Exactly one week ago, a newly reformed Pantera – featuring Black Label Society axeman Zakk Wylde and Anthrax’s Charlie Benante – performed their first show in 21 years.
The show, which took place at Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest, served to be our first glimpse at the new-look lineup, and gave us our first real insight into how the tribute lineup actually sounds.
Likewise, it was the first time we heard Wylde in this new role of his, with the former Ozzy Osborne electric guitar star bringing his A-game to smash a wealth of Pantera classics.
One of the standouts from that first setlist was Cowboys From Hell – a rendition of the title track from Pantera’s fifth studio album released in 1990, which filled the penultimate spot on proceedings.
Naturally, Wylde – who has previously discussed the difficulties of replicating Dimebag’s nuanced playing style – added his own flair to the guitar solo, and although he didn’t perform a note-for-note playthrough of the original Cowboys From Hell effort, he did succeed in delivering a number of fitting lightning-quick licks.
Now, Kayla Kent – a YouTuber who rose to prominence this year with a range of eerily accurate Pantera covers that channeled the spirit of Dimebag Darrell – has gotten involved with the heightened hype by releasing a cover of Wylde’s Cowboys From Hell solo.
Technically, she posted it on Monday (December 5), which meant she listened to, learned and recorded the 41-second solo in the space of around two days. Sure, a feel for Dimebag’s original effort would have helped, but since Wylde’s version was a fair bit different, it’s a pretty astonishing achievement.
When Kent’s Pantera covers first drew eyes, commentators commended the guitarist for her ability to tap into Dimebag-style nuance, and praised her for delivering one of the most accurate emulations of the late guitar legend’s playing style.
Well, her nous for harnessing the sounds of other players is in full force once again, with Kent effortlessly tapping into Wylde’s whammy-drenched lead lines and rapid-fire fretboard acrobatics, which she performs on the fretboard of her Kramer JK8000.
Speaking to Guitar World earlier this year, Kent theorized that her ability to harness a Dimebag-esque sound came from the fact she originally learnt Pantera songs by ear.
“I genuinely adore [Dimebag’s] playing and Pantera's songwriting,” she reflected. “I learned a ton of Pantera songs by ear, and I wonder if maybe that is more accurate to picking up Dime's nuances than doing everything by tabs.”
Wylde has also been open about his own experiences trying to emulate Dimebag’s style for the Pantera tour, telling Guitar World, “No matter what I do, it's going to sound like me.”
“It's like if Dime were still here, and he played Miracle Man or No More Tears – even if he played them spot on – it would still sound like Dimebag Darrell playing Zakk Wylde,” he said. “So, that's a challenge, but it's not a bad thing at all.
“It's like if Randy Rhoads were to play Eddie Van Halen's Eruption, no matter what he did, it would sound like Randy playing, not Eddie. You're never going to mistake Randy for Eddie or Eddie for Randy, and it's the same thing here with me playing Dime's stuff.”
Pantera wrap up their 2022 touring schedule on December 18 at Knotfest Brasil, but will embark on a run of European and US dates starting from May next year.