Can you believe that we are at the 25th Anniversary of Pantera’s “Vulgar Display Of Power”? Well we are and while this is actually the sixth album in the bands discography, it’s pretty much the second in the more throttling and intense “Groove Metal” sound that they were laying down and claiming some dominance over. I remembered that I first got into Pantera when I heard some tracks on WSOU and despite my being a fan of some of the earliest Power Metal and Glam Rock of the day, I never did hear of the band during their non-Thrashy times. To say that I played “CFH” to death would be an understatement but it was with “VDOP” that this band firmed up in everyone’s Metal minds that they meant business. As always, these milestone reflections are more personal thoughts as the full litany of what made this album come to pass are well outlined in the official Wikipedia entry below. Let’s continue.
From the moment that I first played this at the time new album I felt that the band had upped their Heavy Metal game. They were intense and very in your face and had this whole “Take No Prisoners” sort of attitude. In 1992 the Grunge Rock scene was getting more and more prominent and the Metal Legions had to stick by their favorite music in order for it to thrive. It would not be an easy task for Phil, Dimebag, Vinnie and Rex to do since these Seattle based melodic strains were quickly taking over the airwaves and even the video ones. Bands like Pantera were slowly relegated to only being showcased on the later evening “Headbangers Ball” that broadcast once a week. When you did play this album it was very often done at levels that would send a more civilized sort into hiding. Like I said up above, this was some true in your face stuff and for those of us who were enjoying it we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I was a drummer at the time and recently out of my very active band and I would use this album to be the gauge of the direction that I myself had wanted to look further into musically. The powerful and fast-paced kick drums of Vinnie Paul were a true workout but back then I could do a fair amount of it before needing an oxygen tank LOL. I didn’t know too many people that could successfully mimic Dimebag but at this point in Metal history you didn’t have a lot of bands copying one another’s style. You did what you knew how to and they did the same. One thing I remembered clearly about my purchase of “Vulgar” was that I did this at a local CD shop where I continually drove the owner crazy with my needs of finding the latest and greatest to be Metal. His was a small shop so getting more than a handful of copies was risky in the event that I was the only customer interested in buying it. The other aspect of recall is my sitting in the parents basement with a little CD boom box radio and a couple of close friends who would regularly join in on listening sessions of new acquisitions. Sure you would hear a couple of the tunes from the release on the Metal stations or in L’Amour which was our main HQ for live music, but those would be select songs. To me there was nothing like a full on track by track enjoyment with fellow Metal friends and of course a whole lot of beers. Let’s examine the original album track listing once more.
1. Mouth For War
2. A New Level
4. Fucking Hostile
5. This Love
7. No Good (Attack The Radical)
8. Living In A Hole
9. Regular People (Conceit)
10. By Demons Be Driven
From the original track listing I’d have to say that the songs that I loved most back in the original heyday for the release are still of considerable appeal to me and for some reason would fall to the first five tracks of the release. There are other solid numbers on the release and of course the closing “Hollow” sounds excellent still but that is where my own head it at when it comes down to it. I would always generally listen to this one in full and was still very into the band up until their follow-up of “Far Beyond Driven” which was when I was moving into other Metal territory. You readers can let me know your favorites when we’re done here.
A lot has changed in Metal and the world around us since this release was first slapping our heads around. In 2003 Pantera had broken up and Dimebag would be murdered by an insane fan in 2004 and that is what makes this albums anniversary all the more important since these tunes are the best way to remember the majesty and might. Though we still have Phil, Rex and Vinnie, I am hard-pressed to think that any sort of reunion will be done or is even necessary. Please be sure to crank this one up to 15 today in honor of its 25th Anniversary and remember what it did for you as a younger fan of Metal. I’d love to hear how this one affected you as a fan down in the comments below. Until next time.
Official Website: http://www.pantera.com
Official Album Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgar_Display_of_Power