Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Pantera Songs

Pantera, 1993; photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Pantera, those hard-partying, stronger-than-all Cowboys From Hell who flew the flag for tried-and-true heavy metal throughout the Nineties when grunge and alternative music almost killed it. Their five classic albums are so tight, you could easily pick almost any track from those records to include here, but in our opinion, these dynamic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page, and if you really love Pantera, use the band’s cool new name generator in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the group’s milestone Far Beyond Driven LP.

 

“CEMETERY GATES”
ALBUM: COWBOYS FROM HELL

Showing off Philip Anselmo’s glass shattering falsetto (and topless bod, in the video), this ballad had all the metal chicks crushing on the Pantera frontman; when the killer riff kicks in, the boys fall in love too.
Sample lyrics: “The way we were/The chance to save my soul/And my concern is now in vain/Believe the word/I will unlock my door/And pass the cemetery … gates.”

“DOMINATION”
ALBUM: COWBOYS FROM HELL

Duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh … da-da-dah, da-da-dah, da-da-dah! The greatest breakdown ever written. (If you don’t know how it goes, please don’t call yourself a metalhead.)
Sample lyrics: “Agony is the price/That you’ll pay in the end/Domination consumes you/Then calls you a friend.”

“FUCKING HOSTILE”
ALBUM: VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER

Please refer to song title — it could not be truer.
Sample lyrics: “To see/To bleed/Cannot be taught/In turn/You’re making us/Fucking Hostile.”

“THIS LOVE”
ALBUM: VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER

Yeah, love hurts. But in the hands of these Texans, it not only breaks hearts — it splits heads and snaps necks.
Sample lyrics: “You keep this love, thing, love, child, love, toy/You keep this love, fist, love, scar, love, break.”

“A NEW LEVEL”
ALBUM: VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER

With the chorus of this chest-thumping anthem, Pantera tell us just where they stand vis-à-vis nearly any other metal band.
Sample lyrics: “A new level of confidence and power.”

“5 MINUTES ALONE”
ALBUM: FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

Only a fool would grant Anselmo his request for some mano-a-mano time — especially when they’re asking with grooves this crushing and vocals this pissed.
Sample lyrics: “I ask you please just give us … five minutes alone.”