Pantera are know for their anthemic lyrics, which beg fans to sing (or scream) along while pumping their fists in the air or banging their heads until they do damage to their neck muscles. Frontman Philip Anselmo delivered his words in a militaristic, drill sergeant-like bark that demanded you listen and commanded your attention. But it wasn't all chest-beating bravado. Not even close.

The music was always groove-centric and heavier than granite, but the words were infused with poignancy and (a new level of confidence and) power that made them an equally heavy match for the sonics. Anselmo was deft with quotable turns of phrase on all Pantera albums and he gave metal fans something to think about. The lyrics were the brains coexisting with the brawn provided by Dimebag Darrell's riffs and the thunderous rhythms created by Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown. Noisecreep salutes the band's metal mastery with the 10 Best Pantera Lyrics list.

  • 10


    From: 'Cowboys From Hell' (1990)

    While most fans think of the pummeling riff (it begins at 3:51, for those keeping score at home) that defines 'Domination,' Anselmo delivers a thoughtful rumination on life and death.

    "It's domination pushed into living hell / Domination a now blacked heart / Is reaching out divinity / Body suspended by chains over razors / And nails it's a penalty / Each razor a vice and each nail marks the demise of you life / Grim construction grows / Has life played a trick / Sealed you in brick by brick / Till your end forcing you to bend."

  • 9

    'Suicide Note Part 1'

    From: 'The Great Southern Trendkill' (1996)

    Once again, the subjects of life and death weave their way through a Pantera song. The struggle to navigate life manifests itself, like the raised scar of a failed suicide attempt. The stark instrumentation that accompanies his gravelly voice only serves to hammer home the point.

    "Would you look at me now? / Can you tell I'm a man? / With these scars on my wrists / To prove I'll try again / Try to die again, try to live through this night / Try to die again."

  • 8

    'Strength Beyond Strength'

    From: 'Far Beyond Driven' (1994)

    Anselmo, who went on to battle substance abuse and near-crippling back pain in life, still projects unbreakable strength and will, as demonstrated by his phrase in 'Strength Beyond Strength' where he sizes up an inferior opponent of sorts, examining the subtle difference between reality and illusion.

    "You're muscle and gall / Naive at best / I'm bone, brain and cock / Deep down / Stronger than all."

  • 4

    'This Love'

    From: 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992)

    Love is a battlefield and a b---h and not even the great and powerful Philip H. Anselmo is immune to its guile and charms. But in typical Pantera fashion, he won't succumb. He didn't need more than a few words to get his point across. Plus, how many dudes have wanted to scream "NO! MORE! HEAD! TRIPS!" to their psycho exes?

    "I'd kill myself for you / I'd kill you for myself / No more head trips."

  • 6

    'F--king Hostile'

    From: 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992)

    One thing that Anselmo seems to be adept at, in his lyrics and likely in his personal life, is sizing up others. You get the sneaking suspicion that you can't pull a fast one on him ... ever.

    "If you crossed me / I'd shake your hand like a man / Not a god."

  • 5


    From: 'Far Beyond Driven' (1994)

    'Becoming' is home to some of Pantera's best lyrics because it addresses overcoming that which tries to destroy you and the notion of redemption through struggle. It's actually an uplifting message and one that is familiar and recurs in the band's catalog.

    "No more / The small one / The weak one / The frightened one / Running from beatings, deflating / I'm becoming more than a man / More than you ever were / Driven and burning to rise beyond Jesus / I'm born again with snakes eyes / Becoming Godsize."

  • 4

    'A New Level'

    From: 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992)

    Sometimes simple is the best way to go. Here, Anselmo barks from a very terse perspective. It's short and not exactly sweet, but it references how so many people who are mired in the quicksand of the past need to try and focus on the here and the now. This lyric is particularly tattoo-worthy. It pretty much asks to be scrawled across the back of the shoulders.

    "Forget the past / Present tense works and lasts."

  • 3

    'Cemetery Gates'

    From: 'Cowboys From Hell' (1992)

    Anselmo's pain over the loss of a loved one is palpable. He may not be able to cry but he sure can express it through gritted teeth and some of the highest notes he's ever hit. It's a succinct way of pointing out that even when someone passes on to the next life, they still leave plenty behind.

    "And when she died / I should've cried and spared myself some pain / Left me incomplete / All alone as the memories still remain."

  • 2


    From: 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992)

    Walk on home, boy! In Pantera's best and most beloved anthem, Anselmo barks a truism of life but does it in his and the band's DNA-distinct way. Fake people suck and those who try and pass themselves off as something false have no place in his life, so stay away. Stay far, far away.

    "You can't be something you're not / Be yourself, by yourself / Stay away from me."

  • 1

    'Mouth for War'

    From: 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992)

    The strength of mind and body is communicated in the best Pantera lyric, which is from 'Mouth for War.' Hate is not useless. When you harness it and turn it into something good, and that which can improve or benefit your life, and make others stop and admire, then it's not wasted energy, now is it? It just takes a different form. Anselmo dropped some serious lyrical science right there.

    "I've been wrong for far too long / Been constantly so frustrated / I've moved mountains with less / When I channel my hate to productive / I don't find it hard to impress."