Pantera
Cowboys from Hell


2.0
poor

Review

by fogza USER (15 Reviews)
January 11th, 2013 | 78 replies | 2,666 views


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your reaction to this album depends on your stance re: the genre - my reaction was "Yuck". Bland, humourless songs that drip into each other. We have much to blame Pantera for, as this was probably a 90's blueprint for many bands that followed.

7 of 13 thought this review was well written

I was told to listen to this album by a friend, but metal is not a genre I really understand, or pretend to. Sure, I'll occasionally listen to a bit of Sabbath, or Alice in Chains, but Slayer? No way. I'm always told by metalheads how most of the real talent in rock washes up on the shores of metal. I suppose I can't deny that the guys in metal bands can play their instruments, and that they're very adept at say, zipping through a set of scales really damn fast.

However, I'm wired to hear metal in a certain way. That is, it sort of washes over me the way that something like Katie Melua does. It's not offensive - I don't get bothered by all the heavy riffs and theatrical gruff growling. Nothing about it can make me care enough to invest in it, and see it as anything but background noise. Just as Frank Sinatra has become the soundtrack to homeware stores, metal is the soundtrack to a trip to a stoner's flat, replete with Zeppelin posters and bongs.

So, what can I say about Cowboys from Hell, an album I've listened to twice in a row but still can't really get a handle on? Firstly, the production and sound is horrible. Dimebag's guitar tone is often described as having a chainsaw quality. I could maybe agree with that if it was a chainsaw made of tin. Shellac, for instance, have that distinctive, killer guitar that sounds like a cutting tool of some description. This is not it. It's more like your idiot friend furiously scrunching up a plastic shopping bag in your ear.

Phil Anselmo's vocals are pretty muddy, riding along under the bombast of that monotonous cacophony. He does the tough guy metal voice, interspersed with the odd hyterical falsetto to liven things up. I don't like it. Especially when he finishes a line with that extra downer tough guy-ness.

I think the title track is probably the least annoying, especially since it has a hint of fun. When music sounds this developmentally arrested, at least it should be energetically, balls-to-the-wall stupid. When these guys try to say something serious, it comes off as inane. Isn't this macho stuff supposed to be a blast?

One or two songs sport the deceptive ballady intro, which typically has nothing to do with the rest of the track. Well, that's not entirely true. Cemetary Gates is a pretty earnest power ballad most of the way through, interspersed with a weirdly ironic oddball riff. But really, they bleed into other with alarming regularity. I was grateful for the slow fade in of Medicine Man's drums, but this too quickly changed into the "chugga chugga chug cha" formation.

I think the most telling thing was when I tried to remember the character of each song after listening to album twice, I would click around randomly in the song progress bar in my media player. If you did it while switching songs, you couldn't really tell the difference - I swear the guitar solo of Medicine Man meshed perfectly with the one at 03:16 in Message in Blood.

The lyrics are pretty much what you expect - uniformly terrible. They sound like they're penned by someone who got stuck at age 18. Despite the common metal critiscism of other genres - fluff, pretentious, wimpy, etc - I often find metal is littered with self pity, big inappropriate words and clunky lines. It's kind of like someone throwing a fit because their dad won't lend them the car keys, instead of their girlfriend breaking up with them. Here's some choice lines:

"Overwhelming with euphoric lift/ to lure you to steal your gift"

"It swells my hatred/ Day by day"

"Ungracious bludgeonment/ that breaks the earth for miles" (I mean, seriously?)

" Those words that stare/ Into your soul/ And to yourself/ You will befall!"

" No one's fees/ Or synthetic deities/ Is where I belong/ My stand is the human race/ Without a label or a face/ So they can lick my sack"

I'll give this album a two for the ferocious display of technical ability, and the fact that I could make it through all the songs, something I can't always do with this genre. But really, I don't want to listen to music that is commendable on the same basis that a motherboard in an laptop is an impressive piece of engineering. I'd rather hear something that resonates with how a tool like a laptop helps you create and interact with your world. How you feel about this album probably has a lot to do with how you feel about "the Metal".



Recent reviews by this author
Lana Del Rey UltraviolenceJoan Osborne Relish
Gin Wigmore Gravel and WineFoals Holy Fire
Arab Strap PhilophobiaPina Kollars Guess you got it
user ratings (2252)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rastapunk
January 11th 2013



717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's like me reviewing death metal, I'll 1 albums that are worth 4. I would neg but since your arguments are backed up (on personal feelings more than actual facts) I just won't pos or neg.

ViperAces
January 11th 2013



12376 Comments


better than vtop

Flame12
January 11th 2013



26 Comments


I think your brave for writing this review but you were pretty much doomed the second you rated it a two. Plus you compared it to Katie Melua. And there are way too many paragraphs. And you didn't ned to put five sets of quotes in a row. And it comes of as a bit obnoxious, mostly because you don't seem to understand metal at all. Seen worse reviews though.

TheSpirit
January 11th 2013



17184 Comments


This is a good review. Damned butthurt fanboys.

Digging: vhmnt / blsphm - vhmnt / blsphm

ffs
January 11th 2013



4819 Comments


this band sucks + dimebag deserved to die

YankeeDudel
January 11th 2013



9305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"How you feel about this album probably has a lot to do with how you feel about "the Metal"'

Ya dont say

Digging: Bedhead - WhatFunLifeWas

VermicideReloadead
January 11th 2013



1433 Comments


Is a good review but I don't agree with you in some points. The main problem is that the the 2 first paragraphs you express that a big part of metal is not your cup of tea . Maybe you should check acts like kyuss, mastodon, high on fire, cynic and things like that. I'm sure you'll have another perspective about metal.

ffs
January 11th 2013



4819 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vliDo-fy3Zc&

ViperAces
January 11th 2013



12376 Comments


lol skele your voice dosent match your looks

KjSwantko
January 11th 2013



9054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd simply for the fact that this is well-written, but godamn this is one of the most retarded reviews I've ever read, and after reading this, I highly suspect you like dicks in your ass. Furthermore, why would you even write a review for a genre you admit to disliking? You're basically just saying "everyone, disregard my opinion."

Killerhit
January 11th 2013



5209 Comments


"I'm wired to hear metal in a different way"

Were you lobotomized as a child?

BlackLlama
January 11th 2013



1618 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry, this is WAY up there on my list of favorite albums. It's well written, but if you can't enjoy lines like :

"No one's fees/ Or synthetic deities/ Is where I belong/ My stand is the human race/ Without a label or a face/ So they can lick my sack"

Then you shouldn't be reviewing metal :D

Digging: Cinderella - Heartbreak Station

Killerhit
January 11th 2013



5209 Comments


HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE THESE LYRICS

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013



20014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules.

CrownOfMagnets
January 11th 2013



2232 Comments


I dig some Pantera every now and then and Dimebag has some of the sickest guitar solos I've heard. But in the end its just cheesy. Badass but cheesy. I'd rather listen to Kyuss or Mastodon like someone said above.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013



20014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't call Pantera's post-'1990 material cheesy. Their eariler stuff is cheesy as hell though.

XingKing
January 11th 2013



10045 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm kind of surprised this album doesn't have a million reviews for it already ala Master of Puppets. This band is insanely shitty and this is the only worthwhile thing they have ever created.

VermicideReloadead
January 11th 2013



1433 Comments


The main problem with pantera is the lyrical work. The instrumentation and the vocal part are sick as hell.

KjSwantko
January 11th 2013



9054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I wouldn't call Pantera's post-'1990 material cheesy. Their eariler stuff is cheesy as hell though."

Yeah some of that stuff absolutely kicks ass though. "Proud to be Loud" off the Power Metal record is one of their top songs ever.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013



20014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed KJ, cheesy doesn't always equal bad for me. Power Metal is one of my favourite Pantera albums.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy