Title: ”Cowboys From Hell”
“Cowboys From Hell” is Pantera’s 1990 breakthrough album and it’s easy to see why it broke through.
The production is of the era. The thin, crunchy sound of the guitar work is typical of late 1980s and ’90s values.
The listener can hear hints of what was popular at that time – when he goes for high notes, Phil Anselmo has a howl that is a vague reminder of young Axl Rose. At other times, he shows a low register and ferocity that Rose couldn’t.
Despite this, “Cowboys” never slides down the scale into hair metal, retaining an integrity in its force and urgency. “Domination” buzzes like a swarm of bees in its driving conclusion, while “Primal Concrete Sledge” is pure pounding, punishing metal.
Though it wears its influences, it also guides the way for a lot of the ’90s output that came after it, ditching theatrics in favor of riffage, as “The Art of Shredding” demonstrates.
It hasn’t aged poorly, but the period production values show the mileage on “Cowboys from Hell.” Nonetheless, the quality of the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott’s guitar work helps transcend.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.