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Remembering The Original Cowboy From Hell

On the 8th of December, 2004, Darrell Lance Abbott was shot dead at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio while on stage with Damageplan.

Apart from being the founding member and riffmeister of American metal band Pantera, ‘Dimebag’ Darrell is also recognized as being the driving force behind groove metal; a derivative of thrash metal with influences of hardcore punk, a sound which has since been imitated by bands the world over.

As a guitar player, he revolutionized the use of pinch harmonics and is credited with composing some of the most iconic solos in heavy metal to date.

On the 7th year anniversary of his passing, we at Score Magazine pay tribute to the original Cowboy From Hell by spinning Pantera classics and drinking Black Tooth Grins.

Cowboys From Hell

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This song essentially defines Pantera’s sound; full-blown, fast and forceful guitar riffs with a groovy rhythm section. This album is considered the first major groove metal album ever to be released, an album that shot Pantera’s popularity sky-high.


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The 12/8 time signature at the intro riff is probably one of Pantera’s most popular riffs. If you haven’t heard it yet, you should do so right now.

Cemetery Gates

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Another Pantera classic! One of the band’s more introspective songs, Cemetery Gates is a 7 minute ballad that starts with a picked chord pattern and ends in a crescendo of pinch harmonics.  In an interview to Guitar World, Dimebag mentioned that the chord patterns at the intro of the song were influenced by the guitarist of King’s X. Guitar World also rated the Cemetery Gates guitar solo as #35 on their All-Time Top 100 list of guitar solos.

Breathing New Life

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After Pantera went on an extended hiatus, Dimebag and his brother Vinnie went on to form Damageplan with former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman and Bob Zilla (bass player of Hellyeah). ‘Breathing New Life’ continues in the vein of Pantera’s sound with slower and heavier guitar playing.


  • Dimebag was invited by Dave Mustaine to join Megadeth as their new guitarist. However, Dimebag’s condition was that his brother Vinnie Paul would have to play drums for the band. Since Nick Menza was already with Megadeth at that point, Dimebag refused.
  • After his death, Dimebag was buried with Eddie Van Halen’s ‘bumblebee’ Charvel electric guitar in a KISS Kasket, a coffin built by the band KISS. Gene Simmons, the bass player and frontman of KISS personally delivered the coffin at Dimebag’s funeral.
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