Rolling Stone - 5/19/94, p.1033.5 stars
- "...a kind of aesthetics of thud...the real art smolders in the noise itself..."
Entertainment Weekly - 4/1/94, p.54
"...If you're burned out on raging young men spewing aggression atop jackhammering drums and grinding guitars, then pass on Pantera. But if you've still got a yen for that sort of fare, than you can't do much better than this slab of metallic mayhem...." - Rating: B+
Melody Maker - 4/2/94, p.35
"...Like great techno, it's utterly flawless music, free of any error, minimal and animal enough to make a screaming bloody mess of the head..."
Pantera: Philip Anselmo (vocals); Dimebag Darrel (guitar); Rex (bass); Vinnie Paul (drums).
Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I'm Broken" was nominated for Best Metal Performance in the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
Not since the last asteroid collision with planet Earth untold eons ago has there been a apocalyptic event to equal the musical Krakatoa that is Pantera's FAR BEYOND DRIVEN. Walking a stylistic line somewhere between the melodious crunch pop of Metallica and the punkish thrashorama of Helmet, Pantera channels their raging energy into songs that function as aural letterbombs from hell--designed to detonate in your face. Never have records quite as rude as FAR BEYOND DRIVEN (or Nine Inch Nail's THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL) broken out at #1 on the Top 200 of Billboard's pop charts. There must be a reason.
Immerse yourself in the first single off of FAR BEYOND DRIVEN, the thrashing "I'm Broken," and you'll get a good idea as to the method behind Pantera's madness--and what makes them such trendsetters in the thermonuclear epoch after heavy metal, speed metal and thrash have run their course. The arrangement opens with a classic Led Zeppelin rifforama (almost a blues figure); then they ride along on a single chord over an odd, slightly spastic rhythm figure a la Helmet; finally they allow these conflicting notions of noize to collide in hyperspace, setting the stage for a pithy, pulverizing guitar orgasm by Dimebag Darrell that is blissfully melodic, almost in spite of itself.
Or check out "Use My Third Arm," a terrifying journey into the world of police brutality. Vocalist Phillip Anselmo froths and rants like an enraged Electrolux, sucking in noise and spewing out hostility over Dimebag's jittery power-riffs. Drummer Vinnie Paul turns popular rhythm conventions on their head, letting the bass and guitar carry the carnage while choosing to spray short bursts of small arms fire in an arrhythmic fury like a deranged dixieland drummer. When Pantera finally tucks us all in with an affectionate cover of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan," it's as if they're trying to recollect a romantic folk song from some bygone era. As for the rest of FAR BEYOND DRIVEN...well, you want heavy--this is heavy.