Anyone who has had a taste of heavy metal knows who Pantera were. Without a doubt one of the top 10 most influential heavy metal bands of all time. What is arguable, however, is that Pantera's Dimebag Darrell was the greatest heavy metal guitar player of all time. Rhythm—check: he had attitude, style and conjured for too many memorable riffs. Pantera's first commercially successful release Cowboys From Hell (1990) is proof enough to showcase this phenomenon, let alone the rest of their catalog. Solos—check: melody, speed, shred, bends, whammy bars, finesse, harmonies, etc. Simply put, he could sing, yell, rap, and start fires with the strings. Dimebag was the essence of Pantera and the modernization of heavy metal from fast thrashing, galloping guitars to a thicker, heavier and meaner un-reverbed variation which took the metal world by storm in the early 90's. Don't let the banality of MTV's grunge extravaganza fool you—there was a lot more going on than Nirvana in guitar land at that point.
|Tear down this wall: Pantera perform the first heavy metal concert alongside AC/DC and Metallica in Russia|
since the fall of the Berlin wall (L-R: Dime, Rex Brown, Phil Anselmo, Vinnie Paul).
What's even more bizarre is that there are other countries with far more liberal gun laws rarely see these random shootings occurring. Switzerland for instance, where guns are part of the culture has one of the highest ownership ratio for firearms in the world and yet only a few isolated incidents such as suicides (mostly) and crimes of passion are reported (in which 90% of these cases include a gun). A referendum was held in 2011 for stricter gun control—the population voted against it, even though statistics showed that the violent death rate would plummet significantly.
|Dean Guitars's Six String Masterpieces event with tribute paint jobs|
|Zakk and Eddie hug it out days after|
the death of Dime at a tribute event.
Countless shooting incidents occurred before that night, and many more have happened since. Yet, there appears to be an insatiable desire to keep the dubious freedom of guns alive.
"Dimebag suffered a fatality", I remember reading ten years ago with a clenched throat as I poured over the developing story.
Many people immediately jumped to the defense of heavy metal as the media, yet again, scrutinized the music for ill intent (we have seen this with Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, and heck, even The Beatles in their day).
|Fans mourn Dimebag at a makeshift shrine|
outside the crime scene.
Whether he'd be onstage or in his Kiss casket buried alongside Van Halen's legendary Charvel hybrid a.k.a. bumblebee Frankenstrat, Dime's music rings on forever. Leave your thoughts in the comments. Getcha pull!