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3.21 | 50 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Groove Metal


1. Strength Beyond Strength (3:38)
2. Becoming (3:05)
3. 5 Minutes Alone (5:47)
4. I'm Broken (4:24)
5. Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills (2:52)
6. Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks (7:01)
7. Slaughtered (3:57)
8. 25 Years (6:05)
9. Shedding Skin (5:36)
10. Use My Third Arm (4:51)
11. Throes of Rejection (5:01)
12. Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath cover) (4:03)

Total time 52:31

Japanese bonus track:
13. The Badge (Poison Idea cover) (3:55)

Total Time: 56:26


- Phil Anselmo / lead vocals
- Dimebag Darrell / guitar, backing vocals
- Rex Brown / bass, backing vocals
- Vinnie Paul / drums

About this release

East West Records, March 22nd, 1994

Japanese version contains bonus track.

The album's original artwork of a drill bit impaling an anus was deemed too explicit for general release, so it was replaced with the more familiar skull impaled with a drill bit. The original artwork was used for some limited edition releases.

Thanks to Stooge, UMUR, Unitron, Vim Fuego for the updates


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‘Far Beyond Driven’ is the seventh studio album by groove metal band Pantera, and the third since their unofficial rebirth, having shed their 80’s glam days. It’s weird to me, however, that while the band were one of the most influential metal groups of the 90’s, and this release reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts, it’s really a fairly average release, and is brimming with subpar material.

The most notable difference with ‘Far Beyond Driven’ over its predecessors is the absolute brutality of the record. It’s by far heavier than anything the Texans had put out prior. But sadly this comes at a great cost, as most of the songs are incredibly lacklustre. While the album starts off promisingly enough, it very quickly becomes a rather repetitive affair, with most songs sounding like a bunch of riffs incoherently thrown together.

The production itself leaves much to be desired, with particular mention going to the drums, which at times sound programmed in. Phil Anselmo’s choice of screaming and shouting over singing has certainly upped the aggression of the album, but does nothing for me. The only real highlight is guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who’s influential guitar playing has garnered endless acclaim, however, even here, it feels slightly by the numbers.

‘Strength Beyond Strength’, ‘Five Minutes Alone’ and ‘I’m Broken’ are all decent enough tracks, and a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan’ actually works really well for the band (I’m not a fan of the original, but this one is pretty good). But overall however, none of these songs are all that memorable to me, and certainly don’t hold up well to the bands previous two releases.

It’s not the worst album I own, but for all the praise it received, it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype. Oh, and the song ‘Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills’ is an absolute abomination.
"Far Beyond Driven" is the 7th full-length studio album by US groove metal act Pantera. The album was released in March 1994 by East West Records. Upon release the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and it has been certified platinum in the US. Without a doubt Pantera´s most commercially succesful release. The blue cover artwork that most people are familiar with, which features a drill going through a skull, actually isn´t the original cover artwork. The original cover artwork which depicted a drill impaling an anus was censored by the record company and never made it unto the CD version of the album. The vinyl version ( or at least the vinyl version I´m holding in my hand) features the explicit artwork though.

The music on the album has taken a turn towards a much more groove based metal sound than the style Pantera played on the last couple of albums but the band have also started experimenting with unconventional riffs, various types of aggressive vocals and also some less straight forward rythms. "Far Beyond Driven" features some absolutely infectious groovy metal tracks like "5 Minutes Alone", "Broken" and "Use My Third Arm" ( check out the breakdown in the middle of that song) but also some highly aggressive and at times even brutal tracks like "Strength Beyond Strength" and "Slaughtered". My personal favorites on the album are the rythmically unconventional "Becoming" and the excellent "Shedding Skin" though. The noisy and repetitive "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" and "Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks" don´t go down well with me. The album ends with a cover version of "Planet Caravan" by Black Sabbath which is a great mellow way to end an otherwise relentlessly aggressive album.

Besides the awfully triggered drum sound on the album I think the production is very powerful and professional. It does lack a bit of warmth though.

"Far Beyond Driven" is an immensely influential groove metal album and probably the most famous and commercially succesful album in the genre. In the years after the release of the album the metal scene would be flooded with imitators and worshippers. Some good, some bad. The point is that Pantera should be credited for being the band that brought the groove metal style to the masses. Personally there are things I really enjoy about this album and things I enjoy less, but viewed upon objectively this is quite a unique album and also a very innovative one, so somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating is fully deserved. After giving the album one final listen I´ve settled with a 4 star rating.

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