Far Beyond Driven – A deeply Personal Dive into Pantera’s Third Album

I came of age in the suburbs during the late 80’s early 90’s.  Where I lived could have easily been called Pop country.  No one I went to school with listened to anything other the “mainstream” stations and MTV was still in its infancy. I had yet to learn the joys of Metal and at that point I hadn’t even hear of Pantera.

Sure, I had a couple of friends that moved in from places like California that were happy to offer up some lessons on what they considered “real” music.  It was then that I learned about bands like Anthrax.  However, being young and focused on school I didn’t have the pocket money to follow up on these bands.  I hadn’t learned about Headbangers Ball yet.

1992 ended up being a big year for me.  I turned 19, had a job and some spending cash. I had time to kill watching TV and that is when I started watching Headbangers ball and was first introduced to Pantera.  I was a huge fan from the opening riffs, but I still had no real idea how good this new music could be. I would learn in just a few short years.

Far Beyond Driven was a revelation to me. There was something going on here that I still didn’t quite understand but I knew I wanted to.  So, I took what little cash I had, and I bought the CD. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear and feel. From the first song to the last one I was entranced.

These songs matched what I was feeling at that point in my life to an absolute T. Listening to 5 Minutes Alone made me reflect on my parents and how I was trying to live my life on my own terms while they were still very much trying to exert control over what I did, how I did it and who I did it with.  I really did just want 5 minutes alone. At the same time there was some turmoil in the family, and I felt like an extremely broken human being in an extremely broken family.  Enter I’m Broken, another track that I felt spoke to my anger, frustration, and disillusionment with life. I won’t even go into 25 Years, somethings are just too painful to relive, but safe to say this song resonated with me on some levels that I thought I had fixed.  Even today as I listed to I realize there are some wounds that never fully heal.

It was also the same year I learned about the movie Heavy Metal. Planet Caravan became a go to song for me (along with Sammy Hagar’s Heavy Metal).  I’ve long been a fan of what I call “floaty” music and I think this may be the best example of what I’m talking about. There is something about the song that reaches me in ways that defy explanation.  I just know that it’s a part of me, then, now and forever.

If you haven’t listed to Far Beyond Driven and you are down for some heavy shit, I can’t recommend this album highly enough. But be warned, this album may well bring some things up for you but it may also help you cope.

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