the fans. For the legacy.”

It was announced last month that original vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown are teaming with Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante to pay tribute brothers Vinnie Paul Abbott and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who formed the group in 1981.

Dimebag Darrell was murdered while performing with his band Damageplan on stage in Ohio in 2004. Vinnie Paul died from natural causes from an enlarged heart and heart disease in 2018. Dimebag Darrell would’ve been 56 on August 20th.

Despite being dubbed Pantera in the teaser, Wylde and Benante tell SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk that it’s not a reunion, it’s a “Pantera celebration.”

“It’s gonna be awesome! I mean, the fellas have always — when Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around that ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and all of us get together and do this thing however?’ I said, ‘Fellas, whenever you want to do this thing, I’ll be over here waiting in the dugout and the bullpen, and just call me in when you need me, and I’ll learn everything and we’ll go do this.’ Throughout the years, there’s always been rumblings about it. It wasn’t until obviously now — I was speaking on the phone with Phil — we might’ve all been on a group call — Phil was just like, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and would you play?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, Phil, of course, you know. I always said I would. Of course. If you guys want to do it, let’s do it,” Wylde shares.

He continues, “You’re celebrating the guys and you’re celebrating all of their achievements and their greatness and that’s what it is. Somebody was just like, ‘How can they call it a Pantera reunion?’ I go, ‘Well, it’s Phil and Rex getting back together because they haven’t played together in a while, but it’s a Pantera celebration. I mean, that’s what it is. It’s just like no different than Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] from Experience Hendrix asking Eric Clapton to sing and play Jimi [Hendrix]’s stuff to honor him, and they’re going to go out and honor Jimi Hendrix. To me, it’s the same thing. With Ozzy, we honor St. [former guitarist Randy] Rhoads every night. To me, it’s an extension of that. You’re honoring Dime. You’re honoring Vinnie and you’re honoring Phil and Rex — all the guys, their achievements and what they achieved as Pantera and all the mountains they conquered. That’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I always looked at it.”

Benante’s relationship with Pantera dates back to the mid-1980s, prior to Anselmo joining the group. Benante has been Anthrax’s drummer since 1983 and is a member of the thrash band Stormtroopers of Death.

“That’s the thing about it — I can’t go do this as the drummer from Anthrax because it would be a different sound completely. So when I’m gonna do that, if you close your eyes, it’s gonna sound like it’s Vinnie, basically, and that’s how it’s gotta be. The sounds is gonna sound exactly like him,” Benante states.

He adds, “My friendship with Darrell, you know, goes along way and I love both of those guys so much. So for me, it was a very emotional thing to do this, so that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about those two guys. I don’t want to see anybody else doing it but me because I’m going to do it right. I mean, we all know the songs really well.”

Billboard broke the news last month, stating the group is planning to headline festivals in 2023, the first for Anselmo and Brown together in 20 years. No other dates have been announced as of press time.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com

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