There have been plenty of opinions about Pantera's current lineup of Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown being joined by Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante and Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde. Some people are vehemently against the whole thing, while others are all for it. Kittie guitarist and vocalist Morgan Lander seems to err on the side of it being a good thing, but also acknowledges that it isn't the Pantera of yesteryear for obvious reasons.
In an interview with the Audio Ink Radio Show hosted by Anne Erickson, Lander said she feels "the soul of the band is gone" now that both Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul have passed on. Though for the younger generation that never got to experience a Pantera live show, this is the closest they'll ever get and that's still a good thing. Which is… what these shows are all about, right? Giving a new generation the option to throw down to classics like "Walk" and have some fun?
"When I heard about it, I wasn't… I don't know… I wasn't mad about it. I feel like it is weird, because I feel like the heart and soul of that band were the Abbott brothers. And everything about their playing… Not like I could ever compare myself to any of them, but I understand what it's like to have a sibling in a band, and you play together for so long that it's, like, you connect on a different level. When they played, they had a certain swagger and they connected on a certain level together. And that's just something that comes with time and practice and all of those things, but also that bond, of being a sibling. And I know they were very close, obviously.
"I was really excited to see it. We played the very first show that they were doing the reunion thing at the Hell & Heaven festival in Mexico [last December], but we weren't able to get to the venue in time to see the show, so I actually didn't get to see it myself, with my own eyes, but I was very excited to see it.
"It's weird. To me, it feels like the soul of the band is gone. But there are a lot of people who never did get to see Pantera, and I'm sure that the shows are great, and with time they'll get even better. They're doing a ton of stuff this year. I definitely want to see the set, to see them play, even if it's just to hear some of my favorite tunes.
"But I'm not Team Phil and Rex or Team Dime and Vinnie. From a fan perspective, it's cool to be able to see and hear those songs live again. And there's a lot of people that didn't get to see it, so if they're excited, then that's cool. But I definitely will be catching probably… I know they're playing around here [in Ontario, Canada] towards the end of the year. I definitely want to catch it when I can. It's funny, because they're doing so many festival shows, and there is another new festival, I think, that they're playing as well that we might be around for. So I guess we'll see.
"Before Vinnie had passed away, I had seen lots of people talk about, 'Oh, well, the only person that could fill Dime's shoes for that should be Zakk Wylde.' As somebody who was very close to him, who was his friend, also an incredible guitar player, he always made sense for that. And I'd seen people talking about it for years and years and years. And so I can see where people would be excited but also kind of 'hmmm', a little weird about it. But if people wanna see them, then more power to them. Myself included — I definitely want to check it out."
Again – Lander pretty much nails it with her opinion. No, Pantera in 2023 is obviously not the Pantera that everyone knew and loved in the '90s. But it's the best Pantera can do in the present day, and if fans are having fun then great! On the flip side, nobody's forcing anyone to go see Pantera in 2023. Staying home and listening to Cowboys From Hell is an option.