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FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH Guitarist Says Fans Will Be The Final Judges Of The PANTERA Reunion

He's gonna be in the audience.

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The news that a reincarnated formation of Pantera are playing shows in 2023 has been blowing up the past few months. Drummer Charlie Benante all but confirmed that it won't be a full-fledged tour (Lollapalooza? Coachella, maybe even?), and Zakk Wylde in another interview said that he will approach the music of Pantera, specifically the work of Dimebag Darrell, the same way he approaches the work of Tony Iommi (playing Sabbath) and Randy Rhoads (with Ozzy) — faithfully.

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Most people are on board the reunion train by now. Even Zoltan Bathory from Five Finger Death Punch is — although it took a very roundabout way for him to get to that fact. "Well, here's the thing: it's gonna be a Pantera cover band, really, if you think about it — even though there are previous members [involved]," Bathory told Meltdown. "The fans would want to hear that; otherwise it wouldn't be happening."

It's hard to think of too many times where fans wanted something so bad that band in question just made it happen, as such. Nonetheless, Bathory had more to say. "Pantera had a massive influence on me. And I would go and see this. Obviously, it kind of splits the crowd, because [some] people are, like, 'Well, this is sacrilege because the brothers are no longer here.' And at the same time, well, people wanna hear it."

Bathory ultimately summarized his point of view like this: "Look at it this way: this is an homage. This is paying respect to that music. This is paying respect to the band that was very influential for many, many people. If you approach if from that perspective, then, yeah, these are the right guys. Who else would play the guitar, for example? So, I don't know. I don't have an opinion, really.

"I always, with these kind of things, I go, okay, do the people, do the fans want to hear this? And that will be the answer. If the fans of Pantera say, 'Well, this is sacrilege, so we're not gonna go and see it,' well, then there is your answer. If the fans of Pantera say, 'Hey, we absolutely wanna see it because we love this band. And this is the only way, this is the only remnants of the band, this is the only way that we can one more time experience that,' then that's your answer.

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"This is the thing about the music industry, man — the fans decide everything. So it's always up to the people. So pick any artist and anybody can hate any artists who are extremely successful. You can throw crap. Pick anyone — Justin Bieber. The kid is really talented, first and foremost, and people love him."

No matter how you feel on the Pantera reunion (and we've heard from a lot of you across a variety of opinions), always remember this: Nothing is truly "over" and anything can happen.

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