Phil Anselmo Talks '90s Metal: 'I Got Bored With Thousands of Thrash Bands Trying to Emulate Slayer'

Singer reminisces "Far Beyond Driven" days, talks about his inspirations from the '90s.

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Marking the 20th anniversary of classic Pantera record "Far Beyond Driven," singer Phil Anselmo took a walk down the memory isle, remembering the early '90s metal scene.

Singling out Slayer copycat bands as the most tedious occurrence, Phil also had quite a few positive remarks to share about some acts.

"Aside from boxing and horror flicks, it was always music," Anselmo told Artist Direct. "At that point in time, I had gone through about my third phase of jamming a lot slower stuff. It was a Sabbath phase, so to speak."

Naming Black Flag as one of top acts doing "slow, droning, ugly-sounding tunes instead of hardcore anthems," Phil focused on Morbid Angel. "Also, at that time, Morbid Angel really brought me back to death metal. To me, that was a great revelation as far as getting back into faster music, more modern faster music, and s--t like that," he said.

"I think I got a little bored with thousands of thrash bands trying to emulate Slayer," the vocalist continued. "Morbid Angel stuck out because they were doing different things with riffs and ideas. Not to mention, Pete Sandoval was extremely innovative. Trey Azagthoth was also very innovative."

Furthermore, Mr. Anselmo singled out the likes of Suffocation, Sodom, Bathory, Agnostic Front, Poison Idea, Eyehategod and Anal Cunt, dubbing them all a major influence.

Discussing the album itself, the singer made sure to stress that the more commercial route some of the major acts opted for at the time was never an option. "There was a lot of speculation out there about what type of record we were going to make," he explained. "I definitely had a chip on my f--king shoulder because there was no way in hell I was going to go the --king commercial route.

"At the time, I think we were very aware of other heavy metal bands that had found a little bit of fame and taken that 'commercial route,' so to speak, with their music. I very much instilled that there was no f--king way I was doing that into the other guys. I think they were on board quite a bit.

"It's like when you have a favorite band, you follow their entire career, you wait anxiously to buy their new record, you open up it, you put it on, and it's a letdown. That's a s--tty feeling," Phil continued. "We knew what our fan base wanted. We were very focused on delivering what our fan base had come to know and come to know of us.

"A lot of people like to say we did things in reverse. Meaning, we didn't start out this heavy f--king band and get more commercialized. It was kind of the other way around. That was the main focus there. When I laid my vocals on that f--king record, I wanted people to feel the f--king spit on their faces coming out of the speakers [Laughs]. I meant every f--king second," he concluded.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    .. So the best way to get away from all the third-rate Thrash was to make a style of Groove Metal that is best described as Thrash Metal without the speed, skill and riffs that made Thrash Metal good? Even funnier is him talking about the "commercial route", when Pantera is only popular amongst Metal fans who only know the commercial route. Good on ya, Phil, you didn't want to take the commercial route, but Pantera still ended up as the perfect example of banal, mainstream 90s Metal.
    Yes they were mainstream, however, they helped out underground bands. Not many mainstream bands at the time would've taken Morbid Angel or Eyehategod on tour with them. Metallica sure as hell wouldn't have taken that risk.
    Groove metal is the shit dude.
    Groove metal is awesome. It would be cool if there were some more bands that took more influence from bands like Pantera and White Zombie. (I haven't been actively looking for any so if there are some bands out there like that I'm sorry I missed them)
    That's Pantera's best album. RTS was shit
    Revolution Is My Name, Yesterday Don't Mean Shit, Goddamn Electric, I'll Cast a Shadow. "RTS was THE shit," would be the proper phrase.
    Revolution Is My Name is one of my favorite songs from any band. Killer riffs, killer groove, and Phil's voice is monstrous.
    He summed up what I believe more bands should follow. Waiting for a bands new record, finally getting it, and then it being a let-down is the worst. You have to take into consideration what your fans like. In my opinion, (don't take this too literally) when you become as successful as Pantera was, the music doesn't really belong to you anymore. It belongs to the fans. (Its hard to put into words what I'm describing but that's close)