cowboysOn December 8TH, it will be 12 years since one of the greatest guitarists in Metal history passed away from a senseless crime. I am talking about the one and only Dimebag Darrell Abbott who was shot and killed while performing on stage in Columbus, Ohio. While the metal scene has persevered forward, it has truly never been the same since. To honor his memory, we are covering the major label debut and fifth studio album overall from his first band Pantera in Cowboys From Hell. The album which also featured Phil Anselmo (Vocals), Rex Brown (Bass), and Vinnie Paul (Drums) was one of the hottest debuts that made the step forward in saving metal. After being rejected 28 times by major labels everywhere, the band finally found a home at ATCO Records and released the record on July 24, 1990. The album would peak at number 117 on The billboard Top 200 as well as eight on the Catalog albums chart. It would go Gold in 1993 and eventually it would go platinum by July 1997. It’s an album that is often overlooked due to the follow ups, but this is an important record in the band’s history.

pantera-cowboysfromhell-back1. Cowboys From Hell– Probably one of the most famous album openers, the hard charging bass line that opens the track followed by Dime giving us some of his guitar licks before Phil helps the band slam it into overdrive. The track is a tongue in cheek as far as the lyrics are concerned because most bands come from LA or New York and these boys are outsiders from Texas. 5/5

2. Primal Concrete Sledge– The track starts with hammering drums from Vinnie with a bad ass bass line from Rex when Dime comes in on a track that could be about breaking down the walls of a government that shuts you out. 4.5/5

3. Psycho Holiday– The track starts off with Vinnie’s drumming that sounds like a machine gun going off and then the music kicks in with the low sounding draw of the guitar. The track seems to be about a man in a mental institution. 5/5

4. Heresy–  Dime’s riffing opens up this absolute headbanger in a track that explores all that is wrong with humanity. Check out the lyrics and tell me different. 5/5

5. Cemetery Gates– This is probably the greatest Pantera song ever in the history of the band. This is the song that captured me and made me interested in finding out more about them. 5/5 (if I could go higher I would).

6. Domination– Definitely one of the most bad ass Pantera tracks that makes you want to bat your chest and get your frustrations out. The end of the song is the absolute shit!!! 5/5

cowboys-27. Shattered– A killer drum riff and guitar riff open the track that features more of Phil’s high vocals. The track could be about war or Armageddon. It features a killer guitar solo too. 4.5/5

8. Clash with Reality– A track that may not be the best on the album, but it’s bad ass and it’s about that time when you finally have to face reality. 4.5/5

9. Medicine Man– an amazing guitar riff fades in on a track that is about you know what, that’s right a drug dealer. I love how the track is mellow during the verses before it launches into overdrive on the chorus. 4.5/5

10. Message in Blood– an insane track that talks about someone as diabolical as Charles Manson. This track and all the others prove what kind of a genius Dimebag really was. 4.5/5

11. The Sleep-The beginning opens with amazing clean channel playing from Dime before Rex helps them move forward. 4.5/5

12. The Art of Shredding– A killer track about banding together and kicking ass through the greatest art form which is Heavy Metal. A killer bass line from Rex opens the track before Dime does his best shredding. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is a record that should not be taken fro granted because it is one of the best Pantera records of all time which is a hard thing to choose with Pantera. If you want to get to know the boys, start with this and move forward. I am going to give the album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.

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