Pantera Fans React to Zakk Wylde + Charlie Benante Joining Band’s Reunion Lineup
After word emerged on Wednesday (July 13) that the metal legends Pantera would tour again in 2023, rock and metal fans immediately started responding to the news. Then, a day later, Billboard reported that Zakk Wylde, Ozzy Osbourne's lead guitarist and the Black Label Society bandleader, and Charlie Benante, the longtime drummer of Anthrax, were part of Pantera's upcoming reunion lineup.
Still, as of this posting, Pantera themselves have not confirmed the initial report that said they've signed with Artist Group International to book their first live shows in over 20 years. But now that the cat's seemingly out of the bag, an official announcement from them is expected.
While Pantera's surviving members, lead vocalist Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, have discussed doing a Pantera tribute event or tour in the past — even previously mentioning the inclusion of Zakk Wylde — a full tour billed as Pantera seems unexpected after the deaths of the Abbott brothers, who first formed Pantera in Texas in 1981. Brown joined the following year; Anselmo in 1986.
"I love Pantera but this isn't a Pantera reunion," one listener said on Twitter after details about the lineup emerged. "It's Phil and Rex touring playing Pantera songs with Zack Wylde and Charlie Benante. It'll be cool but definitely not a reunion."
Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, later of Hellyeah, died in 2018 from heart failure. His brother, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, was murdered onstage in 2004 during a show by his and Paul's post-Pantera act, Damageplan. The venue was later demolished.
Other fans learning of Thursday's (July 14) lineup announcement were more positive. "Pantera reunion with Phil, Rex, Charlie, and Zakk... yes please!!! I hope they play near me," one added. Still, several more echoed the first sentiment — that Anselmo and Brown shouldn't tour with a new lineup and call it Pantera. Suffice it to say, however, the responses overall ran the gamut — many were excited about the new lineup.
Pantera last released the studio album Reinventing the Steel in 2000.