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Vulgar Display of Power

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(289 Reviews)

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  • Although I personally like Cowboys From Hell better, and Far Beyond Driven is heavier overall, Vulgar Display Of Power remains Pantera’s greatest achievement. Influential, technical, catchy, heavy, and to a degree, intelligent. Phil Anselmo, at one time, did write great lyrics. He covered everything: decay of society, racism, war, peace, self-respect, self-loathing, love, loss of a friend, anger towards parents, hatred, everything. “Hostile,” for instance, is a song dealing with teen angst. However, there’s no KoRny sludge here. It’s a fast-paced romper-stomper that sounds more like an adolescent furiously making a point rather than a 12-year-old whining about not getting a dirt bike for Christmas. Phil’s vocal range is good, too. He is mostly using the ‘tough-guy’ voice, occasionally singing with that amazing choirboy voice of his, and no longer screeching like Plant or Halford. The Abbott brothers, Diamond Darrell and Vinnie Paul, are amazing as usual. Dime’s probably one of the best metal guitarists. His solos are never messy, always precise. Vinnie is pretty much the same. Insane double bass. It’s not always fast, but precise. The foot-rhythms are nothing compared to the crushing groove of the hi-hat and snare, or the crazy fills. They’re both great. Rex Brown fills in nicely with bass. Funky, groovy, and going just as fast as Vinnie and Dime. Truly the stuff of legend. “Mouth For War” took this album to the top of the pop charts, with its barreling main riff and the unforgettable opening line–”Revenge! I’m screaming revenge again!” “Walk” is a simple, anthemic, Texas-styled metal song, with a great chorus, and even better solo. “Hostile” is a pile driver, “Rise” even faster, with a great riff later stolen by Helmet. “No Good,” “Live In A Hole,” and “Regular People” aren’t as spectacular, but aren’t quite filler, “No Good” being the best with its rapped verses. “By Demons Be Driven” is a heavy death-metal-esque tune with a killer chorus. “Hollow” is the epic closer, with wonderfully sung verses and a surprise heavy riff-filled ending. “New Level” and “This Love” are good songs. I rarely listen to them, although the former is heavy as hell and the latter a great semi-ballad. A great album. I like CFH better because of the Texas influences, but this is better than FBD and Reinventing The Steel. However… I will never forget being twelve years old and seeing this album for the first time, with the brutal cover, ominous PA sticker, and insane song titles. What got me the most was the picture on the back. Four guys who LOOKED metal. Who WERE metal. I remember seeing that picture and saying to myself, “Now those guys, they’re COOL.” I tip my ten-gallon hat to the boys in Pantera for helping to shape one little boy’s life…probably for the better.

    Posted on January 18, 2010