The 50 best Pantera songs ever

10) This Love (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

Sensitivity isn’t the first trait we generally associate with Pantera, but the band’s mastery of dynamics and, yes, ballads was second to none. This epic heart-wrencher starts in pretty, elegant mode before erupting into a mad-eyed bar brawl of a chorus.

9) Floods (The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996)

Often hailed as Dimebag Darrell’s greatest ever solo, the one the late legend plays at three minutes and 50 seconds into Floods possesses a unique magic. A thrilling snapshot of a revered musician at the height of his powers, it turned a great song into an all-time classic.

8) Fucking Hostile (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

The seething, snot-spattered flipside to Walk’s imperious stomp, Fucking Hostile was so much more extreme than anything else mainstream metal had to offer in 1992 that it took your breath away. Today, it still makes us want to run through a brick wall.

7) Mouth For War (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

If Cowboys… woke the world up to Pantera’s power, then the opening single from Vulgar Display Of Power blew the fucking roof off. From Phil’s opening declaration of ‘Revenge! I’m screaming revenge again!’ onwards, its opening track was groove metal given the ultimate upgrade.

6) 5 Minutes Alone (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)

Accused of causing a fan to be beaten up after calling him out for flipping the band off at a show, Phil Anselmo turns the tables with venomous glee on Far Beyond Driven’s third single, as Dime serves up a ludicrously muscular and insistent riff. As usual.

5) I'm Broken (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)

Notably the Pantera song that Phil Anselmo performed live in Texas with Rex and Zakk Wylde in 2014, this single from Far Beyond Driven marries an off-kilter time signature with a devastating chorus that, let’s face it, most of us can relate to on some level.

4) Domination (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

As if to balance out Cemetery Gates’ sophisticated excesses, this turbocharged neck-wrecker encapsulates the razor-sharp intuition between all four members of Pantera circa Cowboys From Hell. The grooves are absurdly powerful. Domination, you say? Easy.

3) Cowboys From Hell (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

A giant brick hurled through the metal mainstream’s window, Cowboys From Hell changed the game. The title track was the sound of the brute force of thrash colliding with the swagger and swing of Southern rock and a shit-ton of punk attitude. The result? Genius.

2) Walk (Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992)

Pantera wrote plenty of better songs than Walk, but they never hit the bull’s-eye with quite the same unifying power as they did with this ageless anthem. If you love metal, wherever you are in the world, that opening riff will get the blood pumping. What do you say?

1) Cemetery Gates (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

One of the greatest epic ballads in metal history, Cemetery Gates proved that Pantera had the depth and dexterity to transcend lazy labelling. A masterpiece of crushing melodrama, it boasts one of the finest solos that Dime ever played. Most importantly, it marks a significant moment in metal’s evolution, where old school ideas collided with a ferocious and fearless future. Pantera were a band that understood the power of melody and while more aggressive songs might seem more representative of the band’s sound overall, Cemetery Gates is simply one of those songs: etched into the hearts and minds of metalheads everywhere.

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.