Review Summary: Get your face punched in...
The cover of Vulgar Display of Power depicts a man getting his face punched in...how awesome! Pantera played crunching, heavy metal music, and has been rated by many music professionals as one of the top 50 heaviest albums of all time. Given its heavy description, it received a great deal of popular attention during its day, and excerpts were played as music introductions on MTV's Headbanger's Ball during the 90's.
Vulgar Display of Power is a superb example of heavy metal. It is full of crunching power chords, angry lyrics, and intense vocals. The opening song, "Mouth for War," is an upbeat, pulsating piece of anger and aggression, challenging the listener to battle. Dimebag Darrel's amazing intensity on the guitar combined with Phil Anselmo's growling vocals throughout the song set the pace for the entire album. In the last quarter of the song, the music is so driven and the vocals paced so well, the listener can't help moving to the music whether it's bang your head, jump, mosh, punch, or dance for that matter. The next song, "A New Level" is a similarly intense song that calls for "confidence and power," which leads to the "hit" single "Walk." "Walk" demonstrates another excellent paced song...its rhythm clearly is set to furiously "walk" or march. The entire bands maintains the march, while Anselmo rips through amazing lyrics. The next song of hate and destruction, "F*ing Hostile," continues to pull the listener through Anselmo's frantic, combative, and infuriated mind. The rest of the album continues forcefully and aggressively, ending in "Hollow," which allows Anselmo to demonstrate that he really can sing if he wants to. The song is about a friend who has slipped into a coma, and Anselmo uses the piece to express his vulnerable emotions along with his usual anger. Dimebag Darrel moves the song to a heavier space, followed by Phil Anselmo's roars.
Vulgar Display of Power is simply one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. If you are into metal, it is imperative that you are exposed to this album. From the cover art to the opening rip of "Mouth for War" to the last chords of "Hollow," this album is a superb example of amazingly combative music.