Far Beyond Driven
|Far Beyond Driven|
|Studio album by Pantera|
|Released||March 15, 1994|
|Recorded||1993 in Nashville, Tennessee|
The original cover for Far Beyond Driven.
|Singles from Far Beyond Driven|
Far Beyond Driven is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Pantera, released on March 22, 1994 by EastWest Records. The album is Pantera's fastest-selling album. The album peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Also, the album was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Far Beyond Driven is the first album by Pantera where the band's guitarist Darrell Abbott is credited as "Dimebag Darrell". The album is referenced in the Machine Head song "Aesthetics of Hate", the third track from the 2007 album The Blackening. The Japanese and the Driven Downunder Tour '94 Souvenir Collection editions contain a bonus thirteenth track, "The Badge", a Poison Idea cover. This cover was also featured on The Crow soundtrack.
Background, music and lyrics
At the time of its release, Pantera's vocalist Phil Anselmo was injured with ruptured disks in his back and was suffering from chronic pain from degenerative disk disease. Anselmo began drinking heavily, abusing painkillers, muscle relaxants and began taking heroin to numb the pain.
In an interview at Loyola University in March 2009, Anselmo said:
- "Well, I think it was about the time when the record [Far Beyond Driven] came in at No. 1. I was pretty terrified. I was happy as hell; don't get me wrong, man — I was like, 'Oh, my God, yes!' At that point, I had just gotten back from the doctor — from having my second MRI done — and I realized I had two blown-out disks. Now, in order for me to be this Superman that the media had built me up to be, I had to quell that pain. So I started off with regular painkillers and muscle relaxers. Eventually, you climb up the painkiller ladder, because painkillers lie to you; they will magnify that injury. And that's all that's on your mind — the injury and painkillers."
The song "I'm Broken" is about back pain that Phil Anselmo felt. Phil Anselmo said "This is right when I started feeling the pain in my lower back, and it felt scary," says Anselmo. "I think this is one of the first times in my life, man, that I had this thing called 'vulnerability' kick in, and that was a very uncomfortable feeling." Anselmo adds, "I think that was really my first glimpse into kind of screaming to the world, 'Fucking... I am broken! Somebody fucking help me here!'"
- "The story behind this song is we were opening for Megadeth, and there was a guy that was flipping us off the whole show and so we stopped the show. And I was like, "Listen, in case you haven't noticed there's 18,000 people who really dig what we're doing. You're the only one doing that stupid shit without even having to egg the crowd on." Ten guys just jumped the guy and beat the shit out of him. His dad called the manager after all the lawsuits and this and that, and basically said, "Give me five minutes with that Phil Anselmo guy. I want to whup his ass."
Phil Anselmo spoke about what the song "5 Minutes Alone" is about saying:
- "There are always gold-diggers out there. The way I remember it was there was this kid that swore that I jumped off the stage and beat him up. Well, that was bullshit. That did not happen at all. When the father asked for five minutes along with me, our manager responded aptly and perfectly: "No, you don't." [Laughs] "I really doubt that," and basically hung up on the guy. But once that story was conveyed to me, it actually made me angry because it wasn't fucking true. I basically plucked out those words from my agitator's mouth and yeah, man, "five minutes alone," fucking bring it."
In the liner notes of the album, all the songs' lyrics are printed apart from the cover of "Planet Caravan". The liner note reads:
- "This is a Black Sabbath song off of the Paranoid album. So don't freak out on us. We did the song because we wanted to. It has nothing to do with the integrity of our direction. It's a tripped out song. We think you'll dig it. If you don't, don't fucking listen to it. Thanks. On behalf of the rest of Pantera, Phil Anselmo '94."
The band tuned lower on the album than on previous efforts, with many songs going as low as C# standard. Several lyrical topics appear on Far Beyond Driven. The track "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" seems to be a reference to the song "Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine" on the Ted Nugent album Weekend Warriors. Phil Anselmo spoke about the track "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" saying:
- "The lyrical content was me probably giving a nod to my fascination at the time with Nick Cave's Birthday Party. Nick Cave was a genius. I will say the lyrics [on "Good Friends"] tell a true story. I made a lot of mistakes as a youngster, and to reveal to this particular person who it was about, why it was about, what happened that particular night, would not be a very kosher. I can't do it. To this day, I won't do it. It would just be in bad taste. At this point, I don't think that person would want five minutes alone with me, unless we have a sip of white wine."
Pantera's bassist Rex Brown spoke about "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" saying:
- "It was just kind of fucking around – Vinnie had a drumbeat, Dime was just fucking around with that pedal, and I had the five-string bass. It was just this little groove that we had. We listened to it and at first, we went, "What the fuck is that?" Then when Phil put the vocals on it, it just blew everybody's fucking minds. I don't know what the fuck he was thinking with the lyrics."
Phil Anselmo talked about the song "Strength Beyond Strength" saying "I was an rambunctious child," begins Anselmo. “None of it is regrettable, lyrically. You can look back at your lyrics and snicker. I'll always do, whether I'm embarrassed over it, or whether I'm embarrassed over it, or whether I'm embarrassed over it. You can tell growing spurts and pains and where you were in life, so I don't know. Strength fucking Beyond Strength is the old puffin' the chest up, 'look at us now,' we're as cute as [we're] fucking extreme."
Phil Anselmo explained the meaning behind the song "Becoming" saying "The most popular heavy metal bands in the world at that time were, in my estimate and definitely all of our estimates, playing the game," Anselmo says. "They had reached this pinnacle; now they were kind of tapering off and writing more commercial stuff, whereas we realized our strong point, once again, was sticking to heavy metal and making it as heavy as our style would allow. Therefore, with 'Becoming,' it is what it says. We were becoming. Honestly, we had arrived." Phil Anselmo explained the meaning behind the song "Shedding Skin" saying "'Shedding Skin' was about me being in my 20s and any girlfriend, lady-friend of mine trying to tie me down at that age, at that particular time," begins Anselmo. "Basically, 'lay off, right now.' A relationship with me? A serious relationship with me at that age? Forget it, fuck off. Really, it's impossible." Phil Anselmo talked about the song "Slaughtered" saying "I've always had a distorted view of organized religion and I was never more confused than when I was in my 20s and whatnot," Anselmo says about 'Slaughtered.' "And still I like to use a fusion, if you will, of religions and fuck with them, so to speak. And then tear them down and piss all over them or build them up only to tip over." Phil Anselmo spoke about the song "Use My Third Arm" saying "A song like 'Use My Third Arm'... sometimes I just go off on just, tangents," Anselmo explains. "It's almost like a formulated temper tantrum over aimless things. Try and find the dead target on that song and I'll shake your hand, because I really don't know. It might take a psychologist or something. It's a temper tantrum, really, put to music." Phil Anselmo spoke about the song "Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks" saying "I think it was a foreshadowing of the fear that I felt of not being the same," Anselmo begins on 'Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks.' "I know for a fact, I guess, that I dabbled in pain pills and stuff like that because I was miserable, and that's always a friggin' dead end, dead road, a terrible path to take. But at the time, I didn't have any other answers." The song "25 Years", one of Pantera's most personal songs" is about Phil Anselmo's father. Phil Anselmo said "'25 Years' was written about my father," the singer begins. "And at the time [I] had a gigantic falling-out with him and I resented the fuck out of him and wrote a beautiful song about it." Anselmo continues, "It was a time capsule of how far he and I had not come, and I think a lot of fans could relate with the dysfunctional family vibe. I think I put in some pretty clever wording here and there, and it might be that wording that they had been searching for themselves for quite a while when it comes to anger."
The album's original artwork (a drill bit impaling an anus) was quickly replaced with a new image, depicting a human head impaled with a drill bit. The Driven Downunder Tour '94 – Souvenir Collection box set released in Australia and New Zealand contained a copy of the album with the original artwork. The LP re-pressing by Rhino Records also uses the original artwork.
Release and reception
Commercial performance 
At midnight on March 22, 1994, Pantera launched the release of Far Beyond Driven with an extensive record store campaign. They travelled to 12 cities in almost five days with MTV documenting their progress. Bandmembers signed autographs, met fans, and promoted Far Beyond Driven. The band released "I'm Broken" as the album’s first single, which reached No. 19 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's highest charting single worldwide. The LP also contained the first cover song on one of their major-label releases—Black Sabbath’s "Planet Caravan" which served as the album's closing track and reached No. 21 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 26 on the UK Singles Chart. Pantera’s hard work paid off; by March the LP had sold over 185,000 copies and had reached No. 1 on the U.S Billboard 200 album charts and Australian charts upon release. It remained on the Billboard 200 for 29 weeks.
The album received mixed to positive reviews. Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars. However, AllMusic reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia stated "Far Beyond Driven may have been Pantera's fastest selling album upon release, but it's hardly their best. In fact, although it shot straight to the number one spot on the Billboard sales chart in its first week (arguably the most extreme album ever to do so), this incredible feat doesn't so much reflect its own qualities as those of its predecessor, 1992's Vulgar Display of Power."
Rolling Stone (19 May 1994, p. 103) - 4 Stars - "A kind of aesthetics of thud...the real art smolders in the noise itself."
Entertainment Weekly (1 April 1994, p. 54) - "If you're burned out on raging young men spewing aggression atop jackhammering drums and grinding guitars, then pass on Pantera. But if you've still got a yen for that sort of fare, then you can't do much better than this slab of metallic mayhem." - Rating: B+
Melody Maker (2 April 1994, p. 35) - "Like great techno, it's utterly flawless music, free of any error, minimal and animal enough to make a screaming bloody mess of the head."
In November 2011, Far Beyond Driven was ranked number six on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1994. The album was also ranked at number twenty in Guitar World's "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.
On March 24, 2014, a two-disc deluxe edition of Far Beyond Driven was released to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Disc one is a remastered version of the original album. Disc two is a live album featuring Pantera's set at the 1994 Monsters of Rock Festival.
Pantera toured South America, and were accepted into another "Monsters of Rock" billing. At that festival on June 4, 1994, the Abbott brothers got into a scuffle with journalists from the music magazine Kerrang! over unflattering cartoon depictions of drummer Vinnie Paul. Then in late June, Anselmo was charged with assault for hitting a security guard after he prevented fans from getting on stage, Anselmo was released on $5,000 bail the next day. The trial was delayed three times. In May 1995, he apologized in court and pleaded guilty to attempted assault and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Pantera continued their tour of the United Kingdom in 1994 and eventually ended it in the United States where the band was opened for by fellow heavy metal band Prong.
|1.||"Strength Beyond Strength"||3:38|
|3.||"5 Minutes Alone"||5:47|
|5.||"Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills"||2:52|
|6.||"Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks"||7:01|
|10.||"Use My Third Arm"||4:51|
|11.||"Throes of Rejection"||5:01|
|12.||"Planet Caravan" (Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward) (Black Sabbath cover)||4:03|
|Japanese edition bonus track|
|13.||"The Badge" (Jerry A., Poison Idea) (Poison Idea cover)||3:55|
Disc 2: Expanded Edition bonus CD
|Live: Monsters of Rock 1994|
|1.||"Use My Third Arm"||4:04|
|3.||"Strength Beyond Strength"||4:01|
|4.||"Domination / Hollow"||6:54|
|8.||"Mouth for War"||4:01|
|9.||"Cowboys from Hell"||4:49|
- Philip Anselmo – lead vocals
- Dimebag Darrell – guitar, backing vocals
- Rex Brown – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Vinnie Paul – drums
- Terry Date – producing, engineering and mixing
- Pantera – co-producing and arranging
- Ted Jensen – mastering
|U.S.||Gold||May 9, 1994||500,000|
|U.S.||Platinum||November 7, 1997||1,000,000|
|Canada||Gold||May 9, 1994||50,000|
|Canada||Platinum||November 21, 1995||100,000|
|U.K.||Silver||November 1, 1994||60,000|
|U.K.||Gold||November 18, 2004||100,000|
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- Graham 'Gruhamed' Hartmann (March 27, 2014). "Philip Anselmo Talks Pantera’s ‘Shedding Skin’ + Rejecting Serious Relationships – Exclusive Video". Loudwire.
- Graham 'Gruhamed' Hartmann (March 26, 2014). "Philip Anselmo Tears Down Religion Recalling Pantera’s ‘Slaughtered’ – Exclusive Video". Loudwire.
- Graham 'Gruhamed' Hartmann (March 28, 2014). "Philip Anselmo Talks Pantera’s ‘Use My Third Arm’ + Aimless Temper Tantrums – Exclusive Video". Loudwire.
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