Album Review no.12: Vulgar Display of Power - Pantera

kempokid I recently started listening to Pantera as I had heard a lot of good stuff about them, especially about this album and Cowboys From Hell, listening to both of them, I must say that they are both excellent albums. I'll be focusing on Vulgar Display of Power right now and deal with Cowboys From Hell further down the road.

Mouth For War:
The biggest draw of Pantera for me is definitely the amazing riffs. This song is already displaying the power that so many of these riffs have, and it's only the first song. The aggression combined with the pseudo traditional metal sound of this song make it an amazing one indeed. I also like the sections of increased tempo, as they bring more depth to the song, as well as another great riff. The level of drumming is also to be noted.

A New Level:
I find the first 4 seconds to be a very interesting way to start off a song such as this, as while slow for the most part, each note holds a lot of weight behind it. One of the main riffs reminds me of the second Death Note intro, which I find to be quite funny. The solo near the end of the song is a nice way to begin wrapping up the song. The chorus is also impressive as I find it to be pure anger in musical form.

I believe that this song is deserving of being one of the most popular Pantera songs of all time, it isn't necessarily the greatest song by them (that would be Cemetery Gates) but it's a damn good song. I love the simple yet unbelievably catchy and heavy riff. The vocals are extremely good as well, with the anger and frustration that the songs seems to be conveying sounding extremely genuine. The riff and the near anthemic chorus are all this song needs to be amazing, the solo is also quite good though.

F****** Hostile:
Well, that was an intense 2 and a half minutes. I feel like this song is representative of what I've heard of Pantera, a group of people who aren't afraid to tell people exactly what they think, a group of people who won't sugarcoat anything, a group of people sick of everyday garbage. The instrumentals in this track are absolutely amazing and the ending of the song is awesome.

This Love:
For all those 2 people who expected an everyday power ballad about love, NOPE! After the first minute of this song, which is very soft and tame, you almost expect the entire song to be like this, then the guitars and drums kick in as the vocals become very loud and in your face. I love how once the song reaches the approximate halfway point, the classic style of Pantera's riffs begin. The song is also surprisingly long for this band. Even this far into this album, I still haven't been able to pick apart a single song.

My first thoughts about this song were to do with the fact that in each verse, the instrumentals all get faster and faster until it would eventually lead to the last part of the chorus, where everything would go back to being relatively quiet and restrained (emphasis on relatively). This repeats a couple of times, but is definitely a neat thing to do. The solo in this one is also ridiculous and the chorus is quite long, having 3 distinct sections of it, making it more engaging than many others.

No Good (Attack the Radical):
The fact that this band has a surprising grasp on when to focus on the instrumentals and when to focus on the singer is most apparent here, where the heavy riffs are dominating as Phil Anselmo has more of a supporting role until the section where the instruments all quiet down to make way for the vocals, before jumping straight back into the heavy riffs and solos. This is still probably my pick for the weakest song on the album, but even so, the amount of polish is astounding, especially considering the preconceived notions of this style of music.

Live in a Hole:
The song definitely starts off on a high note, with a couple of absolutely awesome riffs. I like the solos as well, as they range from slow, entertaining ditties to ridiculously fast, amazing shredding. I also like the drumming a lot here. I don't have much else to say other than it's a great song.

Regular People (Conceit)
Once again, the riffs are extremely good and entertaining and the other instruments are still exceptional. This is also my pick for one of the most headbangable song on the album (yes, I know that it isn't a real word, I don't care). The constant pace makes this a more straightforward song, but also makes it a very fun one to listen to.

By Demons Be Driven:
I found it to be cool how closely the guitar follows the drumbeat in this song, it's almost exact for the majority of the song. I like the choice to put a slower song this close to the end of the album, as it really lets you have a breather after the non stop barrage of aggression from basically every other song, even if this one still maintains that trait somewhat. The solo work is once again on point as well.

And after the previous song allowing us to calm down slightly, we get, another ballad? ok, I'm up for that, I love ballads. This one is also more true to the term ballad than any other song that I've heard from this band full stop. I honestly didn't expect something truly beautiful to every come out of this band, Cemetery Gates had some of this, but was still a heavy, awesome riff fest for the majority of it, this one on the other hand, maintains amazing restraint throughout a lot of the song. Even when the song becomes intense after one of the best solos in the album, the song still feels much calmer and more calculated than anything else in this album, with slightly more melodic singing, and some nice, quiet interludes. This is definitely my favourite song on the album.

11*10 - 10 = 100/100

Final Thoughts:
Well, there you go, my first perfectly rated album, which is surprising considering that this album probably doesn't even break my top 25 albums despite the fact that I can't think of 25 albums that I would give perfect scores. Despite this, I just couldn't find any major faults in the entire album, each riff was great and memorable, be it because of the power of good music or just the fact that each song hammers one into your head non stop. I also found that the production and general musicianship to be very apparent, as each person in the band definitely knew what they were doing in every song, both in terms of amazing performance, and the knowledge and in terms of balance. The ballads are also a nice touch, as they break up the monotony that this album would have without them. For the style of metal that this band is, I was surprised by the amount of finesse that was able to be put into every song. I also can't mention this album without giving credit to Dimebag Darrel's absolutely amazing solos. This is an album that anyone interested in heavy metal should buy.


Nah, No Good is the best of the album - visitor