Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Pantera
Album : Cowboys From Hell
Released : July 24, 1990
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Holy Grails Of Heavy Metal Music ! )
Fate can truly be an amazing thing when you read, hear or even experience something that seemed to happen by chance or the perfect timing. By the end of the 1980s a band by the name of Pantera was truly on their last legs. After recording four records that basically nobody bought or even cared about guitar player Darrell Abbott (known then as Diamond Darrell) heard that Dave Mustaine of Megadeth was looking for a new guitar player. An audition was set up where Mustaine was blown away by the talent Darrell had. Dave offered the vacant position to him, but there was a catch. Darrell told Dave that he and his brother Vinnie Paul who played the drums were a packaged deal. Megadeth didn’t need a drummer at the time though so Darrell turned the offer down. It was for the best anyways, once Dave Mustaine saw how truly talented Darrell was he would’ve eventually felt threatened and fired him anyways.
After the audition a very distraught Darrell returned home to have a band meeting. It was obvious that some changes needed to be made. One of the greatest contributions to the band Vinnie Paul made was saying “Forget all of this glam stuff. It’s all about the music, not the way we look. Let’s just go out there in Jeans and t-shirts, let the music do the talking.” Everyone welcomed the change, especially now that the band had shed their Glam/Hair Band image for the thrash metal music that had been their main influence now. That being said no one was willing to give them a chance. As the saying goes “they were turned down by every record company over 28 times. It would take a simple twist of fate to change things and that’s exactly what happened.
In the summer of 1989 ATCO records executive Mark Ross was stranded in Texas because of “Hurricane Hugo”. That night he went to a club to see Pantera, and was so blown away by what he saw that he called his boss that night suggesting to sign them to the label. The band with Phil Anselmo on vocals, Diamond Darrell (not Dimebag yet) on Guitars, Rex Rocker who would in later years use his real name Rex Brown on Bass, and Vinnie Paul on Drums took their new sound into the studio that soon would become known as “Groove Metal” to record their debut for ATCO records called “Cowboys From Hell”.
Many people mistake the album as Pantera’s debut record. It even shows up on “Greatest Debut Records Of All Time Lists” by people who haven’t done their proper research. It’s really their fifth album, and second with Phil Anselmo, (the first four Pantera albums are out of print. In many ways though it truly is their first record, because it’s a true rebirth of a band who used the sounds and even looks of bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth of the 1980s to become the defining metal band of the 1990s. Yes, Pantera would kick off the new decade with a sound and groove that would help get Metal Music through one of it’s most difficult times. With bands like Metallica and Megadeth going for a much more mainstream sound, and grunge, hip-hop, Alternative, and Country ruling the airwaves, it would be Pantera making music loud, hard and fast to remain relevant with them all. It would all start with Cowboys From Hell that truly introduced them to us all. Such a classic and landmark metal record !
Track Listing :
1. Cowboys From Hell
2. Primal Concrete Sledge
3. Psycho Holiday
5. Cemetery Gates
8. Clash With Reality
9. Medicine Man
10. Message In Blood
11. The Sleep
12. The Art Of Shredding
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