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PANTERA乐队于1990年发行《Cowboys From Hell》专辑.抛开略有些滑稽的专集封面，Cowboys From Hell这张专集可称做是PANTERA乐队的一张经典之作，让人们真正领略到PANTERA的实力。在这张专集中，乐队改变了一贯的风格，封面的设计工作也不是由'Metal Magic' 公司来完成的。我还记得乐队上张专集'Power Metal'发行时，也是乐队新主唱Phil Anselmo的首次演出，可到场观众却寥寥无几。和上次的尴尬相比，这张专集取得了巨大的成功，并且在很大程度上改变了乐队的命运，组队6年后，终于因为这张专集，使PANTERA为世人所知。尽管前期的和后来的PANTERA并不能归到Thrash的领域，但是这张专辑，这首曲目，确是Thrash的经典！望喜爱PANTERA的朋友们共同分享～！
PANTERA是一支中国人早已熟知的重金属乐队，他们以凶狠的音乐和肆无忌惮的生活方式而著称，可以说，他们是自METALLICA以来在商业上最成功的Thrash Metal乐队。虽然乐队是从1990年Cowboys From Hell专辑的畅销才开始享有世界声誉，但实际上，他们早在80年代早期就已成立，并在1990年之前通过自己的公司发行了四张专辑。
最早的历史要回溯到八十年代早期，那时热中于重金属的Diamond Darrell和Dimebag Darrell兄弟, Vinnie Paul和他们的教父Jerry Abbott创建了自己的唱片公司，名字叫作Metal Magic Records。 1984年，PANTERA正式成立，最早的成员是：Dimebag Darrell（吉他），Vinnie Paul（鼓），Rex Brown（贝斯）和Terrence Lee（主唱）。乐队在德克萨斯州俱乐部里开始了他们的重金属旅途。
乐队的第一张唱片叫做 Metal Magic（金属魔力），风格是早期的Thrash Metal/Glam Metal，这张唱片很成功的卖出了350,000张，这无疑给这帮小伙子很大的鼓舞。于是他们又马不停蹄的推出了专辑Projects In The Jungle（丛林计划）和I Am The Night（我是黑夜）。发行公司仍然是他们自己的厂牌Metal Magic。虽然成绩不错，但此时乐队的听众还主要是当地的听众。
好运降临。Acto公司发现了他们，答应与乐队签订出版唱片的合同。这无疑是PANTERA梦寐以求的事儿。此时，乐队对主唱Terrence Lee的表现不很满意，于是乐队在去路易斯安那演出时认识的Phil Anselmo取代了他的位置。Phil当时的嗓音还是比较高亢尖锐的嗓音，因为那时他们的风格仍然是老式的Thrash Metal，需要一个能够足够高亢的嗓子。
1988年，专辑Power Metal（力量金属）发行。这是PANTERA在Metal Magic的最后一张唱片，也是Phil加入乐队后的第一张。这张并不成功的专辑由于它的名字导致了以后金属分类的一个分歧，因为专辑本身的音乐风格并非欧洲人所说的Power Metal，欧洲人把HELLOWEEN、GAMMA RAY和GRAVE DIGGER这样的旋律性的速度金属叫做Power Metal，而自PANTERA的这张专辑之后，PANTERA这样的乐队开始被美国人称作Power Metal，特征是音色低沉，足够重，节奏感强，和Hardcore有所杂交。
1990年，PANTERA发行了他们在Atco旗下的第一张唱片：Cowboys From Hell（地狱牛仔），在这张专辑中，PANTERA真正开始成熟并开始了自己独特的风格，Dimebag的吉他有着节奏感很强的切分，Phil的嗓音也变得比以前更低，这些都很适合让现场时数万观众整整齐齐的甩头，基本上可以说是一种简化和加重的Thrash Metal。凭借这张专辑，PANTERA才迎来了真正的成功。在组建六年之后，这个名字终于响遍了整个美国。在我看来，这张专辑可能是乐队最好的专辑了。
接着是Vulgar Display of Power（力量的粗暴展示）。这张唱片在美国掀起了一股PANTERA热潮，几乎人人都在谈论这几个在舞台上制造着巨大声浪的家伙。因为他们那种节奏分明的音乐让那些听惯了老式金属的人们感到新鲜。Mouth for War、Walk等歌使PANTERA的名字也上了排行榜的前列。从此以后，PANTERA不再是一支当地的小乐队了，他们也要像那些大牌明星一样在全国各地进行巡演了。此时的PANTERA，已经成为流行乐坛上相当耀眼的重金属明星。
1994年，专辑Far Beyond Driven（超出驾驶范围之外）发行。专辑在Billboard排行榜上赢得了一上榜即取得冠军的惊人记录，这对于重金属音乐来说，无疑是破天荒的头一遭。虽然专辑很快就从排行榜上划了下来，但这却是对Grunge时代“重金属已经死亡”这一言论的强力回击。这也是当年Hardcore/Power Metal 乐迷所最为期待的一张专辑，事实证明，专辑的音乐就象封面上的电钻一样，足以让你心惊肉跳。PANTERA的这种风格在当时成为一种竞相追逐的时尚，有很多乐队开始领悟到重金属并不一定要有流畅的吉他节奏，华丽的solo和动听的主唱，节奏和嘶吼似乎更讨人喜欢，于是类似COAL CHAMBER、DEFTONES、SUNDOWN等乐队也开始模仿这种新式的Hardcore/Power Metal风格。
1997年夏天，PANTERA推出了乐迷期待已久的The Great Southern Trendkill（伟大南方时尚杀手）。专辑意在讽刺那些赶非主流时髦的投机主义音乐人。主唱Phil的嚎功在专辑中得到了很充分的发挥，不过由于专辑显得比较混乱，而且PANTERA似乎太想把音乐做得又重又狠，反而容易让人感到腻烦。
1998年，PANTERA又发行了一张现场：101 Proof。凶猛的音乐结合主唱令人敬畏的嗓音，演绎了乐队多年来的名曲。Phil曾说过，PANTERA的可怕来自现场。看来这话一点没错。在很多人眼里看来，这是（美式）Power Metal迷所必备的一张唱片。值得一提的是，专辑的封面内容是名酒Jack Daniels瓶子，而最早的Jack Daniels恰是101度的（美国法定的标准酒精烈度为100度）。
随着Techno、Gothic、Industrial和 Rap的流行，很多当年模仿 PANTERA起家的乐队也纷纷开始转型，还有更多乐队玩起了所谓Nu-Metal（新金属），这些东西令PANTERA感到反感，他们心目中的重金属仍然是不折不扣的重型吉他摇滚（主唱Phil还曾在一次采访中表示了对黑金属的兴趣，并表示如果有机会他可能也想组建一支黑金属乐队）。于是在2000年，他们以一张Reinventing The Steel（重铸钢铁）来表达他们的态度，虽然音乐上没有什么出彩的地方，但至少还是延续了乐队一贯的风格，配合着世纪末的重金属回潮，这张专辑在短期内也突破了金唱片的销量。
2004年12月8曰著名前PANTERA乐队吉他手Dimebag Darrell与DAMAGEPLAN乐队在美国俄亥俄州首府哥伦布北城的Alrosa Villa酒吧里刚开始表演第一首歌时，突然一名持枪歹徒跑上台，不明情况的观众起初以为这是DAMAGEPLAN舞台表演的刻意安排。但是这名男子瞄准 Darrell以及其他乐队成员突然开枪，并且还向恐慌中的观众人群盲目开击。自此，重金属界失去了一位才华横溢的天才结它手，他的名字将永远印记着我们的心里!
Like all instruments, playing the guitar is an art form. It takes a lot of time and patience to understand and learn. Many try, but few succeed. Those who do succeed have either learned from someone else, or they are simply born with "God-given talent." "Dimebag" or "Diamond" (as he was known then) Darrell Abbott definitely mastered his art due to both of these.
Diamond Darrell and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul formed a band while they were still in high school. These cowboys from Hell (or Texas, as they'd lead you to believe) were a cover band before anything else; until the early 1980's, when the Abbott brother's dad convinced them to start writing their own music. They formed a band, Pantera, that released their first album when Diamond was only 17. They continued releasing "hair/glam" metal albums until 1990.
"Cowboys from Hell" is the group's major label debut (as well as their second album with vocalist Phil Anselmo and the last album before "Diamond" Darrell changed his nickname to "Dimebag.") Starting with this album, Pantera turbo-charged their sound, making their metal ten times heavier. Some believe they aborted their original sound (in favor of a more vengeful one), because they were signed to a major label. Others believe they did it because the `90's were a new era and hair metal was no longer popular. I, however, only partially believe both of these theses. I think Pantera aborted their `80's style of music because of the influence Diamond/Dimebag Darrell had on the band. In the early days, Dime was influenced by such artists as Ace Frehley of Kiss (thus explaining Pantera's hair metal sound), Eddie Van Halen, and Randy Rhodes. But as Pantera aged and released increasingly heavy albums, he cited influences among his contemporaries such as Kerry King of the extreme metal band Slayer.
Whatever the reason, there's no disputing that Pantera changed its sound for the better. It's a good thing that "Cowboys from Hell" was Pantera's breakthrough album, because if one of their hair/glam metal albums had been a hit, Pantera probably would have been tempted to continue playing that kind of music, and hair metal isn't what Pantera was meant for. Phil Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott, and bassist Rex Brown were put on this earth to play heavy as f*ck heavy metal. It's like Phil says: "We had to decide where our musical hearts were. After short deliberation, we realized our intention was to be the most devastating 'hardcore-heavy metal' band in the world."
There is also no denying that Pantera were backed by one of the strongest rhythm sections in metal. Sure, Vinnie Paul's drumming and Phil's howling were both top notch, but Dimebag Darrell's unbelievably powerful, talented riffing and wonderful solos were the biggest reason why Pantera were the heavy, influential, famous, and all around great band that they were.
"Cowboys from Hell" has lightning fast, cascading riffs at the beginning and a winding guitar solo near the middle. Not much can be said about this song that hasn't already been said. It's an instant classic that defined Pantera.
"Primal Concrete Sledge" is a short, sludgy song with lurching riffs.
"Psycho Holiday" has more classic, thumping Pantera riffs and near the end, the guitar changes speeds and turns to a fast chug. The real highlight here though, is the 45 second-long, wailing guitar solo that has three parts to it. These solos would become renowned worldwide and a trademark of Dimebag. I've always really enjoyed how Dimebag could riff fast and hard, pause briefly to lay down a solo, then go back to the great riffs.
"Cemetery Gates" is the semi-ballad of the album. Phil sings about his longing for a loved one who has passed away and, even though the song gains momentum and speed, the theme of this one is much slower than the other songs. It begins with light, spacey guitar notes, has a solo in the middle, and ends with really high-pitched falsetto screams, which are matched by high, harmonic guitars.
After the album's semi-ballad, Pantera pick up where they left off with maybe the heaviest song on the album. "Domination" has guitars and drums that thud thunderously. The beginning is really fast, similar to another Pantera anthem, "F*cking Hostile," with great back-and-forth work between the guitars and drums. It has another great solo near the end, and the song's last few seconds are slow chugging, booming riffs.
Machine gun riffs and drums occupy much of "Shattered", making the song so fast it almost sounds like it's vibrating. When Phil's vocals begin, he lays down some Judas Priest-esque screams that are so high, it almost sounds like he's squealing.
"The Sleep" begins slowly, with acoustic guitar licks. The song then turns to a galloping beat, with punching guitars and it's rounded off by not one, but TWO more superb solos.
Dimebag's virtuoso guitar work also makes "Cowboys from Hell," like all landmark metal albums, stand the test of time. At the time, "CfH" was about as heavy as heavy metal got. 15 years later, it's nothing short of a classic. Like Metallica's "Kill `Em All" or Slayer's "Show No Mercy," "Cowboys from Hell" is not the band's best offering. But, it's a great album that's essential for all metalheads. Plus, since this was Pantera's most thrashy-sounding album, it's essential for 1980's thrash fans, too. The bottom line is if you like heavy metal, you should be sinking your teeth into this album.
If you learn from the best, you'll be the best. He has Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhodes to thank for it, but Dimebag was the best of his generation. Thus, as the best, it was his job to influence a new generation of guitarists. Even though Dimebag is now deceased, his legend lives on through younger, aspiring guitarists. There's only one Dimebag Darrell Lance Abbott, but there will surely be many more people coming our way who have mastered the art of guitar shredding...and they'll have Dimebag to thank.
专辑封皮 & 封底合页
01- Cowboys from Hell 4:07
02- Primal Concrete Sledge 2:13
03- Psycho Holiday 5:19
04- Hersey 4:46
05- Cemetry Gates 7:02
06- Domination 5:04
07- Shattered 3:21
08- Clash with Reality 5:16
09- Medicin Man 5:14
10- Message in Blood 5:10
11- The Sleep 5:47
12- The Art of Shredding 4:20