Pantera
Vulgar Display of Power


3.5
great

Review

by Joe Schmoh USER (73 Reviews)
February 25th, 2010 | 20 replies | 4,563 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Groove Metal at it's thickest and most aggressive.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Unsuccessfully beginning their career as comical hair metal enthusiasts and mimics, Pantera didn’t feel much of an evolution from the swift change in vocalists. Power Metal felt thrasy and hard rock-ish in places, but again that left Pantera to their mimicking early musical childhood still, as it represented a lot of the influential thrash releases of 1986 and beyond. Finally, in 1990, just as the mammoth band Metallica started their fall off of the face of honorable music, Pantera came into their own and were no longer laughable on Cowboys From Hell. Then they developed this sound a bit further, into a deeper, noisy, thicker haze of metal, and this developed the bands best album Vulgar Display of Power.

At their heart, Pantera are a thrash band, with simpler premises and groovy motions that make it a bit more interesting and unique to their style. The virtuosity in the guitar stylings of Dimebag Darrell take the lead in here, as the rest of the band creates a choppy, thrash-y rhythm for him to take it to the next level over. “Walk” displays some musical experimentation on part of Pantera, creating an odd time signature (12/8) to give the song a ‘walking’ motion, while the vibrant vocal presence of Phil Anselmo mixed with ravenous solos give the song its memorability. Because of their thrashy aspects, it’s easy to see why their simplicity and rawness give Pantera sort of a punk-ish feel in parts, and catchy hooks and infectious guitar licks are all around, but it’s mudded-up and thicked to give the album a tougher, or better yet, darker sound and atmosphere.

Phil Anselmo, as annoying as he can be at points on other albums, is not a flaw here. His barking, as much as they leave to the listener’s imagination at points, fits the music perfectly, and beefing up the band’s sound with yet another layer. Lyrically, his words touch on bullying with the same immaturity of a thirteen year old, while he also switches over to being an absurd tough guy. This sheer contradiction in lyrical stance sort of makes Phil interesting to listen to, watching him trip over his words angrily. Phil Anselmo’s fueling rage and contradictory character make him truly a bewildering experience to listen to, but nonetheless, his flaws aren’t what make Vulgar Display of Power not a metal classic.

What does, though, is the inconsistency of song quality. The warbling, dynamic ballad “This Love” builds over shadowy riffs into a glorious groovy gloom that only Pantera could bring the world, but the other ballad of the album, “Hollow”, buries this album at the very end with sappiness and wimpery that sounds as fake as anything, before building and almost shape-shifiting into a very generic concoction for the band and then, strangely cutting off before the song ends. Along with that, the album is riddled with songs that are bit too generic to work for the band, layered with barren, dated thrash riffs.

However, the strength of Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power is, surprisingly enough, the atmosphere of it. The stuffy, haze-y drab that fogs up the album driven by plunging, chugging guitar riffs, and clogged bass riffs is what makes Pantera listenable. Dimebag Darrell is virtuosic on the guitar, but other than solos, he doesn’t show that here, rather he shows off his songwriting. Unlike any other Pantera record out there, even Cowboys From Hell, the easy second best, does Dimebag ever embrace his songwriting ability nor his ability to craft an album worth listening to, here he does both. Vulgar Display of Power, while not a classic, is one of those rare cases where a metal album hits the mainstream with a force that, rather than trembling at the thought of an atmosphere, embraces it with glee, or better yet, gloom. Phil is a douche, and Dimebag’s dead, but this album still remains.



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user ratings (2346)
Chart.
4.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
hydeyomoney
February 25th 2010



934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't reviewed something non-rap since Cap'N Jazz.

TheSpirit
February 25th 2010



17128 Comments


Good review, but this is getting ridiculous. This 18 year old album has been reviewed three times in a week.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

illmitch
February 25th 2010



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

never really liked pantera

they totally ripped off exhorder

Nikkolae
February 25th 2010



4746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and still andrew's review is the best

Digging: We Came Out Like Tigers - Ever-Crushed at Pecket's Well

hydeyomoney
February 25th 2010



934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I disagree with Andrew's being the best, might be Jorn's imo.

Dryden
February 25th 2010



12928 Comments


uggggggggggh

ThePalestMexican
February 26th 2010



2816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As much as a fanboy I am of Pantera.

I agree that this "Nu Metal Pantera" thing has started a resurgence in this album, it's good, but the whole reason why I'm at 4.5 right now, is I stopped listening to it before it got old.

-rant over-

ThePalestMexican
February 26th 2010



2816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Posted the same comment twice....sorry folks...*whistle whistle whistle*

So how about those Winter Olympics?

theacademy
February 26th 2010



28221 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

review score is off by 1.5

illmitch
February 26th 2010



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i agree

theacademy
February 26th 2010



28221 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol

Parallels
February 26th 2010



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i blame Doom for making me love this album.

Wizard
February 26th 2010



19206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Watch out before Greenman neg's this nu-metal review hahahaha.

Review is perfect!

Digging: Merzbow - Dust of Dreams

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010



8317 Comments


Damn good review. All I ever got from Pantera is Cowboys From hell and Far Beyond Driven, but I like them both, although I don't spin them too much anymore. If you say this is their best, then I might take a look when I'm feeling the call of groove metal.

Emim
February 26th 2010



26469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is good, I prefer The Great Southern Trendkill and Cowboys to this though.

renegadestrings
February 26th 2010



1435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this was one of the first albums to make me realize that there was metal outside of Metallica, so for that, it holds a special place in my heart. that and the fact that "Mouth For War" is one of the most badass metal songs ever. i also disagree with your opinion of "Hollow"... it took me a long time to appreciate it, but i truly enjoy that song. MAD... AT GOD

Greenman
February 26th 2010



178 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

R U TALKING 2 ME?????!!!!!!!

Awful album. Pretty good review. Pos'd.

KILL
March 5th 2012



70298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT ME


DETERMINED

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Destructerator
March 5th 2012



853 Comments


COWBOYS FROM HAAAYUL

Ponton
Emeritus
March 5th 2012



5784 Comments


feel sry for that greenman



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