Watch Pantera Crush Judas Priest Cover Live With Rob Halford
Amongst KISS and Van Halen, Judas Priest were a crucial influence on a young Pantera as the Texas group honed their skills in the '80s and dominated the next decade. In 1997, during his time away from Priest, Rob Halford joined Pantera onstage to perform the British Steel cut "Grinder."
The relationship between the two bands runs much deeper than merely Priest having a heavy-handed impact on Pantera in their formative years. When Judas Priest roared back with the molten Painkiller album, they also had their ears to the ground and were cognizant of new developments within metal and elected to bring Pantera on tour with them for the European and U.K. legs. It was the same year that Pantera had reinvented themselves with the Cowboys From Hell album.
By 1997, Pantera had defied the odds and become a mainstream success, despite their penchant for releasing heavier and heavier albums as the decade raced by. Meanwhile, Halford had recently laid his band Fight to rest after two albums and was beginning work on what would become Voyeurs, the lone album released by the Metal God's industrial project 2wo, which came out on Trent Reznor's Nothing Records.
In the video below, Philip Anselmo heaped praise unto Halford as he welcomed the singer to the stage, calling him "the fucking king of heavy metal in my eyes." As Halford took the mic, the rest of Pantera dished out a pummeling version of "Grinder."
For Anselmo, it was a full circle moment as he had grown up idolizing Halford, doing his best to sing along with his favorite Priest songs. "I was playing my first gigs before I was barely a teenager," Anselmo told the Phoenix News Times in 2013. "I'll put it like this: I used to come home from school and practice Judas Priest's Unleashed in the East live record, and sing it a couple times over before my folks got home from work. Then I'd go play with my band."
Although he'd later abandon the high-pitch singing, the influence can be heard on Pantera's Power Metal album, which was the first to feature the singer as the band was in the thick of a stylistic transition, moving more toward traditional heavy metal as they began to abandon their more glam-oriented sound before eventually becoming groove metal titans.
Pantera Cover Judas Priest's "Grinder" With Rob Halford
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