PANTERA's major label debut, "Cowboys From Hell", which was released in July 1990, was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) on May 26 for sales in excess of two million copies in the United States,
"Cowboys From Hell" was PANTERA's breakthrough record, and it was originally certified platinum in July 1997. It has been praised by critics as one of the most influential albums on the metal scene in the 1990s. IGN named "Cowboys From Hell" the 19th most influential heavy metal album of all time.
PANTERA bassist Rex Brown spoke to the "Do You Know Jack?" radio show about the band's commercial success following the release of "Cowboys From Hell". "Everything was kind of changing at that point," he said. "All the hair bands and all that kind of stuff. Everybody was kind of stale. If you think about just songs in general, there were some pretty good songs that the look kind of took away from all that, 'cause you got lumped in with all that kind of crap. I'm not saying we did. But we just came around at a time that we saw a crack and we slipped through it, and we put a lot of hard work and a lot of touring [into it]."
He continued: "Those first two records ['Cowboys From Hell' and 1992's 'Vulgar Display Of Power'], we toured nonstop. We had 32 days off on the 'Cowboys From Hell' tour, and that was the total time period between 18 months on, and then directly back in the studio. We just came in at a time when people needed us. We would stay out in the parking lots until six in the morning signing autographs. I think that really made a big, huge difference between us and other bands that were just, you know, 'go on the bus and bye.' You know, you meet one guy, and he goes, 'Man, those guys were cool.' And he tells another friend, and it gets around like that."
Brown added: "We were the biggest underground band of the '90s. We didn't have a lot of MTV [support], we didn't have any radio play. Now you go to any sporting event and hear one of our songs at a football game, which is great, but they wouldn't touch it back then. So we just kind of [flew] by the seat of our pants and kind of D.I.Y., and just toured our butts off and worked really, really hard."
Guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, formed PANTERA in the mid-eighties in Texas. The band recorded four independent albums before "Cowboys From Hell" introduced a heavier sound and made them a favorite with metal fans. 1994's "Far Beyond Driven" debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 without benefit of a commercial hit single. The group splintered in 2002 following the departure of volatile lead singer Philip Anselmo.
The reformed PANTERA played its first U.S. concert on May 6 at the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally in Panama City, Florida. The performance marked PANTERA's first live appearance in its home country in 22 years — since July 25, 2001, when the band played at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington as part of the "Extreme Steel" tour.
PANTERA's current lineup includes two surviving members from the band's classic formation, Anselmo and Brown, along with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX).
Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and 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 Abbott brothers, 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.