Pantera hit the stage for the first time in over 20 years at the Hell & Heaven Metal Fest on December 2 with the lineup of vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown alongside Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. The band sounded fantastic (we've got our own footage right here) and given their touring schedule stretching all the way into 2024, it seems like Pantera is sticking around for a bit.
This of course raises the same question that any band who reactivates gets asked – will there be new music? In an interview with Brave Words, Benante says he's not sure what the future holds for Pantera, but knows the band should play more shows before even thinking about that. Benante is also cognizant of the obvious elephant in the room, that being new Pantera would be the band's first-ever without Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell.
"Oh man… who knows?" he said. "Creatively, if we are just flowing and getting going, and things are starting to be really good, musically speaking, you never know what could happen. I've got tons of riffs. But we're putting the cart before the horse. I like the positivity there, but I don't know how people would react to that either at this point. I think first, let's get out there and establish that we can play. I'm always open to the future."
A recent statement from the Vinnie Paul estate also seems to make it pretty clear that the Pantera shows should be viewed as a celebration and not a reunion. What that means for potential new material isn't clear, and probably wasn't even written with that in mind. This all stems from one question in one interview – we'll see what happens.
"There can never be a Pantera reunion without Vinnie and Dime," the statement read. "However, there is no better way to celebrate and honor Vinnie and Dime's legacy, than to bring the music of Pantera directly to the fans. We are honored that Charlie and Zakk, their very close friends and musical brothers, will share the stage with Philip and Rex, to unleash the power of Pantera live around the world."