Cowboys from Hell is the fifth studio album and major label debut by Pantera, released on July 24, 1990 by Atco Records.
And the title track of the album is one of the most remarkable songs by the band. With a classic and powerful riff by the late Dimebag Darrell that sounds even better when you hear his isolated guitar track.
After being turned down “28 times by every major label on the face of the Earth”, Atco Records representative Mark Ross was asked by his boss, Derek Shulman (who was interested in signing them), to see the band perform after Hurricane Hugo stranded him in Texas.
Ross was so impressed by the band’s performance that he called his boss that night, suggesting that Pantera be signed to the label.
“By the end of the first song, my jaw was on the floor. The sonic power of it all — the attitude and the musicianship — blew me away. Basically, you had to be an idiot to not think they’re amazing. I mean, how could you see these guys and not think, ‘Holy shit!’?”
Recording took place in Pantego, Texas at the Pantego Sound Studio and the band were feeling confident about their material and themselves, finally feeling that they were making the kind of album they believed in.
One key track to emerge during the writing was “Cemetery Gates”, a seven-minute power ballad that would be the first song to show both their diversity and Anselmo’s vocal range.
Although they had already recorded four albums prior to Cowboys from Hell, Pantera felt that this was their true debut, working with a professional producer and a major label for the first time and creating music that was not simply stealing from other similar bands in an attempt to attract attention.
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