"Cemetery Gates" is a song 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. The song is also Pantera's longest song ever recorded, clocking in at 7:03.
The lyrics lament the death of a female relative or friend 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."
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.
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