Fan poll: Top 5 songs on PANTERA's 'Far Beyond Driven' | Revolver

Fan poll: Top 5 songs on PANTERA's 'Far Beyond Driven'

See what power-groove classic won the vote
pantera GIRON FBD, Joe Giron
photograph by Joe Giron

There's really only one thing more shocking than the fact that Pantera's Far Beyond Driven debuted at the top of the Billboard chart in the spring of 1994 — and that's the sound of the Texas powerhouse's seventh full-length album itself.

While built on the explosive menace of 1990's Cowboys from Hell and 1992's Vulgar Display of Power — both crucial to how the quartet escaped the feel-good rockin' of their Eighties era — Far Beyond Driven found Pantera dialing up their already extreme and revolutionary blend of hardcore energy, death-adjacent vocals and that all-important Texas groove.

Other metal bands tempered their approach whilst approaching the mainstream; with Far Beyond Driven, Pantera dug in their heels to prove just how fucking hostile they were. And shot to the top of the charts in doing so!

Though the album is packed wall-to-wall with hall-of-famers, we tasked Revolver readers with picking the heaviest standouts from Pantera's most impossibly populist album. See the top five wreckers ranked accordingly below.

5. "Becoming"

Honestly, you could say this about a lot of Pantera songs, but with "Becoming" in particular, it's truly all about the riff.

The Far Beyond Driven sessions were notable for Dimebag Darrell coming in and going wild with his latest toy, the Digitech Whammy pedal. He abuses the hardware the most on "Becoming," constantly ramming his foot to the floor to produce the lead riff's uniquely punishing, feral screech.

Dime once said he wanted it to sound like he "plugged a cord up [a cat's] ass and threw a little EQ on it." Mission accomplished.

4. "Strength Beyond Strength"

It's still hard to believe that a legit No. 1 album began with something so unrelentingly disgusting and electrifying as Far Beyond Driven's hyper-thrashed "Strength Beyond Strength."

For starters, Vinnie Paul's a beast on the opener, with his supersonic double-kicking sounding like it'll flat-out tap-dance your spine into dust.

Philip Anselmo's thick-necked howl is in top form, too, whether screaming for marijuana reform or fixating on a "crippled American dream" being, uh, "butt-fucked" — making "Strength Beyond Strength" the de facto title cut, if you consider the band's rejected original cover art of an industrial-sized drill penetrating some poor soul's backend.

3. "Slaughtered"

The Pantera catalog is full of "fuck you" songs. "Slaughtered" is one of its most pointed, with Anselmo expelling pure venom as he contemplates sacrificial sows, dead gods and foolish, "self-righteous" kings.

While on the surface it seems like a takedown of religion, the song could just as easily — and poetically — be expressing a more general anti-authoritarian stance. Either way, "Slaughtered" has also got Dime nail-gunning his riffs with GOAT-like percussive precision.

2. "5 Minutes Alone"

As you'd expect from a song inspired by the prospect of fist-fighting someone's dad, the outright massive "5 Minutes Alone" is one of Pantera's most signature mid-tempo ass-beaters.

After a concertgoer was roughed up by a bunch of metalheads during an intense early Nineties Pantera gig — reportedly egged on by Anselmo — the frontman was threatened with both a lawsuit and a challenge to throw down from the kid's own father. Driven by a jarringly dissonant, open-chugged guitar groove and enough propulsive force to crush the state of Texas, "5 Minutes Alone" is a simply stated reply from a master antagonist: Bring it.

1. "I'm Broken"

Too obvious? Who cares! "I'm Broken" is the crown jewel of Far Beyond Driven for a reason.

But on paper, it shouldn't work. While Dime, Rex, and Vinnie were true kings of groove, the irregular shifting of the verse seems like a hard-sell for a mainstream bid. And prior to this, extreme-metal vocals like Anselmo's — albeit mottled with a bit of Southern charm — spelled commercial suicide.

But damn… that snaking, elastic melody is as irresistibly hummable as it is heavy. And Dime's solo is a next-level shredfest that cemented him as the guitar god for the rest of the decade.

Anselmo wrote the lyrics while rallying himself into shape after suffering a broken back. You can think of "I'm Broken" as a comeback anthem, in that respect. While the metal frontman has painfully continued fighting his own body for several decades now, it's ultimately a pledge to push through adversity.

Strength beyond strength, you could say.