PANTERA — Cowboys From Hell (review)

PANTERA — Cowboys From Hell album cover Album · 1990 · Groove Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
martindavey87
Often mistaken for Pantera's debut album, 1990's 'Cowboys From Hell' saw a complete rebirth for the band, after four previous releases as an 80's glam band, they changed their sound to a heavier, more groove-based metal, did away with the spandex and hairspray, and with a big record label backing them, they really were a whole new band! And hell, you'd be forgiven for thinking so! I'd been a fan of the band for years before I ever knew they released albums before this one! Aw... the pre-internet days...

Hailed for keeping metal alive in the 90's, and highly regarded as the kings of what is known as "groove metal", as influential as this band would go on to become, I sometimes feel that a lot of the praise heaped upon 'Cowboys...' is almost hyperbolic. It's not a bad album, in fact it's very good, but I guess maybe it's become so highly revered by metal fans that when I came around to hearing it it'd been just a little bit overhyped.

Guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who would go on to become one of the most famous guitar players in metal, pumps out riff after riff, with the rhythm section of Rex Brown on bass and Vinnie Paul on drums perfectly giving the music it's famous groove. The icing on the cake is vocalist Phil Anselmo, who's brutal yet melodic singing can be enjoyed by thrash metal fans trying to cling to the 80's sound, or the more hardcore audience of the early 90's. Pantera had a versatile sound that helped them appeal to so many people.

With some groove-laden classics such as 'Cowboys From Hell', 'Domination', 'Psycho Holiday', 'Shattered' and one of the bands most famous songs, 'Cemetery Gates', it's easy to see why this record is so beloved! However, for all the good songs on offer here, there are a couple of absolute stinkers that plod along aimlessly, filling up space that would have been better left empty. And that's why, for all the love this album has received over the years, I can't see it as any more than "good".

But hey, a good album is still an album worth getting.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I don't play this in full much on account of my CD copy being busted ever since I dropped it while in my old Sony Walkman well over a decade ago. One of these days I really should repurchase a new copy.
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
@666sharon666 I can understand that. I think this is more varied than VDOP, and far superior to Far Beyond Driven. The long version of Cemetery Gates is my favourite off this album, and if you know how little I generally like power ballads, that's saying something.
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I love this one personally. For me nothing else Pantera did ever came close, not even Vulgar Display of Power which I know a lot of fans consider superior.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The Art of Shredding is my favorite on the album, and in my top 5 Pantera songs. Same with The Sleep, that's a beautiful track.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Wow...you don´t like "The Sleep"?...it features what is probably my favorite Dimebag solo. Incredibly solo that one.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
For me this album easily makes my top 100 albums of all time even though i don't make such lists :P
martindavey87 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Also, the first minute of 'The Art of Shredding' is amazing, especially the riff that kicks in at 0:30 seconds, but after that is just sounds too typical thrashy for me. It's not a terrible song, but damn I wish they'd stuck with that riff at the beginning as the main hook of the song.
martindavey87 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The only one I can name off the top of my head (without listening to the album to hear which song is which) is 'The Sleep'. Song does nothing for me. There was one or two others but I can't remember without listening to them.
more than 2 years ago
"However, for all the good songs on offer here, there are a couple of absolute stinkers that plod along aimlessly, filling up space that would have been better left empty."

Which are?

Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
You have no soul! Nah, fair call. They were really finding their way on this album. I'd rate it a bit higher, but it's down to personal taste.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'm with Jonas, this is a perfect album in my book.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
There´s not a single bad track on this album IMO. A pure 5 star release....

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