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Riffs That Shook The World #2: Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

The riff you guys voted as the number two riff that shook the world is Pantera's Cowboys From Hell...

The year is 1990 and the charts are being overwhelmingly dominated by Phil Collins, Sinéad O’Connor and Vanilla Ice. Thrash is still going strong,but doesn’t feel anywhere near as dangerous as it did five years ago. Record companies are racing to Seattle in the hope of finding the stars of tomorrow. The very future of metal is in question. And then a bunch of hard-drinkin’, heavy-tokin’ Texans come along with a riff so intoxicating, so goddamn electric, it gives heavy music the kick up the arse it needs and sends waves rippling across the face of the Earth.

Let’s face it: few riffs have been single-handedly responsible for so many hangovers, headaches and broken necks as the opening track on Pantera’s fifth album/official debut Cowboys From Hell. And as a mission statement, it pretty much said it all: we’re taking over this town. And take over towns they most certainly did. After touring with Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies, the band were invited to open for Judas Priest in Europe the following year, followed by an appearance at Monsters In Moscow with AC/DC and Metallica to a crowd of 500,000 – not bad. Basically what we’re saying here is: do not underestimate the power of a fucking brilliant riff. Pantera most certainly didn’t.

Find out more on the Riffs That Shook The World in the latest issue of Metal Hammer here (opens in new tab).

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