As the cover already hints at, the 92 PANTERA output "Vulgar Display Of Power" is the proverbial fist in the face. Right in the middle of the slowly ebbing Death Metal wave this band hit with a pure power album.
The music on "Vulgar..." can hardly be put into one category. When listening to the songs too many impressions assault you. I guess that I can best classify the music as Modern- or Neo-Thrash Metal. While "Vulgar..." does not really put any emphasis on the speed that plays such an important role in classical Thrash, but rather fat, grooving, super heavy riffs! Listen to "Mouth For War" or the brutally grooving track "Walk". The music stomps everything into the ground. And the hefty riffs are complemented by the manic screamign of fronter Phil Anselmo and a thundering double bass inferno by drum animal Vinnie Paul. Compared to many of their Thrash Metal colleagues from the Eighties, PANTERA have a lot more to offer in musicianship. Guitarist Diamond Darrell, who some of you might know, does not save on aggressive and 100% fitting solos. The bone-dry sound adds its part to make songs like the fast "Rise" or the bitter-sweet grenade "This Love" even more brutal. Even the closing semi-ballad "Hollow" never sounds sappy at all. Each second oozes with power, with energy that grips everything and everybody. Suiting the music are the lyrics, which make obvious that the PANTERA guys had a lot of anger and frustration in them when writing this album. The mostly quite personal lyrics deal with hate, false friends or the bitter reality of our society.
The listener will get a lot of variety on "Vulgar...". Almost all following PANTERA albums lacked just that. Besides MACHINE HEAD's "Burn My Eyes" and SEPULTURA's "Chaos A.D." "Vulgar Display Of Power", to my ears, is one of the three most intense longplayers of the early Nineties. At least if you look at the evolution of Metal in the following years, one could raise the theory that not few of today's Nu-Metal scene has at least listened to albums like this. Even though with rather limited success. "Vulgar Display Of Power" is a hammer without fillers.
Check out tips: "Mouth For War", "Walk", "This Love", "Rise"... (Online June 4, 2003)