This week, Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante claimed that Pantera's return to the stage this month, after over two decades away, was "never a reunion." He also called out "disrespectful" comments he sees online about the heavy metal comeback.

He made those comments among others in a radio interview surrounding Pantera's second show back Tuesday (Dec. 6) at Monterrey Metal Fest in Mexico. He took the stage for the first time as the drummer of Pantera at Heaven & Hell Metal Fest last Friday (Dec. 2).

That concert was the debut of the celebratory Pantera lineup that will tour through 2024. In addition to the band's lead vocalist, Philip Anselmo, and bassist, Rex Brown, the current Pantera lineup includes the guitarist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) alongside Benante (Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death) on drums. They're supplanting the late Abbott brothers, guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott.

"This was never a reunion," Benante told radio host Eddie Trunk on Tuesday. "How can it be a reunion without Vinnie and Dime here? Sometimes people will send me something, and I see things online, and it's so disrespectful to both Darrell and Vinnie, and it's totally disrespectful to us too. And it's just like, 'Man, if you don't wanna come, you don't have to come.'" (via Blabbermouth)

The drummer continued, "One of the first things I said to Philip on the phone, I said, 'This, to me, is more on an emotional level than any other level.' This means a lot to me personally, to go out there and represent those guys and represent the Pantera name. And that's all I'd ever want for me. I don't care about it financially and stuff like that; this, to me, I had to do this. I didn't wanna see anybody else playing these songs but me up there."

This isn't the first time Benante has offered remarks since the Pantera celebration lineup has hit the road. He also addressed it after the first show.

"If I say I wasn't nervous I'd be lying," Benante said in a social media post the day after Heaven & Hell. "The excitement, the fear, the emotions, the love and the work that went into doing this all played a part of what was in my head. When I got up there it had all seemed to disappear (except for the cold 50 degree weather) I looked at @philiphanselmo @rexbrownofficial and @zakkwyldebls and felt the connection, Bam!!!!"

He continued, "I kept looking down at my setlist and was getting hyped up for the next song. Thank you #sterlingwinfield for bringing me an old @dimebagdarrell wristband and a pair of @vinniepaul3 old gloves. I wore the wristband and brought the gloves up with me."

Benante added, "I had some moments up there like I felt I wasn't there, I went to some other place. I think I was Metal meditating, don't laugh… I'm serious. Thank to the @panteraofficial family, thank you to the crew and the amazing fans who have always been so positive about this. Thank you to @carlaharvey and @miacbenante for listening to me play Pantera songs day in and out. I look forward to seeing you all and having a great time playing these songs and reliving the feeling of what a great band they are!"

When news first emerged in July that Pantera would tour again, rock and metal fans responded. The following month, it was revealed the shows would start this year. Pantera then released a teaser honoring the late Abbott brothers, the band's original drummer and guitarist. Another teaser arrived Nov. 26.

Charlie Benante Comments on His First Pantera Show - Dec. 3, 2022

Pantera Tour Dates

Dec. 11, 2022 – Santiago, Chile @ Knotfest
Dec. 12, 2022 – Santiago, Chile @ Theater Coliseo
Dec. 15, 2022 – Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Vibra *
Dec. 18, 2022 – Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Knotfest
May 26, 2023 – Sofia, Bulgaria @ Armeets Arena
May 27, 2023 – Bucharest, Romania @ Metalhead Mtg
May 30, 2023 – Budapest, Hungary @ Barba Negra
May 31, 2023 – Vienna, Austria @ Gasometer
June 2-4, 2023 – Nurburg, Germany @ Rock Am Ring
June 2-4, 2023 – Nuremberg, Germany @ Rock Im Park
June 5, 2023 – Lodz, Poland @ Atlas Arena
June 8-10, 2023 – Hyvinkaa, Finland @ RockFest
June 10, 2023 – Solvsborg, Sweden @ SwedenRock
June 12, 2023 – Prague, Czech Republic @ O2 Arena
June 13, 2023 – Berlin, Germany @ Verti Music Hall
June 15, 2023 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Copenhell
June 21, 2023 – Hamburg, Germany @ Edel Optics
June 22-24, 2023 – Oslo, Norway @ Tons of Rock
Aug. 4, 2023 – New York, N.Y. @ MetLife Stadium ^
Aug. 11, 2023 – Montreal, Canada @ Olympique ^
Aug. 18, 2023 – Arlington, Texas @ AT&T Stadium ^
Aug. 25, 2023 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ SoFi Stadium ^
Sept. 1, 2023 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ State Farm Stadium ^
Nov. 3, 2023 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Dome ^
Nov. 10, 2023 – Detroit, Mich. @ Ford Field ^
Aug. 2, 2024 – Foxborough, Mass. @ Gillette Stadium ^
Aug. 9, 2024 – Chicago, Ill. @ Soldier Field ^
Aug. 16, 2024 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ U.S. Bank Sta. ^
Aug. 23, 2024 – Edmonton, Canada @ Cmnwlth Sta. ^
Aug. 30, 2024 – Seattle, Wash. @ Lumen Field ^

* With Judas Priest
^ With Metallica

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