Like John Bonham, Vinnie Paul understood groove. It was a quality that would help separate Pantera from other acts in the genre as they became their generation's most influential metal band.

We're listing, chronologically, our favorite moments from throughout Paul's career, not just with Pantera, but also from his time with Damageplan and Hellyeah.

"Heresy"
From: Cowboys From Hell (1990)

The odd time accents in the intro are particularly notable, as is how Paul unleashes the double-kick drum in the breakdown and rides the ride bell with a staccato grove that would make Shelia E. envious.

"Cowboys From Hell"
From: Cowboys From Hell (1990)

Probably the best thing about Paul’s performance here is the restraint that he shows. It would be easy to gun it from the get-go, but instead he chooses to let the verses breathe. Then, during the solo, Vinnie switches it up by alternating from a high-hat playing straight quarter-notes to starting an eighth-note, later landing on the “and,” once again demonstrating his uncanny ability to know when to lay the groove.

"Domination"
From: Pantera: Live in Moscow (2012)

No other Pantera song shows how Paul understood when to put four-on-the-floor more than "Domination," from Cowboys From Hell. In the studio version, Paul, bassist Rex Brown and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott are already tight in the pocket, but the song came alive in concert, particularly during their set at the Monsters of Rock concert in Moscow in 1991. It is possibly one of the greatest live performances in the history of metal.

"This Love"
From: Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

"This Love" has it all, including another fist-pumping-four-on-the-floor outro. Throw in great combinations of flams and double-kick to thunderous effect, and a serious groove backing Dimebag’s solo, and you’ve got a recipe for true Texas-sized metal angst.

"Becoming"
From: Far Beyond Driven (1994)

Although he's not really known for flashy fills, Paul’s proficiency with two kick drums is what places him among the top great metal drummers. "Becoming" is a perfect example of this.

"Use My Third Arm"
From: Far Beyond Driven (1994)

With a guitarist as innovative as Dimebag in the group, Paul often had to come up with novel ways to keep up. In "Use My Third Arm," he shows his penchant for novelty with rhythms that are not just a contribution to, but rather the basis of, the track's metal greatness.

"13 Steps to Nowhere"
From: The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)

The obligatory tom-tom intro gets a lot of the recognition, but what really gets "13 Steps to Nowhere" on our list of the Top 10 Vinnie Paul songs is the badass way he finds the main groove — sort of a metal shuffle —by playing triplets on the double-kick. Try to imagine Bernard Purdie with two kick drums.

"You’ve Got to Belong to It"
From: Reinventing the Steel (2000)

Rhythmically Paul covers a lot of ground here. His unique placement of the ride bell strikes during the second half of the intro illustrate his maturation as a well-rounded drummer. The only flaw here is that they didn't squeeze another 16 bars out of that outro.

"Fuck You"
From: New Found Power (2004)

On Damageplan’s only release New Found Power, the departure from anything with that Pantera feel was palpable. Yet Vinnie has his full-metal prowess on display here, showing why he’ll be remembered as one of the greats.

"Demons in the Dirt"
From: Blood for Blood (2014)

This song from Hellyeah makes the Vinnie Paul Top 10 list because it is representative of all of his work post-Pantera. That is, solid. Always solid. Never anything too flashy, almost always in the pocket, great double-kick work and always cognizant of when to ease back and when to punch it.

 

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