The 50 best Pantera songs ever

30) Goddamn Electric (Reinventing The Steel, 2000)

When Phil sings ‘Your trust is in whisky and weed and Black Sabbath’, it’s hard to refrain from furiously nodding your head in agreement. From their last album, Reinventing The Steel, Goddamn Electric was a hymn to the glory of heavy fucking metal, performed by the genre’s undisputed kings.

29) Heresy (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

Staccato harmonics and a sinister rumble lead into another flurry of classic Dimebag riffs, still partly fuelled by the brutish precision of thrash but increasingly veering into more inventive realms. Meanwhile, Phil Anselmo invites detractors to ‘lick my sack’.

28) The Sleep (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

A Cowboys From Hell-era songs that diehards adore but that somehow escapes the mainstream radar, The Sleep is a gloriously creepy and dissonant slow-burner until Dime rips into one of the most spinetingling and audacious guitar solos you will ever hear.

27) Regular People (Conceit) (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

Vulgar Display Of Power’s relentless storm of destructive riffs reached a head-nod-inducing apex on this thunderous dismantling of some unnamed foe. And if there’s a better audience participation moment than ‘Don’t! Fuck! With! This!’, we’d love to hear it.

26) Psycho Holiday (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

As Pantera got heavier on Cowboys From Hell, their lyrics became much darker. ‘Now I’m far from home/Spending time alone/It’s time to set my demons free…’ growls Phil Anselmo, as his comrades churn menacingly around him. Psycho Holiday is an unhinged classic.

25) Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit (Reinventing The Steel, 2000)

Reinventing The Steel’s biggest anthem packed a hefty whack, musically and lyrically. A rabble-rousing demand for people to stop wallowing in the past, it was underpinned by one of those infectious grooves that only Pantera could conjure.

24) Suicide Note Pt. I (The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996)

Memorably and beautifully covered by Zakk Wylde to commemorate Dimebag’s passing, this woozy, lysergic The Great Southern Trendkill ballad showcased the true depth and strength of Phil Anselmo’s voice as he wrestles with the trials of mortality and the lure of oblivion.

23) The Art Of Shredding (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

A speed metal rager with groove by the fuck ton, The Art Of Shredding brought Pantera’s breakthrough album Cowboys From Hell to a close in suitably furious fashion. An avalanche of jagged, churning riffs met Anselmo’s rallying cry of “It’s only emotion!” and metal was noisily reborn.

22) By Demons Be Driven (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

Another gruesome exercise in grinding groove metal, Vulgar Display…’s darkest track is a swamp-dwelling blues metal death threat that left us in no doubt about Phil Anselmo’s troubled spirit. ‘Boiling my corpse in the blood of his children…’ indeed.

21) Shedding Skin (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)

Written about the young Phil’s horror at the notion of settling for a mundane life, Shedding Skin pulls no punches. ‘You were sticking to me like a scab!’ Philip screams over evil riffs. Not intended for radio and all the better for it, it’s one of Pantera’s heaviest.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.