Endless Loop: I’m Broken

panteraHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“I’m Broken” by Pantera

I grew up in Texas. It was only a matter of time before I got around to Pantera.

Like so many other artists in the early to mid 90’s, I got clued on to the Texas metal band through my hours spent in front of the television watching MTV. It was either on Headbanger’s Ball or Beavis and Butthead that Pantera first shattered my eardrums and pulverized my skull, though I’m leaning towards the latter. I distinctly remember listening to the two knuckleheads mocking lead singer Phil Anselmo, joking that his parents were giving him a hard time, and thus the anger and rage on display in his music. “Damn it Pantera! Clean your room!”

At the time, I found the band to be a full on sonic apocalypse that only became more and more aggressive and abrasive as they cycled through albums, from Cowboys from Hell to Vulgar Display of Power, and finally to 1994’s Far Beyond Driven and the single, “I’m Broken.” I felt like they were the heaviest band I’d ever heard. (Future listening and exploration would quell that notion though.) You could feel that bass drum in your chest, the shrieking guitar working its way into your ears and down into your throat, the bass lines shaking your entire body, and the guttural monster’s wail tearing your face apart. I can’t even begin to impart on how important music like this is to 13 or 14 or 15-year old boys. All the angst and rage and confusion boiled down into one screaming, pounding five-minute fit. I’m broken indeed.

While Pantera would find success all over the world and sell a ton of records before the inevitable band breakup bullshit and then subsequent tragedy and death that followed, they always seemed like such a regional flavor. All of my Texas friends, even those who are not into metal, seem to have some kind of fondness, or at least memory of the band, a whole collection of junior high and high school tales of teenage debauchery. Pantera made music for kids drinking beers by pump jacks or hanging out in caliche pits. They made music for the sunburned and blistered, reddened faces, wet breath, and never-ending heat. They made songs for us to slam around in the dust and desert to, clinching our fists and staring off towards the endless flatlands into nothingness.

And then punching that nothingness right in its stupid face.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

One Response to Endless Loop: I’m Broken
  1. Shawn C. Baker Reply


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