Cowboys From Hell 20th Anniversary Edition
Noticing how swimmingly celebrations for near-silver jubilee albums such as Megadeth's Rust In Peace and Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss have taken hold, Rhino releases a three-tiered collection in honour of Texas boys Pantera and landmark effort Cowboys From Hell. Comprised of three-disc Ultimate and Deluxe Editions (boasting unreleased demos for each tune) and a double-disc Expanded edition, there's enough Hell here for even the most devout Pantera enthusiast. While the album itself doesn't sound vastly different, even with the remastering, it's still an instigating affair, thanks to the hungry aggression and superior catchiness of "Domination," "Psycho Holiday" and more. Where the collections truly shine, however, is with the second live disc. Here, we witness a pre-fame Pantera hot to impress and disgustingly tight. Guitarist Dimebag (then Diamond) Darryl's guitar simply dazzles with its ferocious bite and virtually perfect solos, singer Phil Anselmo is enthusiastic and primed, while Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown are locked in with impervious consistency. One can barely prevent themselves from raging along with this showcase of the very spirit and mastery that eventually made them one of metal's biggest heroes. Capping the affair, hilarious track "The Will To Survive" proves why it was previously unreleased, sounding nothing like Cowboys, emerging directly out of the falsetto-laden cock rock they were struggling to bury at the time. Far from crucial, but fun nonetheless, 20th Anniversary Edition is a suitable tribute to one of modern metal's definitive efforts.
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