"What's the f**king point?": the internet reacts to Pantera's 'reunion'

Phil Anselmo
(Image credit: Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

Metal social media was blown up earlier today by the news that a Pantera reunion is happening in 2023, with singer Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown reuniting to tour Pantera songs in North America with an as-yet-unannounced guitarist and drummer, joining them in place of the late Dimebag Darell and Vinnie Paul, who died in 2004 and 2018 respectively.

While the news was received positively by some fans evidently excited at the idea of getting to see Pantera songs played live again, many have expressed hesitation at the thought of a Pantera tour without the Abbott brothers. Others were quick to point out Anselmo's white power outburst in 2016 and other similar historic controversies, suggesting that it has sullied Pantera's legacy.

Most of the reaction on social media has appeared to be less than enthusiastic so far, with most responses seeming to focus on the much-missed Dimebag and Vinnie Paul. "There is no Pantera without Dime and Vinnie, pack it up already," said one Twitter user emphatically. "Without Dimebag and Vinnie, what’s the fucking point?" asked another angrily. "Good for them and good luck, I guess," offered someone else, before adding: "Pantera isn’t Pantera without Dimebag and Vinnie. I’ll fight anyone on that."

One user suggested that a Pantera tribute of sorts while Vinnie Paul was still alive could have perhaps worked, but in 2022, it just doesn't work: "Pantera with Zakk [Wylde] ten years ago would've been a beautiful tribute. But no Abbott brothers doesn't make much sense."

There were, in fairness, some positive reactions, with some fans choosing to see the Anselmo and Brown project as more of a tribute to Pantera than a fully-fledged reunion. 

"Vinnie and Dime are missed but it would still be badass to see full Pantera sets featuring Rex and Phil," Tweeted one fan. "I'm so fucking excited for Pantera to be coming back," said another. "It won't truly be Pantera without Dime and Vince but it's still gonna kick serious fuckin ass to be able to see those songs being played live again."

One user must be really excited. "I have a Pantera Tattoo above my dick," they proudly proclaimed. "I don’t think you understand how excited I am for this news."

Plenty of Twitter users expressed their belief that Anselmo's past actions were too significant for any kind of Pantera comeback to be celebrated, with one user replying to Metal Hammer's story with: "Friendly reminder that Phil Anselmo has thrown out the nazi salute while shouting White Power." They were by no means alone in highlighting the issue.

Metal website MetalSucks posted a Twitter poll asking for opinions on the news, with an overwhelming percentage responding negatively; at the time of this story going to press, almost 70% of people had selected the 'Boo' option.

While most prominent artists in the metal scene have seemingly held off on offering their opinions on the reunion for now, Demonstealer, frontman of Indian extreme metallers Demonic Resurrection, offered a somewhat relaxed take: "If you feel it should not be happening, just don't go for the show."

It remains to be seen who will be replacing the Abbott brothers on the Pantera shows, for which dates are also very much TBC.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.