In the 1990's Pantera set the standard for every future metal band aspiring to become better/faster/stronger, and more visceral than Metallica. It was truly a golden age of the artform when Megadeth and Anthrax, and later Type O Negative and Alice In Chains would tour together with them. This was a time when metal resembled something more like a brotherhood, rather than the gathering of pretty boys, all vying to be the leader of technical and passionless proficiency, that it has primarily become these days. There are just as many good new metal bands as there were good old metal bands, though. The fact that most metal bands are garbage, only reflects the fact that there are just that many more people playing metal these days. The genre has grown healthily over the years, seemingly impervious to either mainstream praise or scorn.
There's something so purely American about Pantera. Their being from the state of Texas surely plays a part in that, but it's also something much deeper. They seem to represent, more purely than anyone before or since, the emotions and sentiments of so many frustrated and shell shocked youths in this country. Many bands have successfully reflected the themes of alienation, but when it comes to the unending boiling rage that results from it, and then the frustration that comes from the inability to find an outlet for it, Pantera is unsurpassed. Of course there are other remarkable aspects to Pantera's music, but this is the one that earns them their title of being the founders of Street Metal. No witches or goblins. No overblown antics. Just a pure reflection of both the ugliness and beauty that seethes from every street of this nation.