Pantera: The Great Southern Trendkill turns 20

Pantera: The Great Southern Trendkill turns 20


American heavy metal legends Pantera pulled no punches on The Great Southern Trendkill, one of the most intense and hardest-hitting albums the group ever recorded, which is saying something. Released in 1996, the album went on to become Pantera’s fourth consecutive platinum release and remains a high point of the band's body of work... for listeners at least.

After Pantera topped the album charts in 1994 with Far Beyond Driven, Philip Anselmo, Rex Brown, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul returned two years later with the dark, tense, unrelenting and highly personal music heard on The Great Southern Trendkill. But it was an extremely trying time for the band, and it can be clearly heard on the record.

The once close group were at odds with each other, things were going on internally, they wanted to lash out, and if anyone had any doubts about what was going on behind closed doors, all their dirty laundry was displayed to the world in July 1996, when singer Phil Anselmo issued a press release detailing his near fatal heroin overdose, backstage at a concert in Dallas.

He dismissed it as a one-time mistake: “I, Philip H. Anselmo, immediately after a very successful show in Dallas injected a lethal dose of heroin into my arm, and died for four to five minutes,” he began. “There was no lights, no beautiful music, just nothing. And then after 20 minutes (from what I heard later) my friends slapped me and poured water over my head, all basically trying to revive me. The paramedics finally arrived and all I remember is waking up in the back of an ambulance…. I, since then, have recovered completely, the Pantera Tour uninterrupted. I intend to keep it that way! One message to everyone in this f–king world. I am not a weakling groping for sympathy. I WILL NOT DIE SO EASILY!”

“Phil was going through a lot of mental distress and it’s all on that record,” Vinnie Paul said in a 1997 interview. “You can feel the pain, you can see it, you can hear it. And it affected all of us, no doubt.”

But the distressing time for the band made for a brilliant, experimental and - surprisingly to the band - commercially successful record, staying on the charts for more than three months and producing three singles: "Drag The Waters", "Suicide Note Pt. 1", and fan favourite "Floods", a power ballad that includes an epic guitar solo that showcases Dimebag’s fretboard wizardry and is considered by many to be his finest.

The album turns 20 this year and to mark the occasion Rhino Records will release a souped up reissue, complete with the original album remastered, plus a dozen previously unreleased mixes, instrumentals, and live recordings. The The Great Southern Trendkill: 20th Anniversary Edition set also features rare photos from the era, as well as new liner notes by esteemed rock critic and radio producer Katherine Turman that explore the stories behind the album and its legacy. The collection will be available on October 21 as a 2-CD set (and Digital Download) and is available to pre-order now.

The companion disc that accompanies the original album features an unreleased version of every album track, including two versions of "Suicide Note Pt. 1" – a rough mix of the track, along with a separate version of the introduction, which spotlights Dimebag on 12-string acoustic guitar.

The second disc also features a newly remixed version of the title track, rough mixes for "Drag The Waters" and "The Underground In America", as well as instrumental takes for "13 Steps To Nowhere" and "Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath)". In addition to the studio recordings, the anniversary collection features three live tracks recorded at the Dynamo Festival in Holland in 1998: "War Nerve", "Suicide Note Pt. II", and "Sandblasted Skin". Check out the full tracklisting below.

Fans keen to sample some of the unreleased material, check out this early mix of "Drag The Waters", taken from the new edition.


Disc One

  1. The Great Southern Trendkill
  2. War Nerve
  3. Drag The Waters
  4. 10’s
  5. 13 Steps To Nowhere
  6. Suicide Note Pt. I
  7. Suicide Note Pt. II
  8. Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)
  9. Floods
  10. The Underground In America
  11. (Reprise) Sandblasted Skin

Disc Two

  1. The Great Southern Trendkill (2016 Mix)
  2. War Nerve (Live ’98)
  3. Drag The Waters (Early Mix)
  4. 10’s (Early Mix)
  5. 13 Steps To Nowhere (Instrumental Version) 
  6. Suicide Note Pt. I (Intro) *
  7. Suicide Note Pt. I (Early Mix) *
  8. Suicide Note Pt. II (Live ’98)
  9. Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath) (Instrumental Version)
  10. Floods (Early Mix)
  11. The Underground In America (Early Mix)
  12. Sandblasted Skin (Live ’98) 

 If all that's not enough to keep rabid fans content, on the same day, a single vinyl LP titled The Great Southern Outtakes will also be available featuring 10 of the unreleased tracks.

- RB

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