Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers – drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell – along with vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing the original unofficial bass guitarist Tommy D. Bradford. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. With its fifth album, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced a groove metal sound. Pantera’s sixth album, 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power, exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
Tensions began to surface among the band members when Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995; he almost died from an overdose in 1996. These tensions resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) being held separately. The ongoing tension lasted for another seven years, during which only one studio album, Reinventing the Steel (2000), was recorded. Pantera went on hiatus in 2001, but was disbanded by the Abbott brothers in 2003 amid communication problems and their conclusion that Anselmo would not return to the band.
The Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan, while Anselmo continued work on several side projects, including Down in which Rex Brown joined as well. On December 8, 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a mentally unstable fan during a Damageplan concert in Columbus, Ohio, permanently ending hopes for a reunion.
Vulgar Display of Power is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Pantera, released on February 25, 1992 through Atco Records. One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power has been described as “one of the defining albums of the groove-metal genre”. Several songs from this release have become some of the band’s best known, such as “Mouth for War“, “A New Level“, “Walk“, “Fucking Hostile”, and “This Love“.
Mouth For War—-Musically powerful from the very first note, this release really introduced me to the band the mix of melody and hardcore music it was delivering. Phil sounds literally possessed with his vocal….rising above the power of the band to deliver line after line of lyrics that make you afraid and think at the same time. This was extraordinary to see live…I remember this show well.
A New Level—-Deeper in tone and full of an aggressive bass line, this track is brutal. The sharp blast of guitars are perfectly evened out with the bass line and the drum delivery. Phil delivers a vocal that spits venom and reminds me of Jasta from Hatebreed. The melody of the song is always present though…..giving your head something to groove to.
Walk—-With a remarkable groove from the rhythm section of the band, this was a taste of the hardcore to come in the later 90’s. Phil has such an aggressive voice..it gives the song much more of an edge than the music gives it. He sings with an underlying anger and venom that is incredible. This track makes me feel 10 feet tall.
Fucking Hostile—-Brutal and filled with an undeniable anger from the first notes, Anselmo enters with his vocal and takes things to an even higher level. The music is fast…almost an ode to the Thrash bands that opened doors for this type of harder edged music. This is incredible…the instrumentation is incredible…the energy palatable and the aggression undeniable.
This Love—-The intro to this song seems shocking after the previous track…..the intricate melody line and the sweet and sincere vocal so different from the earlier songs. The band is so tight…well rehearsed and ready to allow the song to explode at the chorus….this is just fantastic….making me want to shove my hands to the sky and give the finger to everybody that has hurt me.
Rise—-Coming back at a blistering pace with this track, the drums threaten to blow the top of your head off. The steam that is produced by this song fills your entire cerebellum. Phil enters with a vocal that spits anger and venom…disgust and putrid feelings. This is fast….blazing and searing….a true triumph.
No Good [Attack The Radical]—-Almost predictable in sound, the outstanding thing from the very onset of this track are the stellar drums on the song. Phil comes and goes with his vocal…sometimes almost whispering and other times threatening to toss his vocal box on the floor. There is a nice melody line in the chorus…but it disappears as soon as it comes along.
Live In A Hole—-Again, the rhythm section of this band really gives the sound a full body and groove to the music. The drums are so strong….the sharp bass lines are unforgettable. The vocal….strong as always..suffers at this point in the record….sounding to much the same as on every song…there is little variation. I like when the chorus kicks in and there is some variance. I get tired of hearing Phil scream all the time….sorry.
Regular People [Conceit]—-Huge drums open the song along with a fantastic bass line that propels everything to an energetic melody line that runs underneath everything. There is a fantastic rhythmic quality to the song that makes you almost groove along….one of my favorite tracks here…..musically.
By Demons Be Driven—-Blast from every direction swirl around your head as you listen to the opening of this track. The song seems to be layered with aggression at every turn. Phil enters with his vocal and delivers more of the same…I just find his vocal delivery a bit tiring after a bit. I like this…musically it’s stellar….vocally…it’s very repetitive.
Hollow—-Ending the release with a bit of a game changing melody. its nice to hear a variance in the music finally….not only the music…the voice is actually delivered with melody and an actual singing tone. The song is a very big surprise…the melody is outstanding…you never lose the power chords or the drums…but you end on a note that does not leave you as tired as you were at the last song. Well placed and well played.
**** out of 5