10 Most Underrated Pantera Songs
When you boast a catalog as loud, as loved and as packed with grooves as Pantera has, it’s an embarrassment of riches. The band’s body of work is impressive and they’ve carved out their own volume in the history of heavy metal, with each album serving as its own groove-packed chapter. Any Pantera fan worth his or her salt will rattle off tracks like ‘Walk,’ ‘Mouth for War’ and ‘Domination’ as their all-time favorites. The band’s propensity for writing anthems that diehards and casual fans love creates a unique problem: a wealth of underrated tunes.
Simply put, Pantera put their all into the music and it’s cool to dig a little deeper and see some of the concussion-inducing headbangers and power groove-laden rockers that didn’t get the same promotion as some of their more popular cuts get a little recognition. We’ve rounded up the 10 Most Underrated Pantera Songs, so crank it up and enjoy.
'Message in Blood'
'Message in Blood' is a classic, with military march-like percussion and rhythmic girth. It is also positioned on an album brimming with beloved tracks, and it tends to be overlooked and underrated. But this song's got some serious swagger, chugging along one minute then blasting you with a shot of adrenaline. It's a freakin' monster -- a monster, we tell ya.
A good power ballad is hard to find and Pantera have several in their storied catalog. 'Hollow' is one of them, with an intro and an overall vibe that's very Metallica in its sonic scope. But because it lives on the same album as 'This Love,' it doesn't get the same attention. It's another reminder that Philip Anselmo has pipes and that there is relatable humanness under the hard shell of the singer and the band.
'Yesterday Don't Mean S--t'
This profanity-in-the-title track is a typical, drill sergeant-like lyrical declaration from Anselmo. The positive message, which is essentially "Look ahead, don't look back," is encased in a familiar, ferocious medium. But 'Yesterday Don't Mean S--t' is weighty due to the words. It's worth noting that this album, which would be the Cowboys From Hell's last, feels overlooked as a whole.
The song is totally '90s its construction, and it's a refreshing change of pace, slowing things down --relatively speaking -- to allow for a moment to pause and reflect here and there. It also shows us that Phil Anselmo can sing and that he doesn't just snarl and bark. 'Cemetery Gates' is not the sole song on 'CFH' to do that. But 'The Sleep' is the more underrated Pantera song of the two and we're giving it its due.
'I'll Cast a Shadow'
You forget how good 'I'll Cast a Shadow' is until you crank the knobs to 11 and just allow it envelope you. There's a few parts of this track that have the same vibe as 'Becoming.' Besides all that, the groove cuts so deep it reaches marrow. 'I'll Cast a Shadow' is easily one of Pantera's most underrated songs.
'Drag the Waters'
No one has done a power groove quite like Pantera and the nasty opening groove and the gnarly primal scream of Philip Anselmo on 'Drag the Waters' will send a chill right up and down the spine. Those two elements make it one of the most underrated Pantera songs. Just turn it up and ride this groove for everything it's worth.
Much like 'By Demons Be Driven,' 'Rise' is a track that tends to get overlooked since it is surrounded by so many of its bone-crushing peers. It's just one of Pantera's problems, and what a great problem to have. The super-fast beginning and choppy riffing is tied together with a vicious, punk rock snarl. This song just pummels you to the core with Vinnie Paul's rapid-fire beats and Dimebag Darrell's dextrous riffing.
This song, featured on the 'Heavy Metal 2000' soundtrack, is one of the most underrated Pantera songs since it shows us what direction they were headed late in their career. 'Immortally Insane' sounds more like Down than it does Pantera, thanks to its bottom-feeding, sludge caked riffs and Phil Anselmo's throaty roar. Given that Anselmo and Rex Brown continued their post-Pantera careers in Down, this song can be viewed as a jumping off point for the pair.
'By Demons Be Driven'
By virtue of the album on which it lives, it's easy to overlook 'By Demons Be Driven' since it's in such good company. Dimebag Darrell's riffs crackle and shock with electrifying intensity and the song's chunky construction is a pretty flawless example of Pantera's deftness with the power groove. Listening to this song makes us miss Dime like a severed limb.
'Use My Third Arm'
It's doesn't get as much attention as album peer 'Five Minutes Alone,' but the near-minute-long drum opening is potent enough to cause seizures. It will have the listener bowing down in reverence to Vinnie Paul and his rhythmic dominance and come hell or high water usage of his arms and legs. 'Use My Third Arm' is easily the most underrated Pantera song there is because it's heavier than a slab of granite.