Cowboys From Hell Review

artist: Pantera date: 07/24/2009 category: compact discs

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Pantera: Cowboys From Hell
Released: Jul 1990
Genre: Rock
Styles: Thrash, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal
Number Of Tracks: 12
 Sound: 9.4
 Lyrics: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (12) 88 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: RIP Dime, on march 13, 2006
4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is the first Pantera album for a major label, and it is a great (and incredibly heavy) one. Dimebag's guitar is amazing, excellent power groove, chuggin machine gun riffs, and blazing, screaming, wailing solos, a must have for guys who love guitars. Vinnie Paul show how great a drummer he really is, him with Rex (bassist) make for a incredibly strong rhythm section that compliments Dime's guitars in every song whether it be a ballsy power balled, a high speed thrash rocker, or power groovin masterpiece (power groove is something Pantera created, that is Heavy music that has great rhythm). Phils voclas are amazing, his range can reach from low meanacing words to high falsetto screams that rival Rob Halford. Thier incredible talent is rivaled by thier amzing songwriting ability, thier songs are amazing, a creative blast of heavy metal carnage. This all combines into the sound of Cowboys From Hell. // 10

Lyrics: Thier lyrics are great, they match the southern metal sound with a great sort of short story kind of lyrics. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a classic, one of the best metal albums of the '90s. If you are a fan of metal, you will love it. When I first heard it I was blown away by the heaviness, skill and creativity of this kickass band! // 10

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overall: 8.7
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: Orion999, on january 27, 2009
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Believe it or not, Cowboys was a recent pick-up for me. I had a few of the highlights before, but never the entire album. What a rewarding purchase. I never truly was into Pantera when I was younger because I was so focused on Metallica. As a result I find myself mourning Dimebag Darrell in delay. Anyway, to business. Cowboys from Hell: it could also be called the revolution. Pantera completely overhauled their sound on this record, and transformed from glam-rock Kiss wannabees into practitioners of an ultra-heavy form of straight-forward, brutal metal. The transformation is a resounding success. The band sounds unified, tight, and completely determined in it's mission, which is essentially sonic assault. Yet, there is enough variation in the album's sounds to keep it from getting monotenous*. This is an accomplishment given the relentless nature of what is to become their trademark sound. The strongest tracks on the album have to be Cowboys from Hell, Psycho Holiday, Cemetary Gates, Domination, Message in Blood, and The Art of Shredding, but there is no filler, and all the songs have merit. The one criticism I have of the album's sound is that it can sound a little dry at times- vaguely remeniscent of Metallica's... And Justice for All, albeit with much more bottom-end presence. But there is very little flourish to the sound. I offer this as a tentative criticism because, it is minor, and it might not be a bad thing. While the production is very "meat and potatoes," this approach may enhance the overall theme of the album. It is not meant to impress with it's art, it's intricacy, or it's precision. It is meant to hit like a shockwave, leaving nothing in it's path; in this it startlingly effective. *I have said that the album maintains it's strength throughout, and to a large extent it does. However, the early second half of the album does begin to drag just slightly. Again, this is only a minor criticism as the album is very fresh and exciting through Domination. It also closes strong with two of the last three tracks, Message in Blood and The Art of Shredding, among the album's best. // 9

Lyrics: This is a very difficult category for me to give an accurate rating to, because there is great variation in the different aspects of Phil Anselmo's contributions. I'll tackle the lyrics first. If I were to rate the lyrics by themselves, I'd give them a six or a seven. They generally aren't bad or cliche, and they certainly aren't corny. They are very appropriate for the album's sound. However, there is little I find inspired in most of the lyrics; they're fairly simple and straight-forward, and once in a while, even a little dull. That being said, there are also high points. Coybows from Hell, Psycho Holiday, Cemetary Gates, Medicine Man, and The Art of Shredding, among them. As for Anselmo's voice, I give him a 10. His vocal range is astounding. At times he wails like Rob Halford (the end of Cemetary Gates) and at other times he growls at the depths of the bass range (the very beginning of Cowboys from Hell when he says, "We're takin' over this town."). His mainstay is a combination of roaring, screaming, singing, and growling that mixes to produce a very unique and powerful sound that suits the music perfectly. The only other vocalist who can balance the tonal, musical aspects of his voice, with the gritty, harsh sounds of roaring, growling, or screaming, is James Hetfield. And yet the two do not sound similar. Anselmo's voice is a little grittier than Hetfields, but also lacks some of his tone. Again, this suits Pantera's music. However you view it, his voice is truly impressive on this album. It is one of the most skillful and copied performances I have heard. // 8

Overall Impression: In looking at Cowyboys from Hell, it is important to look at it's effects on music. People thought metal died in the late seventies when Kiss started playing disco, Ozzy was fired from Sabbath, John Bonham died (yes I ripped that from the VH1 special, but it's true), and punk emerged as the primary musical expression of counter-culture. How wrong they were; metal would rule the eighties with an iron fist. Then people thought metal died when Smells Like Teen Spirit hit the MTV video circuit, Nevermind shattered the glam-metal chandelier like a hammer, and it appeared grunge and alternative would replace it as counter-culture's answer to "the man." Again, they were wrong. You'd think by now people would realize that when a form of music is born among and fueled by what are generally society's most aggressive, tough, and imposing elements (soldiers, construction workers, etc.), it would be virtually impossible to snuff out. Metal doesn't die; it changes. And in the ninties it changed into Pantera. Pantera's flannel shirts, converse sneakers, and cargo shorts, were the black leather jackets and jeans of ten years before. Cowboys from Hell was the first of three Pantera albums that would solidify metal throughout the nineties and lay the ground word for the uninspired rock/rap/alt revolution of the late nineties and early 2000's. But more importantly, it kept the torch of extreme metal alive when the thrash giants of the eighties (who shall remain nameless) slowed down and decided to experiment. Finally, Pantera's music, bridge the creative gap in metal between the thrash of the eighties and the renewal of prolific metal in the last few years, including the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Overall Cowboys from Hell is a 9. It isn't perfect, but it's close. The momentum stumbles here and there, and the lyrics are business-as-usual for metal. But the sheer power of the album, the unity of the sound, image, and message of bulldozing and brutal metal power places it among the highest peaks in the spires of Hell among it's metal brethren. // 9

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overall: 8.3
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: genresrforposer, on april 15, 2006
1 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sound: Before making this major label debut, Pantera had released 4 hair metal albums on their own independent label. Fortunately, after being "shot down 28 times by every major label ever", Atco made sure they were able to make their debut a new, harder-hitting version of metal. This mixture of power metal and groove metal would be described by the band as "power groove." However, despite the new and harder sound readily apparent on the riff-driven (later Dallas Stars theme song music) title track "Cowboys From Hell" and the groove elements of "Pscycho Holiday," some hair metal elements are still shone in some of Phil Anselmo's vocals and Diamond Dimebag Darrel's solos. Luckily, aside from the ridiculously and annoying high notes, retarded "demonic" vocals in the verses and good but pointless solos of "Medicine Man" and "Message In Blood," most of the hair-metal element is found in Dime's faster than light solos in songs like the ridiculously speedy and definitely thrashy "Shattered" and power groove or thrash metal most accurately defines most tracks aside from the two foremost mentioned. Pantera hints at just how heavy they would become by giving even ballad-esque tracks like "Cemetery Gates" and "The Sleep" hard chugging riffs in certain parts, and even though the chorus riff in "Cemetery Gates" may sound akward at first, it's undeniably cool and the song as a whole rivals "Fade to Black" by Metallica in terms of great ballads. Other songs simply have extremely cool riffs throughout, namely "Clash With Reality" and "The Art Of Shredding," and Dime's amazing solos don't hurt much either. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics on thisalbum can sometimes be inciteful and deep (Cemetery Gates), rebellious yet somewhat intelligent(Heresy), party-favor bragging rights (Cowboys From Hell), or retarted trying to be scary but failing songs about hell (Medicine Man, Message In Blood). Mostly though, it doesn't matter since the chugging riffs, excellent solos, speedy drum playing and bass lines are what carry the songs. Singer Phil Anselmo takes the lyrics and either belts them out in an all out yell which fits the music for the most part or tries to break glass with an annoying high-pitched voice. Sometimes though a mixture of the two may even end up sounding better, as proven by "Pscycho Holiday." But, to be honest the lyrics are'nt very memorable outside of "Cowboys From Hell" and "Cemetery Gates," but they also mostly don't bring the songs down. // 7

Overall Impression: Despite some annoying vocals inspired by hair metal on occassion, this cd was an even better debut album than "Kill 'Em All" by Metallica. And like that album, which sounded closer to punk rock than metal, this album sounds more "hair" than "heavy" but both manage to bring excellent speed, memorable riffs, and crazy solos to their first effort. Pantera even has slower but cool riffs like in "Pscycho Holiday" and "Cemetery Gates" choruses. They also manage to be faster than most thrash metal bands I've heard with songs like "Heresy" and "Shattered." I love the heaviness of the album, especially the cool riffs and inhumanly fast solos but it's probably a good thing the hair-metal vocals on some tracks were done away with by the time "Vulgar Display Of Power" hit. Technically this is my brother's cd, but if someone steals this when I buy it they'll definitely get the crap kicked out of them. // 9

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overall: 10
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: guitardude72565, on december 05, 2003
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is for all those hardcore metal fans. With one of the best voices in metal and best guitarist you will definitely enjoy this one. This album is a metal classic. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics of this album are excellent the lyrics and the music go together to tell a story or to get anger and agression out. The singer has one of the best voices in metal. // 10

Overall Impression: This is definitely a classic. The impressive songs of this album are "Cemetary gates", "Domination" and "Cowboys from hell". If I lost this album I would definitely buy it again. // 10

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overall: 7.3
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: phantom lord363, on june 21, 2004
0 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: To begin with I think the sound of the guitar is a very cool sound, some of the riffs on the album are billient. I think the only downside to the album can sometimes be the drums I just don't like the style of drumming as in lots of double bass going on but thats just my oppinion. Also some of the acoustic stuff in the album like cemetry gates has got a really nice sound to it. // 8

Lyrics: i havn't rele looked to much at the lyrics so far ive only had the album for 2 days but his actual singing is good on some of the songs but his singing sounds different on some of the other songs a bit higher. A bit dave mustaine like. But whatever the singing sound I think it works pretty well with the rest of the music. // 6

Overall Impression: This diffinatly is an album worth a listen to, I would advice some people to listen to the album first though before going out and buying it though. If your into fat old guitar riffs anbd solos it's the album for you! // 8

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overall: 9.3
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: newbreed, on may 09, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Sound is nothing less than excatly what your looking for from a heavy metal band. Dimebag comes at you with blazing guitarwork throughout the entire CD. Drums and bass aren't bad either. If your looking for some aggresive, loud, heavy music then this may be the CD your looking for. For guitarist looking for new material learn they should definatly pick up this album. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrics aren't mindblowing and deep. They're just flat out in your face "I'm pissed off and we're gonna kick your ass because we're Pantera." The lyrics complement the music very nicely. Vocalist Phil Anselmo voice mix's great with the heavy sound. The best lyric's in my opinion are found on the track "Cemetary Gates." It's a deeper song with great singing and lyrics. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall I'd say this isn't their best CD but it isn't their worst. All of them I think are good. The best songs in my opinion were Cowboys from Hell, Cemetary Gates, and The Art of Shredding. If this were lost/stolen I'd go buy it again, along with any other Pantera CD's. Everything on this CD is great except for maybe Phil's voice compared to other CD's. I was used to hearing him with the deep screaming voice and when I listened to this, it sounded less harsh and kind of like the lead singer from Iron Maiden at times which I didn't mind but I would have prefered his more harsh tone. If you don't have this please, do yourself a favor and go and buy it. // 10

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overall: 10
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: Inahrima, on march 09, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Adrenaline. That's what's come to mind everytime I listen to this record. The riffs are all muscular, heavy and seem to crash through walls, ripping through buidings, obliterating everything in its path. The albums worth buying just for Dimebag's solos. All of them compliment the songs rhythm and never seem out of place. Mindless shredding? I think not. Another thing that stands out is the fantastic drum work. All of the members work together to make each song perfect. // 10

Lyrics: The lytics at first seem a bit silly, but after a few listens, the songs just wouldn't be 'right' without them. They meld effortlesly with and work alongside the muscular riffs and grooves, but never get lost within them. The singing and deliverys great too. I don't know his name, but he can belt everything from heavy growls to well anything. His voice seems to be a mix of Dave Mustain and James Hetfield. // 10

Overall Impression: This was my 1st Pantera album. It's a masterpiece in all ways possible. Couldn't have been better really. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: Hendrix1970, on june 28, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: When it comes to a heavy sound Pantera kicks the crap out of so many other bands. Dime's guitar tone is one of the most amazing I've ever heard and his rhythm guitar can from slow heavy notes to machine gun picking. Just listen to the way the rythym feel changes in Domination. Rex is an amazing bassist, just listen to his bassline I'm Message In Blood. Vinnies drum manages to give Dime's playing an exceptionally heavy Feel. // 10

Lyrics: There's nothing special when it comes to the lyrics but Phil Anselmo sure can hit all the notes. I prefer his singing on later albums except for when he's completely messed up on heroin. While the later albums include him singing with quite a bit of emotion and more melody this album reminds me far to much of hair metal vocals. You can just pick up a hint of '80s singing in his voice. // 9

Overall Impression: A really stellar album. Not their best but really awesome. If it were stolen I would definitley buy this again because this album is one of the truly great metal albums out there. // 10

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overall: 10
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: boyan89, on july 14, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound on this album is incredible just simply incredible from one of the most heaviest bands on the earth. Dimebag has and will always be one of the greatest guitarists in the history of music. The guitar on this album was abosulutely astonishing and amazed me the whole this album was blasting. Vinnie is one great drummer I can tell you that much he is one of the best drummers in the history of rock and roll. So the drums were just flabbergasting okay. Rex Brown is one of the best bassists and he truely plays his heart out when hes playing it. The bass was really, really good it amazed me a lot. // 10

Lyrics: Phil Anselmo is one of the best songwriters in the history of music. His voice is soft in some songs, in a lot of them he sings like crazy and in some of them he growls a lot. I really enjoy the lyrics to the song Cemetery Gates because it speaks out to you in a really good way and I also like the solo in it its amazing. // 10

Overall Impression: Wow just wow this album cannot compare to any other album if any bands tried to do this. I dont have a favourite song on this album they are all amazing. I love every single moment of this album because when it plays it is blasting like crazy. I hate nothing about this album, I just love everything Dime's solos, Rex's bass, Vinnies Drums, and Pauls Singign make it all worthwhile to listen to the whole album without skipping any songs or stopping at any songs. If it were stolen/lost I am defenitely buying it again because this album is a masterpiece created by one of the greatest rock and metal bands to ever hit this planet earth. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: Abbott, on june 22, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Pantera. How can words even describe the hard hitting band straight from the hell pit of Texas. Pantera, many can summarize all of the musicians skills as: Amazing, Spectacular, Superb, Extreme, God-Like, Jaw Dropping. The second you hear a scream from Phil Anselmo, a rugged riff from Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P.), A jaw-dropping drum beat from Vinnie Paul, or even a bone chilling bass line from Rex Brown. The second you hear any tune off of the Cowboys from Hell album, you know you're in for one wicked ride. Pantera's Cowboys from Hell is strictly metal-up-your-ass. It's as simple as that, there is nothing peachy, or un-metal about this album. It's an all you can wish for metal fest on a compact disc that will make you she'd a tear of joy for hours upon listening to this album which goes down in history as one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever. // 9

Lyrics: Don't you hate hearing a brutal band who's lyrics are equivalent to a pre-schoolers attention span? I do. It's a pet-peeve that can make or break an album I listen to. Well here's a little information for you, Cowboy's from Hell is packed with inspiring and brutal lyrics that can show a point and have that point beat you down to the ground in pure, straight up, truthful facts. Here's a song off the album called Domination, which has a legendary guitar solo, intense bass line, a gnurly percussion, a bitter sweet screaming set of vocals, oh, and before I forget. As a band, Pantera can simplify any extreme situation into a 5:04 shred-tastic song. Phil Anselmo's singing skills range from very low pitch, to a ear-piercing scream that can wake your pen-pal located in Japan (Assume you're somewhere in the U.S.) out of a coma. Dimebag Darrell's guitar playing skills speak for himself. His life was taken pre-maturely from him, but his guitar ability's will be forever stained into everyone's fantasy guitar ability's. Dimebag was a amazing guitarist that can take any key, any scale, any melody, and turn it into a bone crushing solo and make your mind go numb out of pure amazement. For the record, "Dimebag Darrell" is also known as "Diamond Darrell" in the booklet of Cowboys from Hell. Dimebag will never be forgotten, but always remembered as a rock God. Rest in Peace. Vinnie Paul's drumming in Cowboys from Hell set a major standard of that generations metal drumming. Him and Dimebag had such a great corresponding set of skills that Dimebag could pull out a skull splitting riff, and Vinnie would pull out something just as brutal and heavy. Rex Brown's bass in Cowboys from Hell is beyond noticeable. Most bass players you're waiting around listening to hear a bass line. Not Rex Brown, after a few seconds of the song: "Cowboys from Hell", Rex Brown makes his presence as a bass player known. // 10

Overall Impression: The overall impression of this album is just amazing. It's simply extraordinary, it's not fair to declare what songs are and aren't amazing on this album. You have an array of great tunes that can juggle from blistering fast, to moderately-super-fast, hell, even semi-slow. I can't exactly pin-point anything on this album that I dis-like. I enjoy the musical greatness that was put together and called Cowboys from Hell. This album is a must-buy for every metal head, and anyone interested in learning some wicked guitar leads and riffs. If this disc was ever stolen, I wouldn't bother purchasing a new one. I would hunt the person down who stole it, beat them down, and make them buy their own copy. Everyone needs their own copy of Cowboys from Hell! // 10

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overall: 7
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: fretboardfreak, on january 30, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: the sound is one of a kind it is so heavy but it shows the soft side to the story to this album was pantera was riding on their success from there first album it was so heavy to be from the grunge assotion period thing it was an innovation to rock it brought metal heads together for a last chance. // 8

Lyrics: The overall impression of the lyrics are good but you can barely hear him over dimebags crazy solos the compliance of the lyrics to the music is great when the musics heavy his voice is heavy and so on the singers skills are descent he is 1 of a kind no one is like him. // 4

Overall Impression: It is the best album I've ever owned my favorite band and my favorite guitarist my favorite tracks are cowboys from hell, cemetery gates and my number 1 favorite song of all time and off this album the sleep it has a awesome 12 string guitar intro I love how the solos are never ending I hate that theirs only 12 songs on it if this were stolen I would hunt down the guy who stole it and get it back. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Cowboys From Hell Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 24, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This was Pantera's debut into the bigger crowds, and who said they failed to deliver? With roaring guitars, ear pounding vocals, and fast, beating drums, this is probably their best album (Along with Vulgar). You can always tell Pantera by Dimebag's signature, high-mid tone, and it is just tearing in this album, from riff's to solos Dimebag really shines throughout this album, proving him that he deserves the title as one of the best guitarists ever. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics I thought were pretty good, from the sick tale shown in Cemetary Gates, to the Texas-supported lyrics of Cowboys From Hell, all sung with Phil's wailing vocals. He may not be the best singer, but no no one could replace him, his voice just belongs in the band, its one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle. Phil's highlights of the album are definately the vocal's on Shattered, and Cemetary Gates, where his high wails backup the screams emitting from Dime, and the punding of Vinnie's drums. Overall, I thought Phil Anselmo marked his territory on this album, and in this band. I thought he should do a little more singing though. // 9

Overall Impression: This album was the first "true" Pantera album, and it might be the best. I especially love this album because along with Nirvana's Nevermind, it ended hair metal! So in a way they saved music! Not to mention it sounds good at the same time! The highlights of the album are definately Cowboys from Hell, Cemetary Gates (amazing solo!), Medicine Man, and Domination. I honestly love everything about this album, but I'd prefer if Phil sang a little more, other than that its awesome! If i ever lost it id buy a new one immediatley! // 10

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