There are instances where you get one band who is described as an earlier and edgier but less popular version of another band. Faith No More preluded Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nymphs were the predecessors to Hole. Demolition Hammer predated Lamb of God in terms of bridging the gap between groove metal and death metal. Exhorder preceded Pantera (whose verse riff for Mouth For War is derived from the main riff in Desecrator). Most infamously, Curve were ahead of the curve by being the precursors to Garbage.
Of particular note is Nymphs. Their album had been delayed, losing its milestone status, because the producer was working as a mixer for Guns ‘n’ Roses. By the time that the album was released (October, 1991), it was too late because their thunder was stolen by Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Hole (a band whose success is owed to Nirvana).
Slave to the Grind (1991) by Skid Row foreshadowed the fifth LP by Metallica. Both albums had twelve songs – three of which were ballads that were carefully divided among the harder tracks. In the latter’s case, the third ballad was My Friend of Misery. The former’s classic album was released two months before the latter’s eponymous classic (these bands were hanging out with each other during the making of their albums).
Dog Eat Dog (1992) was perceived as a bandwagon jumper (regardless of whether it was designed to be trendy or not). Warrant had the same producer as Slave to the Grind. They were supposedly disallowed to be heavy until Skid Row were allowed, hence Michael Wagener being the producer. Skid Row benefited because their album was released before Nirvana made it huge with their trend-setting Nevermind album.
When Anthrax released Sound of White Noise (1993), they were perceived as having followed in the footsteps of Alice in Chains (same producer – Dave Jerden). When Mötley Crüe had released their self-titled album (an overdue 1994 release), they were perceived as wobbling on the waves of Metallica (same producer: Bob Rock). Anthrax would have done better had they recorded a rap metal album given their 1991 hit single. In doing such an album, they would have been perceived as influencing the Judgment Night soundtrack.
Truth be told, the coolest rock bands in the `90s were extensions of old sounds. The Doors spawned Pearl Jam. Nirvana were the new Blue Öyster Cult. Alice in Chains were the new Black Sabbath. Metallica were the new Deep Purple. Soundgarden were the new Led Zeppelin. Finally, Pantera were the new Judas Priest if only on the Cowboys from Hell album (1990). That album also saw them stealing from Led Zeppelin (the riff from The Wanton Song makes a cameo in the bridge of Domination) and RHCP (the chorus of Primal Concrete Sledge owes a debt to Punk Rock Classic).
After that album, Pantera happened upon the notion that success beckoned if they became a radio-friendly version of Exhorder by being less abrasive (vocally, lyrically as well as sonically in general) and less progressive. One example of the latter having an influence on the former is Death in Vain (1990) having influenced Shedding Skin (1994). Both songs have a word being echoed three times with less volume while the vocalist continues with the rest of the lyrics. Also, the final rhythm on Incontinence (1992) was the main rhythm of Strength Beyond Strength (1994).
Influences tend to be cyclical. The thrash riff that leads to the breakdown in a 1990 Pantera song titled The Art of Shredding is similar to the verse riff in a 1987 Anthrax song titled Imitation of Life. The latter band, in the long run, would end up being one of many bands (albeit the most relevant band) influenced by Pantera – right down to Dimebag Darrell doing enough guest guitar solos to have Frank Bello name him the sixth member of the band.