Songwriter(s) – Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, Phil Anselmo, Rex Brown
“Cemetery Gates” is a power ballad by American heavy metal band Pantera. The song is the fifth track from Cowboys from Hell, the band’s fifth album and second with lead singer Phil Anselmo. “Cemetery Gates” showcases Anselmo’s vocal ability and range, concluding with screaming high notes answered by Dimebag Darrell on guitar in a trade-off.
The lyrics lament the death of a female lover and the prospect of dying or committing suicide and rejoining her in the afterlife.
Phil Anselmo has credited numerous inspirations for the song. He stated in an interview in 1991 that the song was written about his good friends that had committed suicide. He also stated in a Ustream.tv live Q&A that “there was a friend who had died in NOLA and it had a real heavy impact within my group of friends. When I wrote the lyrics I did not want them to be too personal, because that can be cheesy. I also had to make sure that the lyrics would not take away from the song, because that was one of our best songs.”