Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

“Cowboys from Hell” is a song by American heavy metal band Pantera. First appearing on the band’s 1989 demo album, the song is the band’s first single. It was released later on the major label debut album Cowboys from Hell, and on the band’s compilation album.

Pantera’s vocalist Phil Anselmo recalled on an episode of That Metal Show that during a 1989 house party in Fort Worth, Texas, guitarist Darrell Abbott arrived late and ran towards Anselmo and said he had a new riff to show him. The two of them went into Abbott’s car where he played the intro to Anselmo, who said afterward to Abbott “yes this must be an anthem”.

The song was recorded on the band’s 1989 demo album, Cowboys from Hell: The Demos. After the band got signed to Atco Records, the band rerecorded the song and put it on the major label debut album Cowboys from Hell.

“Cowboys is where everybody came into their own, along with the full-blown Pantera sound”, “That was actually the first song we wrote for the record. Basically it was about us coming out of Texas and being out of place. People don’t think of Texas as being a hot spot for heavy metal, they think of New York or L.A. or something like that, so it just seemed like an obvious concept for us.”

— Vinnie Paul

The lyrics of the song concern (in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way) the fact that the band is from Texas, a place not usually known at the time for producing successful metal bands, and that Pantera was breaking out of its home state to the world at large.

The video, along with “Psycho Holiday”, also from the Cowboys from Hell album, was shot in a Dallas club that the band was often found at called “The Basement” and was directed by Paul Rachman. The video simply shows the band playing the song live to an audience.

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