- Cowboys from Hell: Deluxe Edition
The transformation of Pantera from full-on 80s glam metal to one of the fiercest thrash-core bands to grace the Bill Clinton Administration years is perhaps the most drastic artistic transition rock ‘n’ roll had witnessed since Bowie traded in Ziggy Stardust for the Thin White Duke. And while nowhere near as brutal as the pair of certified classics that succeeded it in 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power and 1994’s masterful Far Beyond Driven, 1990’s Cowboys From Hell was nevertheless the Texas Cain raisers’ official coming out party that saw frontman Phil Anselmo, late guitarist Dimebag Darrell, drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Rex Brown incinerate the lipstick-and-spandex bravado of their early years in a mushroom cloud of beer-drenched, weed-stenched biker thug nihilism that earned them their rightful place amongst the giants of heavy metal.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Rhino comes forth with this three-disc deluxe edition of Cowboys that is a definite must-own for anyone who had songs like “Cemetery Gates” and “The Art of Shredding” in heavy rotation back in the day. Along with a beautifully crafted re-envisioning of the album’s rowdy cover art and a killer remastering job on the original 12-track LP, this beefed-up version of the album also includes a second disc that pairs together the super-rare 1991 five-song EP Alive And Hostile with seven previously unreleased tracks culled from a September 1990 radio broadcast captured at the Foundations Forum metal convention in Los Angeles as well as third disc that features demo versions of 10 out of the 12 album cuts and a quality outtake from the initial recording sessions called “The Will to Survive”. Can similarly generous expanded editions of Vulgar and Driven be far behind? One can only anticipate.