Vocalist Kyle Thomas of the much-missed New Orleans metallers EXHORDER, cited by many as the originators of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA, has issued the following statement in memory of DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott:"I was awakened at about 7:30 a.m. the morning after Darrell Abbott was murdered by a phone call informing me of this disaster. Immediate sadness filled me. I was sickened that such a thing could happen to anyone (including myself), but that it happened to Dime to me is an absolute abomination. "Darrell was never anything but nice and friendly towards me, even when our bands had a 'controversy' between them [EXHORDER had publicly called PANTERA out for 'ripping off' their sound — Ed.] "When EXHORDER first started playing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, he often came out to the shows. I would do the same for PANTERA in New Orleans before they exploded. In fact, I most recently saw him at the JUDAS PRIEST show in Houston. "Being that we were more good acquaintances than close friends, our encounters were far between. Nonetheless, Darrell embraced me and proceeded to speak his peace regarding the former negatives between our bands. Not once did he give attitude; Darrell spent several minutes complementing me both professionally and personally, and I returned them as well. "Zakk Wylde called to him from his tour bus because the bar awaited, to which Dime replied, '5 minutes! I NEED to have this conversation!!!' We then reminded each other that any problems between our bands were not a result of anything between the two of us, and re-certified our friendship. I passed a comment about me, him, and my brother-in-law Craig Nunenmacher of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY being a band standing there without a bassist, who would it be? We then all looked at each other with raised eyebrows at the very prospect. We shall never know now. "Above all, I want to send out condolences to Vinnie and his family. Also to Rita, as well as Philip and Rex, all of my friends in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and the New Orleans friends Darrell had. Condolences also to the world of heavy metal. You lost an innovator, a warrior, and a metal god. "We'll meet again..."