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Pantera is infamous for being one of the heaviest and most violent bands. In the early 90’s they were red hot and becoming one of the last metal bands to survive the grunge and alternative dominance. “Cowboys from Hell” was a diamond in the rough for metal heads, because metal was on the verge of extinction. In 1992 the metal community was greeted with one of the heaviest and most vicious album, but don’t let it fool you. This album is highly overrated and there are so many flaws in the album, which in conclusion makes it one of Pantera’s worst albums.
The CD begins with “Mouth for War” and the listener is grasped and maimed with the heavy guitar riff in the beginning that is pretty cool, unless you’re Pantera and you play it throughout the whole song. Phil comes in singing and after a couple of verses you begin to wonder; is this the same Pantera from CFH? Phil and the rest of the band do not offer anything worthwhile in their opening song, except bland lyrics that try to build an illusion that they are a “tough” band with stupid and idiotic lyrics ala; “No one can piss on this determination” Yes, pretty bad, but this song will not be as bad as some of the later songs. On the continuation of bad songs that offer one good highlight, let’s talk about “New Level” another Pantera song with tough and wannabe-gangster lyrics “Got shit on pissed on spit on stepped on fuck with pointed at by a lesser man.” What on earth? Terrible for a band that was once a glam metal band. This song abysmal, the only good thing this song offers is an interesting bridge; that lasts for about 20 seconds and then there is the song Rise. “Rise” begins with a 20 second speed burst, but falls apart as soon as Dimebag plays the main riff and Phil acts like he can kick anyone’s ass.
The third song on VDOP is sought to be one of the most popular metal songs. Albeit, this song is one of the worst heavy metal songs ever! It is appalling how much recognition this song gets. “Walk” futures one of the driest guitar riffs with the stupidest lyrics. Seriously, go look at the lyrics for this song. It is reminiscent of a gangster rap song. “Re-spect Walk; are you talking to me?” “Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me? No, way punk!” There is a line in this song that epitomizes Pantera’s career; “You can’t be something you’re not” Or how about this line: “Walk on home boy!” This song offers nothing special, this song with the rest of the album is the laughing stock for metal heads. “No Good (Attack the Radical)” is on par with “Walk” in regards to sucking. This song has another groove metal riff with stupid lyrics about the human race; and the faults of America.
Oh, but wait the worst lyrics are still yet to come. “This Love” is another poor song with horrible lyrics that only appeal to teenagers going through puberty. The song structure is predicable with uninspiring guitar work by dimebag. The song is 6 and half minutes long! It offers nothing out of the ordinary. In the first four songs of the album Pantera’s vision is to make them look unbreakable with a no bull-shit demeanor, however with emotional lyrics; “In my life all I wanted was the keeping of someone like you, as it turns out deeper within me love was twisted and pointed at you.” Absolute garbage! Pantera could have been the saving grace for metal if they released something like Cowboys from Hell again.
The hardest song to get through on this album is “Live in a Hole” some songs offer small increments of some light in this album, but this song is dull and has no highlights. Most of the “Regular People (Conceit)” is garbage with hysterical lyrics; “I fight for love of brother, your friends fight one another.” The only good thing this song offers is the beginning part where it sounds like Pantera might actually have some talent in playing their instruments, but it falls apart because they are too concerned about being an “immovable stone” with lyrics about how no one will “mess with them.”
The only two songs I can tolerate, but by far are not metal masterpieces are the last two songs. So, yes, you will have to listen to the whole album to get to some decent material. “By Demons Be Driven” has some highlights, but like the rest of the songs, they recycle the guitar riffs over and over again. “Hollow” starts off with an excellent vibe, as the band is playing slow, you can comprehend what Phil is saying and Dimebag plays some cool warm guitar riffs. I really can’t degrade this song too much. It is nothing perfect though, but compared to the rest of the album, this is the best song on the album.
I understand the situation of metal in the early 90’s. Judas Priest was on hiatus with Rob Halford exiting temporarily, Metallica would cut their hair and would lose their metal touch, Iron Maiden was in the Blaze Bayley era and hair metal along with any other kind of genre was on the verge of collapse. So we get “Vulgar Display of Power” from Pantera. I won’t say it ruined metal and created garbage bands like; Korn, or Limp Bizkit, but it halted metal for a couple years until grunge was dead and more metal bands started to hit the scene.
One thing that upsets about me about Pantera is the fact that they are charlatans. In their Live 101 Proof album they stop songs to congratulate themselves on not changing their style and not being trendy. They condescend the media because they believe the media is after them for not changing their style of music and for not following main stream music. Ironic for a band that once was a hair metal band and wore make-up and spandex, that claims they won’t take any bullshit from anyone. Pantera has also been critical of Metallica for watering down in the mid 90s, during the Load and Reload days. They slammed the Load album and were always claiming that they would eat Metallica alive on the live stage. Another thing that really aggravates me is that Pantera also stole most of their music on this album from the Exhorder demos, go listen to them and you will hear. However, unlike Pantera, Exhorder had potential and Exhorder deserves the highest praise for their excellent music.
In conclusion, this album is garbage and one of the biggest mistakes of my life was using my hard earn money to buy this piece of shit when I was in the 7th grade. I can write a book about how stupid this album is.