Rebel Meets Rebel is the result of a lengthy collaboration between Pantera's rhythm section and outlaw country legend David Allan Coe. The partnership began in the late '90s with Coe and Dimebag Darrell meeting in Fort Worth and discovering they were kindred spirits. They decided to record together in 1999, and over the next four years, Coe, Dimebag, and Pantera's rhythm section recorded sporadically. Those sessions were released as Rebel Meets Rebel in 2006, two years after Dimebag's tragic on-stage murder while playing with the group Damageplan. Rebel Meets Rebel in no way attempts to blend the styles of heavy metal and country -- rather it just throws them together, one on the top of the other, at times outweighing each other. The result is two completely different sounds crashing together and creating something entirely new out of the smashed remnants. The album's first track, "Nothin' to Lose," hits hard with a White Zombie-esque intro, featuring a moaning female and choppy distorted guitar, leading way to the musical collision. On first listen, the song sounds awkward -- as if someone had spliced a Pantera song together with a David Allan Coe one on their home computer. It doesn't mesh well, and the bass seems too sharp and tinny. But after listening to the album a few times, it starts to make more sense. Dimebag's ability to switch between piercing thrash and beautifully dark melodies is one of his attributes that garnered him such acclaim, and it's there on Rebel Meets Rebel. And he is complemented by not only his bandmates but by guest performers, like Joey Floyd's fiddle breakdown on "Rebel Meets Rebel" and added metal growl from Hank Williams III on "Get Outta My Life."
Coe and the three metal musicians reach common ground on the Spanish-flared tunes "Panfilo" and "Heartworn Highway," as well as on "Arizona Rivers," with its beautiful acoustic guitar taking center stage. The musicians relate to each other, and these songs are the most successful at bringing together Coe's bluesy country and Pantera's musical talent. It's in these three standouts that Coe's vocals and Dimebag's melodic guitar riffs and licks are at their finest on the album. Lyrically, the album is all over the place. While the lyrics are often boisterous and cocky (e.g., "One Night Stands"), there are a few exceptions where the themes change from getting drunk and stoned to songs about how unkind time can be. "Cherokee Cry" calls for respect for Native Americans, and regret for the way they were treated by the U.S. government: "Digging up our sacred grounds, won't you leave the dead alone/Let the eagle fly and the buffalo roam, and give us back our home." The album's up moments are really up, incorporating humor and rowdiness. "Cowboys Do More Dope" swaggers more than the rest of the album, as a saloon-style piano intro gives way to a classic Dimebag riff and a song about long-haired rednecks packing their noses with blow. With his signature rebel pride and maverick attitude, Coe proves his versatility both lyrically and vocally on this album, and Pantera's hard-hitting, rebellious freight-train rhythm section never lets up. Each song on the album is as unique as the musicians who created it. Rebel Meets Rebel really is groundbreaking in that it will please fans of both country and metal because the music is simultaneously both styles -- it's never a fusion, they simply exist together.