April 26, 2023

LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe has once again weighed in on the news that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) have united with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.

Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante, are headlining a number of major festivals across South America, Asia, North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts. They will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.

According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band's founders, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag, as well as Brown, who in 2021 said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.

Blythe discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with El Expreso Del Rock. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Those guys, the PANTERA thing, I mean, that's their deal. People have different opinions on it. I think they made the right choice in who they picked because I know Zakk was friends with Vinnie and Dime, and I know that Benante from ANTHRAX was friends with Vinnie and Dime for many, many, many years. So, I think, for them, it's good, since they're going to do these shows, that they keep it in the family old school. I think it needs to be someone old school for them. And I think they made the right choice on who they got to play the parts… That's just my opinion, I think they made the right choice. It's really not up to me, 'cause I'm not in that band and never have been."

Blythe previously talked about the PANTERA reunion in an October 2022 interview with Consequence. At the time, he said: "I have nothing to say about that whatsoever. And that's not me being coy, saying 'I think they should really do it' or 'I don't think they should really do it.' I don't say anything about that because I'm not from Texas or Louisiana. I've never been in PANTERA. I know all those dudes, and I knew Dime and Vinnie.

"As soon as that happened, a lot people [asked me], 'What do you think? What do you think?' I don't know, man," Randy continued. "I'm not the one doing it. I guess, apparently they got the blessing of the estate of Dime and Vinnie, so God bless. Whatever. We'll see how it goes. I'm interested to see how it goes.

"There's a curiosity level, I think, not from me, really, to tell you the truth, because I saw PANTERA," Blythe added. "I don't need to see PANTERA again; I saw PANTERA. But there's a lot of young people that never saw PANTERA. And, of course, Benante and Zakk were friends with Dime and Vinnie as well.

"I really don't have any judgment in one way or the other."

In a 2007 interview with Tartarean Desire, Blythe was asked for his thoughts on comparisons of LAMB OF GOD to PANTERA and specifically him to Anselmo. He responded: "Uh.... I don't really care. Y'know, PANTERA were a great band. Phil is a great singer. Everybody has influences, but, specifically speaking, he was not a huge influence on me directly.

"I think a lot of the PANTERA comparisons are, y'know — you got some groove and there's a lot of aggression to it [in both bands' sound], and, uh, it is what it is," he continued. "Of course, we're all PANTERA fans, but we didn't go out and say "Hey, we're gonna be the next PANTERA" or whatever."

Last month, PANTERA headlined the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival. The two-day "limited" event took place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.

In December, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America.

Brown was forced to leave PANTERA's Latin American tour after testing positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him at some of the shows was CATTLE DECAPITATION bassist Derek Engemann, who also plays with Anselmo in both PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR.

Up until his passing, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for Dimebag's death.

Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.

Vinnie passed away on June 22, 2018 at his other home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. He died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.

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