7 May 2013

Pantera - Cowboys From Hell

Some albums are held in such reverence that you tend to get people who will not hear anything said against them.  In the musical field of metal, there is not many holy cow compared to the fifth release by Pantera.  On this record they abandoned their previous glam metal sound.  This was the second album with Phil Anselmo on vocals and is generally seen in some circles as their debut album - it is of the most common held belief that as the band were not too hot on their earlier work, why should they be?  Back in 1990 this was a bolt out of the blue, it was a game changer.  But is it beyond criticism; is it the flawless classic that people say that it is?

Now one thing I cannot fault on this is the quality of the playing.  The band had found their sound on this one, and whilst they still had one foot in the glam world and were taking their first steps into a much heavier sound.  There are some truly spectacular solos such as on "Primal Concrete Sledge", "Shattered" and "The Art Of Shredding". Dimebag Darrell was on fine form during this record, Phil Anselmo in places was slowly and surely learning what he wanted to do with his voice and Rex Brown & Vinnie Paul were a very solid unit keeping the rhythm pounding and bring the whole thing together.  Terry Date brought a very good production job to this as well, making it a very solid and important record overall.

Now comes the point where I will be made to look unpopular - I find this record very hard to love completely.  Whilst they were heading toward better records, they were still basically a glam band taken on a different direction.  Also, when Anselmo recorded this he must have wished he was Rob Halfin at points - but he is not, he can hit the notes but it feels very forced at this point. "Cemetery Gates" is a point in case, they were trying to do that big moment, but being stuck inbetween two worlds it comes across as a mess.  The title is also a very solid piece, but again it is stuck. Now as a Pantera fan I am supposed to love this album, but I have never been able to do this.  The Pantera that makes sense to me came about later, this Pantera is not for me, it might be for you (the person reading this) but I would point out that the band was influx at this point.  Take this album as work in progress and if you find more in it than I did, more power to ya - file under investigation.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase from here

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

1 comment:

  1. I heard Vulgar Display Of Power and Far Beyond Driven before I heard this one so the Halfordisms were a bit of a shock. I really like Cemetary Gates though!


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