A true classic that has impacted heavy music since its release in 1990 right until the present day, 'Cowboys From Hell' is a staggeringly powerful record. Devil Sold His Soul's Ed Gibbs pays homage to the groove-metal masterpiece.
Pantera are one of those bands who transcend genre - you can get away (ish) with saying you're not particularly into metal, but saying you're not into Pantera is like saying you enjoy punching grandmothers: completely and utterly unacceptable, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Two decades ago they released 'Cowboys From Hell'; it was their fifth album but it represented the epochal moment they eschewed camp glam metal in favour of the dirty-ass Southern riffery that would turn them into legends. Since then the metal world has been struggling to catch up, and while they capitalised on their success with the stunning 'Vulgar Display Of Power' and 'Far Beyond Driven' it's this record that's arguably the most important in their history.
In the new issue of Rock Sound drummer Vinnie Paul tells the story of how that record transformed their lives.
“It’s amazing that back then we got zero airplay, no radio play, no nothing, and nowadays I can hear that song on the radio all the time. It’s kind of timeless,” Paul told Rock Sound.
“When it was going down I don’t think any of us really realised the impact the band eventually had on the entire scene, and the influence we had on all the bands that came after us. I really didn’t even realise it until after my brother was gone and I had some time to really sit, think about things and look around. That’s when it really hit me that it was a pretty big deal.”
Don't just take his word for it, though. Devil Sold His Soul frontman Ed Gibbs remembers that album having a huge effect on him at an early age.
“I first heard Pantera while I was about 13 or 14. ‘ Cowboys From Hell’ was the first song I heard from that album, it had already been around 10 years and the song was a classic. The thing I've always loved about Pantera is just how aggressive they are - no band comes close on levels of badass! I've always had a soft spot for ‘Cemetery Gates’; although it’s one of their least heavy tunes the battle between Phil and Dimebag at the end is rad!”
To read more, buy Rock Sound issue 141, onsale now.