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25 Years Of Pantera's Vulgar Display Of Power

Posted by Thomas Spillane on


Last Saturday, 25th February 2017, marked 25 years since Pantera, released their landmark album, Vulgar Display Of Power.

Pioneers of groove metal, Vulgar Display Of Power, was the second album the band recorded after their major stylistic shift.

Originally inspired by glam metal band such as KISS and Stryper, the band eventually moved to a heavier sound. Pantera released three glam metal albums, Metal Magic (1983), Projects In The Jungle (1984) and I Am The Night (1985), with vocalist Terry Glaze (or Terrence Lee as he was known at that time). The band eventually grew bored of glam though.

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The band parted ways with Terry Glaze, eventually finding vocalist Phil Anselmo in late 1986. The late eighties saw the release of some landmark thrash albums that were integral to Pantera’s new sound. Records such as Metallica’s Master Of Puppets (1986), Megadeth’s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (1986), Slayer’s Reign In Blood (1986) and Anthrax’s Among The Living (1987) all influenced the band’s decision to ditch the spandex and turn a more dangerous corner.

The first album Pantera released with new vocalist Anselmo has become one of their most infamous. Released in 1990, Cowboys From Hell was the first record to exhibit the band’s new heavier style. Anselmo more screamed than sung and guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, started playing with a new heaviness and brutality. Not only did the band’s sound become heavier, but it also developed a type of groove that hadn’t really been explored in heavy metal before. It is with this style that Pantera found success.

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Vulgar Display Of Power was released in 1992 and took Pantera’s newfound heaviness to the next level. Anselmo’s voice became more hardcore and Dimebag Darrell found a groove many heavy metal guitarists have attempted to replicate. The album was recorded at Pantego Sound Studio and produced by Terry Date who also worked with the band on Cowboys From Hell.

Metallica’s self-titled album (or The Black Album) was released in 19991 to a mixed reception. The thrash metal kings’ sound had evolved into something that wasn’t thrash metal, but more hard rock. While some embraced the new sound, some refused to. Pantera considered the record to be a let down to Metallica’s fans and attempted to fill the gap with Vulgar Display Of Power. While the fact that there even was a gap to fill is very debatable, the record definitely brought a heaviness that Metallica’s self-titled album didn’t.

“Walk” from the record has become one of Pantera’s signature tunes. The groovy 12/8 riff has become on the most well known in heavy metal music, chugging along with a swagger rarely touched again by heavy metal. The lyrics were inspired by people the band had grown up with who believed they had changed after becoming big. Other singles from the album included “Mouth For War”, a catchy thrash tune, “This Love”, Pantera’s take on a ballad and “Hollow”, a retrospective tune.

25 years on and Pantera’s Vulgar Display Of Power is still as shocking as the day it came out. Extremely influential in its own right, Pantera achieved their definitive sound on this record, combining hardcore vocals with thrash speed and groovy riffs, Vulgar Display Of Power still stands the test of time.

What is your favourite tune off of Vulgar Display Of Power? Let us know in the comments!

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