Phil Anselmo Describes How He Wrote the Main Riff to Pantera’s “Mouth for War”


When we think of Pantera‘s writing process, we usually think of Dimebag Darrell, right? That’s because so much of what makes Pantera rad is their thick, dark-chocolate riffs, and because Dimebag was this lovable virtuoso who changed the game while still feeling like one of us. But the truth is that the band’s 1992 classic Vulgar Display of Power was a collaborative effort, and in a new interview, Phil Anselmo describes how he wrote the main riff of the album’s opener, “Mouth for War.”

Speaking to The Pit (as transcribed by Loudwire), Anselmo described how the track’s main riff came to be:

“When we wrote ‘Mouth for War,’ I wrote the main riff, and Dimebag liked it. It sounded about a thousand times better when he played it, and he made it his own. And everybody — God, they put that song together. We put that song together.

“I think we knew we had written a pretty good song, that one. And I think the video for its time was unique to look at, groundbreaking, sort of action-packed — shit like that. So very ’90s-band-like.”

So here’s the thing: this isn’t news, or some truth that Phil is twisting now that the Abbotts are gone. In Neil Daniels’ 2013 book Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell, Phil’s contribution of riffs to the album, including that of “Mouth for War.”

It’ll just be interesting to see how some Pantera fans respond to this being said now, given the way perception of Phil has changed. If anything, we wonder if Vinnie Paul would’ve contested this were he still with us — whether or not he might try to downplay Anselmo’s contributions, given their contentious relationship (for the record, Phil never says that in this interview, that’s our take and our take only).

Check out the full segment below:

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