Did Pantera Rip Off Exhorder? Exhorder Frontman Kyle Thomas Weighs In

Phil Anselmo Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images
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Pantera didn’t come into existence as the heaviest band of the ‘90s overnight.

Before we even heard songs like ‘Cowboys From Hell’ and ‘Cemetery Gates,’ the original version of Pantera was actually a glam band, more in line with the stuff that you’d see on MTV in the ‘80s like Poison and Motley Crue.

When they did decide to make that hard switch into heaviness though, they may have been taking notes from their influences a little closely. 

Well before Pantera had started getting into any heavy stuff, Exhorder was already mining a style that sounded pretty damn close to what they ended up doing, which led fans to accuse Dime and co. of plagiarizing what Exhorder had already done.

Now that Exhorder has returned to the fold (and still kick ass), vocalist Kyle Thomas has addressed his band’s influence on Pantera, saying:

Pantera were very good before even, before Philip Anselmo joined them. They were very good and well-established at what they did, a very hard-working band.

Now, Phil is from New Orleans, like we are. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers. We’ve been friends for a very long time. In fact, that platinum album on my wall back there was a gift from Phil. That’s for  ‘Far Beyond Driven.’ So, we’ve been friends for a long time.”

Granted, it might be Phil trying to extend a little bit of a thank you to Kyle for mining so much of his style, but Kyle himself has been in Phil’s corner, even remembering a time when Exhorder was going to get back together and Phil almost replaced him, saying:

“Phil almost joined Exhorder for a minute. The band was reforming and I wasn’t interested, so Phil was asked by the band if he wanted to sing, and he said yes. And when I found out Phil wanted my job, I took my job back. That’s kind of how that went.”

Though the guys may have run in the same circles, it’s still possible that a little bit of plagiarism may have happened, but Kyle doesn’t seem to harbor any ill will towards the band that basically revolutionized the sound of ‘90s metal.

If anything, Pantera was the one that helped expose millions of kids to what heavy music was all about, and that’s rarely if ever a bad thing.