Pantera. What name could evoke more of an image of heavy metal in the 1990's (well, before all the numetal bands ruined that image for what still seems like forever)? Sure, screaming, swearing, downtuned guitars, all that good stuff had been around for ages before Pantera, but they made it simply a MUST for metal. And to think, before this album, Pantera had a close resemblance to the endless (*gasp!*) glam-"metal" bands that plagued the '80s! I have yet to hear this earlier Pantera, but that hardly matters at this point; here, with their 1990 major-label debut, COWBOYS FROM HELL, Pantera proved that THEY, and they alone, were the masters of their game.
Four of metal's most-worshipped classic idols are here: Dimebag (here Diamond) Darrell on guitars, Phil Anselmo on vocals, Rex "Rocker" Brown on bass, and Vinnie Paul on drums. This is such a tight, fierce lineup, and their individual and combined efforts made Pantera one of the most important and original metal bands, ever.
This album has many now-classic songs; from the opening title track to the semi-power-ballad "Cemetary Gates," Pantera's thrashy, furious sound pounds out like nothing else at the time.
Sorry I'm being so vague here; perhaps I'll someday edit this review so I get more into this album. I just needed to acknowledge Pantera's supreme importance and unrivaled power, and until their recent breakup (due to, among other things, a rather rude lack of communication on Phil's part...jerk), they were simply THE seminal heavy metal band in the 1990's.