Cowboys from Hell is Pantera's fifth album and their first Atco Records album, recorded at The Dallas Sound Lab in Irving, TX and released on July 24, 1990. This was their first commercially successful album, exposing the band's groove metal style to mainstream audiences.
Cowboys from Hell is seen as Pantera's "official" debut by most fans, as well as the band itself as they left behind their glam metal past and began to exhibit a more groove metal-oriented sound.
The album was available on tape, CD, vinyl and a Limited Edition version (Same album but in a long box).
Soon after its release, a logo for the band was made featuring the letters 'CFH' (the acronym of the album title) in a circular design. Philip Anselmo has this tattooed on the side of his head with a ring of barbed wire surrounding it.
The song "Cowboys from Hell" is featured on the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero and a live version of the song is featured in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.
On September 14th, 2010, a 20th anniversary edition was released with a remastered mixed from the original analog recordings. The expanded edition features a bonus CD of previously unreleased live recordings and the Alive And Hostile E.P. The deluxe edition features an additional CD with the previously unreleased track "The Will to Survive" along with demo versions of ten songs from the original album.
Writing and recording
After being turned down "28 times by every major label on the face of the Earth", Atco Records representative Mark Ross and Stevenson Eugenio was asked by his boss, Derek Shulman who was interested in signing them, to see the band perform after Hurricane Hugo stranded him in Texas. Ross was so impressed by the band's performance that he called his boss that night, suggesting that Pantera be signed to the label. Atco Records accepted, and at the close of 1989, the band began recording its major label debut at Pantego Studios.
The band recorded the Cowboys from Hell sessions, consisting of 11 tracks, 10 of which made the album cut, the other being "The Will to Survive" which was later released on the 20th anniversary edition. The band then wrote and recorded two more tracks, Primal Concrete Sledge and Clash With Reality which also made it on to the album. By early 1990 the full length album had been recorded and set for release.
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