Review by Ben for Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
I absolutely loved this album as soon as I heard it back in 1992 and I still do 17 years later! It was the first CD I bought (along with Ministry's Psalm 69), so I guess it holds a special place in my collection, but it's more than that. It's simply a pumping album of extremely crushing thrash metal with a huge dose of grooving riffage. Pantera had left their early glam metal period behind long before this release, but the sheer ferocity of Vulgar Display of Power was truly something to behold.
Each member of the band plays like they have a bone to pick with the world. Dimebag Darrell's riffs were so completely unique, and he had an incredible ability to switch between totally shredding riffs and chunky brutality with ease. Phil Anselmo's vocals are simply awesome and if his unadulterated aggression doesn't get you pumping your fist with energy then nothing will. What's even better is the fact that when necessary, the guy can really sing, which is not something that can be said for most metal vocalists.
Other than the sheer power, the other thing this album has going for it is variety. Just as on Cowboys from Hell, the guys managed to squeeze in heavy slower tracks (Walk, By Demons Be Driven), super-fast shredfests (Fucking Hostile, Rise) and semi ballads that amazingly don't suck (This Love, Hollow). It all adds up to an album that never gets boring and can be listened to in its entirety without ever losing that mad grin. Highlights are all over the place, but my personal favourites are Mouth for War, Fucking Hostile and the truly crushing By Demons Be Driven. Essential for anyone into metal basically!