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Phil Anselmo & Rex Brown Reflect On The 30th Anniversary Of Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”


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On this day (July 24th) in 1990 Pantera‘s landmark fifth studio album “Cowboys From Hell” was officially released. The outing marked a turning point for the band, finding them transitioning from their glam metal roots to the groove metal that they went on to help pioneer and popularize. Certified gold in 1993 and platinum in 1997, it also introduced them to the world proper, finding them breaking out from the regional scene with a full-scale touring cycle.

Looking back on the 30th anniversary of the album, the band’s frontman Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown spoke with Revolver this past March to reflect on the creation, touring and impact the album had for them creatively as well as their career.

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The pair discuss opting to work with producer Terry Date due to his work with Soundgarden, the wake-up call it was embarking on nationwide tours and more. They also reflect on songs like “Primal Concrete Sledge” being the connective tissue that led them to the 2x multi-platinum certified “Cowboys From Hell” follow-up, “Vulgar Display Of Power“. Speaking of that, they offered:

Rex Brown: “[‘Primal Concrete Sledge‘] was the catalyst, yeah — completely. It was the last song written for the album. As we were breaking the drums down in the studio, Vinnie [Paul Abbott, drums] came up with this beat and Dime [‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott, guitars] goes, ‘Hang on a second!’ It seems like we wrote it in no more than 10 minutes. We tracked it and called Phil to come down and slap lyrics on it real quick. We had to have that song on the record.”

Phil Anselmo: “That’s one of those songs where I was very much freestyling, lyrically. It was off the cuff, but it’s one of those ‘we can’t be stopped’ type of songs, kinda in the same vein as ‘Cowboys From Hell.; Like, this is an attitude, a way of life, and we’re embracing it and running headfirst into it. But we knew we had something rhythmically unique. It was a very pleasant surprise at the end of a long recording session that none of us expected at all.”

You can read the whole retrospective on the album over at revolvermag.com. In other news, the band have launched a 30th anniversary collection of merchandise, you can find that at this location. If you want to continue the nostalgia, you can find the original “Cowboys From Hell” press kit here

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