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While it may not be quite as good as Pantera's rokkin' debut(eh, Rex?) this album kicks ass. In every sense of the expression. Every riff on this album are anger-fueled creations of heaviness created by none other than the late Dimebag fuckin' Darrell. Need I say anymore? Yes, but the mention of Dimebag Darrell alone should be a good indication that you need this album.
Walk was the first heavy song I'd ever heard. As a young Christian at the time, this very song set me straight for good. You don't hear a riff this heavy and churning(and simple too, but that's beside the pont) in some shitty Christian rock band and it's still one of my favorite riffs today. After I heard this song I purchased the album...and it was the first heavy album I ever bought, serving as an introduction to the great wide world of METAL.
So, of course Dimebag Darrell is the highlight of this album as one of the best metal guitarists to ever walk the earh, at least in my humble opinion. There is a solo in EVERY song in the true heavy metal tradition, as if to remind you that this ain't no acoustic set guitarist...but a pure electric madman. It takes skill to do what Dimebag did on the Pantera albums, and more than what it takes to please a crowd. The second best thing about Pantera is Phil Anselmo. From various television commentaries, I've seen that Phil can be a total dick as a person both on and off stage, but when it comes to being Pantera's frontman Phil does a terrific job. Although he doesn't show off his vocal range as much as he does on Cowboys from Hell with all of the 80s screams and what not, he proves on songs like This Love that he can actually sing....and then tears your speakers apart with a straight up badass voice. It's the only way to describe Phil Anselmo and the album as a whole: badass. Behind the drumkit we have the man, the master Vinnie Paul. This guy strings everything together, providing some righteous back beats to some righteous riffs. Rex is on bass, but we don't hear him as much. He keeps the production thick and meaty, sticking to the drums more than the guitar.
Onto the songs! Rather than outline every song on this album, I'll just rap about the ones I really enjoy and the ones that you, dear reader, should hear right away. This album is a bit of a premature ejaculation with all the good songs stacked at the top and the leftovers trailing after. Pantera is a band with epic songs that you can listen to over and over again....and with other songs that aren't really that great with less memorable parts, and that's why this album received an 85 instead of a full fledged 100. Now, Vulgar Display does not fuck around, it starts off with arguably the best song on the entire CD...Mouth for War. It even has a short intro section much like Cowboys from Hell to sort of psych you up for the badassery that is come. The main riff is great, the kind of riff you hear in a movie when a biker or some sort of rebel is walking down the street. It's not quite a head banging riff, but there's no denying that it commands respect. The chorus is really nice too, and I think that Phil pulls it off really well. I won't waste time explaining how much I love Walk, but this should be the first song you play when you pop in Vulgar Display of Power. My favorite song other than Walk is Fucking Hostile...man, what a kickass song. This *is* a headbanging riff. When Pantera played this live, you got to the pit right away. You don't get anymore metal than Fucking Hostile...a total expression of anger both musically and lyrically. And that solo! It's insane, which proves once more the incredible talent of Dimebag Darrell. Right after this brilliant little thrasher, is This Love. It starts off a little gay, and the song isn't *that* great until the riff of the album. Go to 2:47. This is a riff to raise the dead and it's only followed by another riff that pulverizes you with crushing heaviness. Hell, it's even the riff that Beavis and Butthead hum.
Well, that's it kids. Vulgar Display of Power. In summary this is one of the finer pieces of metal from the early 90s in my opinion. Riding the line between groove metal and trash and influencing band after band who heard the band as I did...as an amazing work of heavy music and indisputably badass.