Reviewed by Chuck Loesch.
|Rating: 9.2 of 10.|
In 1990, Converse Chucks were not a fashion statement, acid wash jeans were still the fad, grunge was just a screaming little baby and Pantera released an onslaught of metal that changed the genre forever. The 20th anniversary release of Cowboys From Hell is a testament to the long lasting effect of this album on metal and the influential Texas powerhouse that became a household name in just a few years.
Bridging the gap between their power-metal roots and the Southern fried sludge-metal they became, Cowboys From Hell holds the key to one of the only bands that kept metal alive in the ’90s. Being the fifth copy of this record I owned over the years, I am skeptical of what it might hold other than the original destruction of two decades earlier.
With three discs, the new version reflects an era that is long gone. Remastered tracks on disc one sound incredible. Production on the original was good, so not much was “enhanced,” but it offers a fresh sound to songs I have heard 50,000 times by now. Hearing Dimebag’s guitar solos echo across my room make me ache for a time when I couldn’t buy beer.
Discs two and three offer what you will really spend your money on: unreleased live and demo tracks that have never seen the light of day—including a never-before-heard song that really sounds more like their power roots and features a riff from “This Love,” which wound up on Vulgar Display of Power.
Did I need another copy of this? No, but after the untimely death of Dime, I needed it to refresh what made me love his music. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Pantera on the small stage at the Backroom in the ’90s, and many will never get to see one of the greatest guitarists of all time; this is the closest you will ever get.