Why Yngwie Malmsteen Hates Phil Anselmo’s Vocals In Pantera

The metal genre occupied an important place in the ’80s music scene. That was the decade hard rock and metal music had made it into the mainstream, encouraging the emergence of subgenres like glam metal. The ’70s and ’80s also witnessed the inception and popularization of iconic bands such as AC/DC, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, KISS, Mötley Crüe, and many more. Yngwie Malmsteen was also a part of this music scene, providing a different approach inspired by his interest in metal and classical music.

Malmsteen, who has been a part of the metal world since the late 1970s, has had the opportunity to closely observe the career of his contemporaries, and he occasionally offers his views on music. One of his most striking ones was uttered during an interview in 1994. Part of the interview had the concept of ‘Thrash It or Trash It,’ and the guitarist listened to several bands’ songs and was asked to do a blind review. When it came to Pantera’s ‘I’m Broken,’ Malmsteen had some rather harsh opinions.

What Disturbed Yngwie Malmsteen In Pantera’s ‘I’m Broken’?

‘I’m Broken’ was released as the first single of Pantera’s seventh studio album ‘Far Beyond Driven.’ Released in 1994, the song featured Phil Anselmo’s vocals and was quite well-received, becoming the band’s highest-charting single worldwide. As you all know, Anselmo is accepted as one of the best leads in metal history, and besides his voice, his demeanor has become one of the defining elements of the band’s image and attitude. One of the main factors contributing to this song’s success was undoubtedly Phil Anselmo’s metal screams.

However, Yngwie Malmsteen disagreed. In 1994, while playing ‘Thrash It or Trash It’ with Guitar World, Malmsteen was asked to listen to the songs of bands such as Metallica, Primus, and Dream Theater and blindly comment on them. The guitarist had terrible comments for almost all of them. However, when it came to Pantera’s ‘I’m Broken,’ Malmsteen was particularly harsh on Anselmo’s vocals.

The guitarist’s blind critique of Pantera’s ‘I’m Broken’ began with praising the guitar riffs. He seemed satisfied with the guitars in general, although he disliked various points. Yet, when it came to vocals, he heavily criticized Phil Anselmo, saying he couldn’t find a word to describe his disgust. The guitarist stated that he was disgusted with it because that ‘was really not singing.’ He also used a more harsh expression, saying it sounded like someone ‘shoving something up the vocalist’s as*’ or as if there was ‘something coming out of his as* and his mouth at the same time.’

Malmsteen’s comments on Anselmo’s vocals read:

“I don’t know what this is, but I like the cool guitar riff. I also like the groove over the second chorus, but I don’t like the buzz-saw guitars. I’d much prefer a distorted guitar that doesn’t really sound distorted if you don’t play more than two notes.

As far as the singing goes, I couldn’t find enough words to describe my disgust because it’s really not singing. It sounds like somebody is either shoving something up the vocalist’s as*, or something is coming out of his as* and his mouth at the same time. It’s a stupid excuse for someone who stands in front of a mic stand.”

You can listen to ‘I’m Broken’ on Youtube below and decide for yourself whether Malmsteen is right.