Shockwaves hit the metal world on Wednesday (July 13th) when it was reported that singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown would be touring as Pantera in 2023. The thought of a Pantera reunion without guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul seems far beyond reason, but if handled respectfully, with the right personnel on board, it could serve as a proper tribute to the late Abbott brothers.
Dimebag was tragically slain onstage in 2004 while performing with the band Damageplan, but he left behind a legacy that firmly cemented him as one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time.
Vinnie, who died in 2018 of heart failure, masterfully kept the beat for the band that put the “groove” in groove metal, and his infectious personality made him one of metal’s most beloved musicians.
Filling in for either brother is no easy task, but there are a number of candidates who fit the bill — when considering their skills, their playing style, their availability, and their status as legendary musicians themselves.
While no musicians can ever truly take the place of Dimebag and Vinnie, we’ve come up with a list of six guitarists and six drummers who we think would do an admirable job (with one very noteworthy honorable mention).
Update, July 14th: Billboard reports that Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante will fill the guitar and drum slots, respectively, on the Pantera tour. That said, you can still see who we picked as our top candidates below.
1. Zakk Wylde
The name that has been mentioned the most throughout the years as to who could fill in for Dimebag has been Zakk Wylde. Of course, Zakk was great friends with Dime, and he’s certainly got the skills and the stage presence to do justice to Pantera’s discography. Wylde himself has addressed the possibility in interviews, saying he would be honored to do it, but in a 2021 interview with eonmusic, Rex Brown shot the idea down, saying, “It wouldn’t be Zakk Wylde, I guarantee you that. I’ve just put it out there so we can get on past it.” As far as availability, Wylde is the touring guitarist in Ozzy Osbourne’s band as well as the frontman of Black Label Society. It might be tight fit, especially if Ozzy gets back on the road in 2023.