On February 25, 1992, one of the most influential heavy metal artists delivered the most influential heavy metal album with Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power. Released via Atco, a division of Atlantic, and produced by the renowned Terry Date, Vulgar Display of Power saw a shift in prowess from its predecessor, Cowboys From Hell.
According to Date, the ambition behind Vulgar was that “Pantera wanted to make the heaviest record of all time.” The band succeeded, as Vulgar Display of Power became the pivotal album that quelled glam metal and defined post-thrash in the ’90s.
With a title borrowed from the 1973 film, The Exorcist, Vulgar Display of Power was monstrous on all levels. Lead singer, Philip Anselmo, chose to drop his previously favored falsetto vocals for a barbarous growl, stemming from his musical background wih the hardcore and obscure metal genres. His vocals were accompanied by a groove-based, heavy guitar tone that became synonymous with the Pantera sound.
The unpredictable and unprecedented guitar work of Dimebag Darrel was perfectly complemented by brother and partner-in-crime Vinnie Paul’s solid drum skills. Bassist Rex Brown’s walking bass lines paired well to become a driving force behind the band’s unmarred, and often sought after, groove.
Opening with “Mouth for War,” the album kicks off with a fast-paced, in-your-face anthem that urges listeners to channel anger and hate into something more productive. “Mouth for War” served as the album’s first single and was well received by fans and critics alike. “Walk,” “This Love,” and “Hollow” were also issued as subsequent singles, though the album is quite notably recognized for its fourth track, “F’king Hostile.”
In a recent interview with Revolver Magazine, Vinnie Paul was quoted as saying that he “never ever realized how much Vulgar Display of Power meant to people until the band was over.” Despite Vinnie’s naivety, the impact that the album had on the metal genre is indisputable. Pantera will forever be regarded as one of the greatest metal acts of all time, and Vulgar Display of Power will remain their accumulative masterpiece.