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Two Years Later: Remembering "Dimebag" Darrell

The saying goes that “time heals all wounds”, I find it to be an expression that fails to capture how slow and awkward the process of healing can be. It’s been two years since the unexpected passing of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and the metal community is still adjusting. Bands continue to fervently tribute songs and even entire sets and albums to the man. As a fan, hearing any Pantera song today summons more emotions than originally intended. It’s remarkable and somewhat amusing, to find oneself tearing up to “Five Minutes Alone”. Slowly however, I find that the more often I play a Pantera song, the less it feels like a part of the grieving process.

Metal Underground.com has become one of the many hubs where Dime’s creative impact and his passing still resonate. Virtually every thread relating to Pantera and Damage Plan boast a countless array of heartfelt sentiments from admirers across the globe. Coping has not come easily but fans continue to celebrate Darrell Abbott’s life by blasting his music at preposterous volumes and toasting with his patented Black tooth grin. Some find solace in the killer having been felled by a 12 gauge shotgun to the face, metal justice by anyone’s standards but poor consolation nonetheless. Most still ponder the hows and whys of the tragedy, while recieving little in the way of answers or closure. While fans will always be distressed and confused by the actions of one lone lunatic, it’s Darrell Abbott’s friends and family who have suffered the most.

Only recently have we seen any signs of recovery from the surviving members of Pantera and Damage Plan. Darrels brother, Vinnie Paul Abbott, has continued to keep himself busy with his advice column in Revolver Magazine. Last month he dubbed his newly formed supergroup Hell Yeah, which features members of Mudvayne and Nothingface. Similarly, Patrick Lachman went on to front the Mercy Clinic, while Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo have been hard at work on the next Down record.

Like all so called legends, Dimebag has a legacy of achievements that may eclipse -who- the man was. By all accounts, Darrell Abbott was a gracious and personable individual, known to wade amongst the masses at shows, personally handing out tickets, merchandise and even drinks to his fans. Dime was also in the habit of greeting new tour mates (read: total strangers) like they were old friends. Members of Shadows Fall, Alice in Chains, Lamb of God, Korn and Black Label Society have all been taken aback by Darrell’s outgoing hospitality.

In celebrating Dime’s monumental impact, it’s important that we as fans do not deify him. Darrell Abbott was many things to many people but no more or less human than anyone else. By living out his childhood dream and utilizing sheer force of will, he reinvented metal during the reign of grunge. It's conceivable that metal music might still be saving face from the extended glam farce of the 80's, if not for the cowboys from hell. We owe it to Dime and ourselves, to carry on his legacy but not with the sad bastard-fanaticism some reserve for Presley, Cobain, Hendrix and Lennon. On this, the second anniversary of his passing, the man who helped devise “Vulgar Display of Power” would rather us be banging our heads than hanging them.

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