Before the whole Pantera “reunion” or “tribute” thing was announced, Zakk Wylde was one of the most expected choices for any potential work of this type. After all, he was one of Dimebag Darrell’s closest friends, and his playing style and tone fit what Pantera would hypothetically sound like today. However, another potential candidate mentioned by fans was also Ola Englund.
The Haunted guitarist who became more famous for his guitar-oriented YouTube channel has often been regarded as one of the players who were able to interpret Dime’s tone and feel pretty well. In a recent video shared on YouTube, Ola addressed the recent news of Pantera members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown coming together with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante for a tour in 2023. He said (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):
“There’s a lot of gatekeeping in these comments sections. And I wouldn’t take, you know, Facebook comments as being a good representative of what people really think – because most sane people are not on Facebook.“
“And I can definitely understand both sides: you have the people that want to gatekeep the band and [not] let anything ruin whatever Panthera was back in the day, because they were amazing, man. And there’s the other side, ‘But what about the newer generation? And what about keeping the Panthera name alive?'”
Further on, he explained why he’d go and see this iteration of Pantera:
“Personally, I would love to go see Pantera live again if I could. It’s not the exact same, but, fuckin’ hell, man, I will go see a fuckin’ stadium Pantera cover band just to hear the songs live, man. If they swing by Sweden, I’m going to be first in the line, getting a ticket, I’m not gonna lie. I want to see these guys play, man.”
“These are still a part of a legacy that is very important to me – obviously, the biggest part of the legacy, to me, is not going to be a part of it. But you know, I still want to hear Pantera songs live, man.”
Photo: Petrenko Petr (Ola Englund in Shanghai (cropped)), Llann Wé² (Phil anselmo hellfest 2013 (cropped)), Rexzone111 (Rex Brown, Smoke On This 2017)