Cemetery Gates

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"Cemetery Gates"
Single by Pantera
from the album Cowboys from Hell
Released July 24, 1990 (album)
1990 (single)
Recorded 1989–1990
Length 7:03
Label Atco
Producer(s) Terry Date
Pantera singles chronology
"Cowboys from Hell"
"Cemetery Gates"
"Psycho Holiday"

"Cemetery Gates" is a power ballad by American heavy metal band Pantera. The song is the fifth track from the 1990 album Cowboys from Hell, the band's fifth record and second with lead singer Phil Anselmo. The song showcases Anselmo's vocal ability and range, concluding with screaming high notes answered by Dimebag Darrell on guitar in a trade-off.


The lyrics lament the death of a female lover and the prospect of dying or committing suicide and rejoining her in the afterlife.

Phil Anselmo has credited numerous inspirations for the song. He stated in an interview in 1991 that the song was written about his good friends that had committed suicide. He also stated in a Ustream.tv live Q&A that "there was a friend who had died in NOLA and it had a real heavy impact within my group of friends. When I wrote the lyrics I did not want them to be too personal, because that can be cheesy. I also had to make sure that the lyrics would not take away from the song, because that was one of our best songs."[1]

Release and reception

"Cemetery Gates" was the second single released by the band off their Cowboys from Hell album. It received a large amount of air-play by rock stations, and has become one of Pantera's most popular songs. Guitar World magazine readers voted the song's solo the 35th greatest of all-time, which was Dimebag's 2nd highest ranking solo (after "Floods").[2] A live version of the song from Official Live: 101 Proof was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998.

Metal Hammer considered "Cemetery Gates" to be the best Pantera song, writing that it is one of the greatest epic ballads in metal history, and that it is "etched into the hearts and minds of metalheads everywhere".[3]

Alternative versions

A shorter version of "Cemetery Gates", without its acoustic beginning, was released into a music video. A shortened, five minute and forty-seven second version without the conclusion was included on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight. Pantera's live album, Official Live: 101 Proof, includes a six and a half minute rendition of the song.


  • In 2006 the song was covered by American band Between the Buried and Me for their covers album The Anatomy Of.
  • In 2010 English thrash metal band Evile released their version as a non-album single.
  • In 2013 Faroese band Týr released their version as a bonus track for the album Valkyrja.


Chart (1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 99


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-50-greatest-pantera-songs-ever/5
  4. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 11 Jun 1995". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2017-04-25.

External links

  • Music video on YouTube
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