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Pantera - Cowboys From Hell review


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Band: Pantera
Album: Cowboys From Hell
Release date: July 1990

Disc I
01. Cowboys From Hell
02. Primal Concrete Sledge
03. Psycho Holiday
04. Heresy
05. Cemetery Gates
06. Domination
07. Shattered
08. Clash With Reality
09. Medicine Man
10. Message In Blood
11. The Sleep
12. The Art Of Shredding

Disc II [expanded and deluxe edition bonus]
[Live Foundations Forum (1990)]
01. Domination
02. Psycho Holiday
03. The Art Of Shredding
04. Cowboys From Hell
05. Cemetery Gates
06. Primal Concrete Sledge
07. Heresy

[Alive And Hostile EP]
08. Domination
09. Primal Concrete Sledge
10. Cowboys From Hell
11. Heresy
12. Psycho Holiday

Disc III [Cowboys From Hell: The Demos] [deluxe edition bonus]
01. The Will To Survive
02. Shattered
03. Cowboys From Hell
04. Heresy
05. Cemetery Gates
06. Psycho Holiday
07. Medicine Man
08. Message In Blood
09. Domination
10. The Sleep
11. The Art Of Shredding

I have never listened to the pre-Cowboys Pantera. I don't know if it's for the good or for the bad, but I'm a most happy person to have listened to this piece of Thrash metal. I just can't get enough of this record. After listening to the headliners like Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth etc, Cowboys From Hell made me look at Thrash metal with a new, refreshed mentality. The guys from Pantera created something which was quite different from the traditional Thrash, yet at the same time as true as it could be. What else can I say? This album just makes the Big Four sound generic. Just kidding, but still the whole album is a good quality original Thrash metal release.

Cowboys From Hell starts from the self-titled track, with a catchy as hell riff, and then followed by a killer solo closer to the end of the song. In fact the album is full of great rhythms and leads, which just don't sound like anything else. It's not some stupid 200-beat-per-second pointless shredding with tasteless screaming. On the opposite, Phil Anselmo's vocal variety is really impressive. That guy has a distinctive subtle roughness in his voice combined with great high pitch screaming, which reminded me of Rob Halford. In a nut shell, a great voice to express all the aggression of the lyrics and music. At the same time Phil has beautiful clean vocals heard on Cemetery Gates. Variety is also a good characteristic for the music: the songs are full of diverse leads and riffs, most being just captivating. For example, the above-mentioned Cemetery Gates seems to be an awesome ballad starting with a beautiful acoustic fingering, but then it's followed by a simple, but again catchy as hell, heavy, and fat chord progression (what a great song for a guitar newbie). Once again the simple truth is proven: for something to be ingenious, it doesn't have to be complex. But don't get me wrong: Dimebag Darrell is playing some mind-blowing solos on this album, so all you guitar nuts (like me) won't be disappointed.

Although Cowboys From Hell is mostly a mid-tempo album (kind of what Groove Thrash should be), but no way will you find it boring. I wish we could have such a great Thrash album released nowadays, but alas, the glorious era of Thrash is no more. So add this one to your collection no matter what your music preferences are, and especially if you are into Thrash because this combo are masters of it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 9

Written by Kulu | 29.06.2008

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 31   Visited by: 240 users
06.10.2020 - 20:29
Rating: 10

This was the álbum that started all. Pantera went from being just another Glam Rock band among many others of the genre to being one of the best Heavy/Thrash Metal bands ever. This was the record that catapulted the band to stardom in the Metal scene and suddenly they were no longer a "poser band", but one of the most respectable and powerfull bands throughout the 90´s, always kicking ass for 10 straight years. Songs like "Cowboys from Hell", "Cemetery Gates", "Heresy", "Domination", "The Sleep" or "The Art of Shredding" are timeless classics. But the whole álbum is iconic and spectacular.

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