STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet has hinted that his band will share the stage with the reactivated PANTERA at this year's edition of Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest.
Sweet implied that the two bands will perform together in America's southern neighbor while commenting on this week's news that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) were uniting with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.
Earlier today, Sweet took to his Instagram to share a new PANTERA photo composite from BLABBERMOUTH.NET, and he included the following message: "What's my take on the new @panteraofficial lineup? Well, first of all it doesn't matter what I think. That being said, I think it's great! As long as they have the Abbott Family's blessings and they're respectful while honoring Dime & Vinnie, I applaud the decision to move forward.
"I look at it more so as a 'Celebration', celebrating the lives and music of The Abbott Brothers. Also, who better to perform Darrell's parts but the one and only @zakkwyldebls – THE perfect guy for the job. Then add @charbenante to cover for Vinnie? Again, perfect! And let's not forget all the work that Phil & Rex put into PANTERA early on as well.
"I wish the band nothing but the best and more importantly, I wish the Abbott Family nothing but peace and love.
"In closing, I'll get to witness this lineup up close and personal in Mexico".
Launched in 2010, Hell & Heaven Metal Fest is an open-air heavy metal music festival which takes place annually near Mexico City. With over 30,000 festival visitors, it attracts metal music fans of all subgenres including thrash metal, black metal, death metal, power metal, gothic metal, folk metal, and even metalcore, nu metal, hard rock from all over the world. The festival is mostly attended by a Mexican audience from all around the country, but attracts a large number of visitors from Central and South America, as well as fans from Europe and other parts of the world.
This year's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest is rumored to be taking place in early December. However, as of right now, no official announcement has been made about the festival's participating artists.
Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and Benante, will headline a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts.
According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band's founders, drummer Vincent "Vinnie Paul" Abbott and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, as well as Brown, who last year said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.
Talk about a possible PANTERA "reunion" intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA's song "I'm Broken" during DOWN's 2014 stint on the "Revolver Golden Gods Tour". That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
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.