Vinnie Paul Abbott, drummer from iconic groove metal band Pantera, has died at the age of 54.
The band confirmed the news on their Facebook page today.
Vinnie — who went by the stage name Vinnie Paul — and his brother “Dimebag” Darrell formed Pantera in Arlington, Texas, in 1981, starting as a glam band.
Vinnie and Dimebag also played together in post-Pantera project Damageplan before Dimebag’s murder at the hands of a crazed fan in Ohio in 2004.
After Dimebag’s death, Vinnie played in metal supergroup HELLYEAH, with Mudvayne’s Chad Gray, Nothingface’s Tom Maxwell and Jerry Montao and Bob Zilla.
Although they’d been around since the 80s, it wasn’t until the introduction of singer Phil Anselmo in 1986 and the release of Cowboys From Hell in 1990 that Pantera properly took off, with the band taking on a thrashier sound and leaving the glam in the 80s.
Pantera’s sound tweaked again with their second album, Vulgar Display Of Power, displaying a groovier and slightly more laid back sound while retaining the ferocity and heaviness that Cowboys From Hell had kick started.
The song Walk from that album is considered one of the band’s masterpieces, and was ranked 16 on VH1’s 40 Greatest Metal Songs.
1994 saw the release of Far Beyond Driven, an album that went a bit more extreme with its music style but debuted at number 1 in Australia and America.
The original artwork featured a drill bit impaling an anus and was banned, being replaced with a skull being impaled.
The artwork reflected the harsher sound of the album, with a more hardcore-inspired sound meshing with the groove and thrash.
Tensions started arising in the band in this era, with Anselmo becoming addicted to heroin as an ersatz painkiller and becoming distant from the band.
The tension is reflected in 1996’s The Great Southern Trendkill, which was recorded with Anselmo in Trent Reznor’s studio in New Orleans and the rest of the band in Dallas.
The resultant album is aggressive and heavy, with down tuned guitars and a focus on Anselmo’s overdubbed vocals.
Anselmo overdosed on heroin after a gig in Texas in 1996, which came as a shock to his bandmates who had no idea he was using.
After his recovery, the band released Official Live: 101 Proof, a compilation of live tracks, before going into the studio for their final studio album, Reinventing The Steel, which came out in 2000.
The band split up in 2003, with the relationship between the Abbott brothers and Anselmo completely soured to the point that Anselmo was barred from attending Dimebag’s funeral.
Vinnie Paul’s heavy yet groovy style has influenced many metal bands since.