Pantera - Far Beyond Driven
EastWest Records
Aggressive Groove Metal
12 songs (56.36)
Release year: 1994
Pantera, EastWest Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Archive review
After the stupendous classic that is Vulgar Display Of Power Pantera had risen to the arena-class of metal bands and spawned a legion of short-panted, aggression filled followers in their wake. After two years the cowboys from Texas released Far Beyond Driven, that did in fact go to the number one slot on the US Billboard charts upon release. Not too bad for a purist metal band with tons of hate.

Many great metal bands (for example Metallica & Megadeth) took on a bit lighter and more rock-oriented sound after achieving huge success in the early 90s. Pantera did the exact opposite. They went more heavy and more brutal. Just like the title expresses, they drove everything farther – the tight production, the sometimes-bordering-on-death-metal vocals, the riffs, the tunings – everything. Anselmo almost completely abandoned the clean vocals and growled like a grizzly bear shot in the ass with a bazooka. Dimes riffs went more into the more modernized “chugga-chugga”-direction. All this worked very well on Vulgar, but here all of the songs just don’t live up to the task.

The beginning of the record promises very good things. The furious Strenght Beyond Strenght and intense Becoming change tempos between mad thrashing and Sabbath-type churning riffs. The following singles of the album, 5 Minutes Alone and Im Broken are absolutely stunning. Sheer metal perfection, some of the best tracks Pantera did in their career. The butchering grooves, especially in the latter, decapitate the body at the neck joints, while the torso is left to take punishment from Vinnies air-tight beats. But after this mastery, something gets stuck. From here on the album is terribly uneven. Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills is mostly Phils sensless screaming atop of Dimes howling guitarfeedback. The point of this track is way beyond me, arguably the worst song Pantera put on an album in the 90s. And besides the good speedride Use My Third Arm and the well-made, close-to-the-original cover of Black Sabbaths Planet Caravan, the second half of the disc doesn’t contain any good songs as a whole. Slaughtered has an excellent riff and on Throes Of Rejection Dime wails a melodic, speedy solo like the apocalypse is on his tail, but as a whole, the stuff is just not that memorable.

The production is everything expected of Pantera, stellar and very suitable for their music. Unfortunately the song material is not as stellar as on the two previous masterpieces. Pantera deserves a lot of credit for not bowing down to any trend and doing their own thing, that ultimately they did best. This album is worth more than just the visual filling in the complete Pantera discography in your record shelf, the first four songs are excellent and some good moments pop up every here and there. A good album, among the mostly amazing stuff that this band is renowned for.

Killing Songs :
Strength Beyond Strenght, Becoming, 5 Minutes Alone, Im Broken, Planet Caravan
Aleksie quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Pantera that we have reviewed:
Pantera - Official Live 101 Proof reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 87 / 100
Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power reviewed by Aleksie and quoted CLASSIC
Pantera - Cowboys From Hell reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 99 / 100
Pantera - Reinventing The Steel reviewed by Kris and quoted 75 / 100
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