|Single by Pantera|
|from the album Cowboys from Hell|
|Released||July 24, 1990|
|Pantera singles chronology|
"Cemetery Gates" is a power ballad by heavy metal band Pantera. The song is the fifth track from Cowboys from Hell, the band's fifth album and second with lead singer Phil Anselmo (though the band considers it their first "true" album, officially ignoring their earlier independent releases as it was their first album with the groove metal genre). "Cemetery Gates" showcases Anselmo's vocal ability and range, concluding with screaming high notes answered by Dimebag Darrell on guitar in a trade off. This is the longest song Pantera ever recorded, clocking in at 7:03.
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."
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"). A live version of the song from Official Live: 101 Proof was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998.
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.
After Dimebag's death, the song was performed by Dream Theater as a tribute during Gigantour. The band was joined on stage by Russell Allen of Symphony X for the first verse, Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory for the second verse and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth for the ending solo. The song was also covered by Between the Buried and Me on their album The Anatomy Of. Another cover version by Evile appears in the Metal Hammer Tribute to Dimebag Darell album and a re-issue of their Infected Nations album. A cover of the song was also released as a single, as well as downloadable content for Rock Revolution. Progressive Folk Metal band Týr also covered the song on their album Valkyrja in 2013.