Vulgar Display of Power

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Vulgar Display of Power
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 25, 1992 (1992-02-25)
StudioPantego Sound Studio in Pantego, Texas, U.S.
Label Atco
Producer Terry Date
Pantera chronology
Cowboys from Hell
Vulgar Display of Power
Far Beyond Driven
Singles from Vulgar Display of Power
  1. "Mouth for War"
    Released: February 1992
  2. "This Love"
    Released: 1992
  3. "Hollow"
    Released: 1992
  4. "Walk"
    Released: 1993

Vulgar Display of Power is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Pantera, released on February 25, 1992. Released on Atco Records, it is often considered one of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s. [4] Several of its tracks have become among the band's best known, such as "Mouth for War", "A New Level", "Walk", "Fucking Hostile", and "This Love".

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Pantera American heavy metal band

Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers—drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell—along with lead vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing Tommy D. Bradford, who was the unofficial original. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums independently during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. In 1989, the band secured a record deal with the major laber Atco. With its fifth album, 1990's Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced the groove metal genre, while its 1992 follow-up Vulgar Display of Power exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In addition to their contribution to the groove metal genre, Pantera is credited for being part of the second wave of thrash metal scene in the early-to-mid 1990s.

ATCO Records is an American record company and label founded in 1955 as a division of Atlantic Records. It was devised as an outlet for productions by one of Atlantic's founders, Herb Abramson, who had returned to the company from military service. It was also intended as a home for acts that did not fit the format of Atlantic, which was releasing blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and soul. The Atco name is an abbreviation of ATlantic COrporation. Atco also provided distribution for other labels, including RSO Records, Volt, Island, Modern, Ruthless, and Rolling Stones Records.



The band's 1990 major label debut, Cowboys from Hell , [5] demonstrated a change in their musical direction, from their 1980s material influenced by bands like Van Halen and Kiss [6] [7] to a new similarity to bands like Slayer, Metallica and Black Sabbath. [6] [8]

<i>Cowboys from Hell</i> 1990 studio album by Pantera

Cowboys from Hell is the fifth studio album and major label debut by American heavy metal band Pantera, released on July 24, 1990 by Atco Records.

Van Halen American hard rock/heavy metal band

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its energetic live shows and for the work of its acclaimed lead guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.

Recording and production

In 1991, Pantera returned to Pantego Sound Studio to record their second release under Atco, Vulgar Display of Power. [9] [10] The album was produced by Terry Date, who specializes in the rock and metal genres and had worked with the band on Cowboys from Hell. Date also went on to produce the band's following two albums, Far Beyond Driven (1994) and The Great Southern Trendkill (1996). [9] [10] Before Date came in to work on the album, the band had demoed three tracks, "A New Level", "Regular People (Conceit)" and "No Good (Attack the Radical)". [9] The rest of the songs were written in the studio with little preproduction and demoing. [9]

Terry Date is an American record producer and engineer, specializing in the rock genres, especially heavy metal. He is well known for his work with Overkill, Metal Church, Slipknot, Pantera, Soulfly, White Zombie, Deftones, Dark Angel, Dream Theater, Slayer, Soundgarden and Limp Bizkit.

<i>Far Beyond Driven</i> 1994 studio album by Pantera

Far Beyond Driven is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Pantera, released on March 22, 1994 by EastWest Records. Pantera's fastest-selling album, it peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album was also certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Far Beyond Driven is the first album by Pantera where the band's guitarist Darrell Abbott is credited as "Dimebag Darrell", having changed his nickname from "Diamond Darrell" soon after Vulgar Display of Power was released. The Japanese and the Driven Downunder Tour '94 Souvenir Collection editions contain a bonus thirteenth track, "The Badge", a Poison Idea cover. This cover was also featured on The Crow soundtrack.

<i>The Great Southern Trendkill</i> 1996 studio album by Pantera

The Great Southern Trendkill is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Pantera, released on May 7, 1996 by EastWest Records. It reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and managed to stay on the chart for 16 weeks. Due to tension and conflicts within the band, Phil Anselmo recorded the vocals alone at Trent Reznor's Nothing Studios in New Orleans while Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul recorded the music at Chasin Jason Studios in Dalworthington Gardens.

After being in the studio for two months, Pantera were invited to open for Metallica and AC/DC at the 1991 Monsters of Rock free concert in Moscow, Russia's [9] Tushino airfield on September 28, 1991. [11] [12] The band then returned to the studio to continue work on the album. [13] They travelled to New York City to master the album at Masterdisk. [14] Although guitarist Darrell Abbott was credited on the album with nickname "Diamond Darrell", during the recording of the album he had dropped that nickname and assumed "Dimebag Darrell", and bassist Rex Brown dropped the pseudonym "Rexx Rocker". [15]

AC/DC Australian hard rock band formed in Sydney in 1973

AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their music has been variously described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal; however, the band themselves describe their music as simply "rock and roll".

Moscow Capital of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Musical style and lyrics

Drummer Vinnie Paul said that Cowboys from Hell was really close to the "definitive Pantera sound". [16] When Metallica released their self titled album in 1991, Pantera considered it a letdown to fans because they believed Metallica abandoned the thrash metal sound heard in previous albums. [9] [16] Pantera felt they had an opportunity and a gap to fill; they wanted to make the heaviest record of all time. [9] [16]

Vinnie Paul American musician

Vincent Paul Abbott, also known as Vinnie Paul, was an American musician, songwriter and producer, best known for being the drummer and co-founder of the heavy metal band Pantera. He was a member of Hellyeah for 12 years from 2006 until his death in 2018. He also co-founded the heavy metal band Damageplan in 2003 with his younger brother, Dimebag Darrell.

<i>Metallica</i> (album) 1991 studio album by Metallica

Metallica is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on August 12, 1991, through Elektra Records. It was recorded in an eight-month span at One on One Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The recording of the album was troubled, however, and, during production, the band frequently came into conflict with their new producer Bob Rock. The album marked a change in the band's sound from the thrash metal style of the previous four albums to a slower and heavier one rooted in heavy metal. Metallica promoted the album with a series of tours. They also released five singles to promote the album; "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven", "Nothing Else Matters", "Wherever I May Roam", and "Sad but True", all of which have been considered to be among the band's best-known songs. The song "Don't Tread on Me" was also issued to rock radio shortly after the album's release but did not receive a commercial single release.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

The riff for "Walk" is played in a time signature of 12/8. [17] Darrell had played the riff during a soundcheck while Pantera was touring for Cowboys from Hell and the rest of the band loved it. [17] Following this tour, the band returned home and found that some friends thought that rock stardom had gone to their heads. [17] The lyrics for the song were inspired from these people's attitude toward the band; Anselmo's message to them was, "Take your fucking attitude and take a fuckin' walk with that. Keep that shit away from me." [17]

Walk (Pantera song) song by Pantera

"Walk" is a song by American heavy metal band Pantera from their sixth album Vulgar Display of Power. A live performance of "Walk" is included on Official Live: 101 Proof, and the studio version is also on the band's greatest hits album, The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits!.

The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats (pulses) are contained in each measure (bar), and which note value is equivalent to a beat.


A soundcheck is the preparation that takes place before a concert, speech, or similar performance, when the performer and the sound crew run through a small portion of the upcoming show on the venue's sound reinforcement system or PA system to make sure that the sound in the venue's front of house and stage monitor sound systems are producing clear sound that is at the right volume and which has the correct mix and tonal balance.

Title and artwork

The title of the album is taken from a line in the 1973 film, The Exorcist . [14] [18] In April 2007, the title was used for the book A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa, which includes many Pantera song titles as chapter headings. [19] [20] The book details the incidents leading up to the murder of Dimebag Darrell. [19] [20]

The album's cover is a photo of a man being punched in the face and was shot by photographer Brad Guice, who also shot the photo for the Cowboys from Hell cover. [14] The band told their label that they wanted "something vulgar, like a dude getting punched". [14] The first version of the cover that the label brought to the band showed a boxer with a punching glove, but the band did not like it, so the label produced a second version, with the bare fist. [14] According to Vinnie Paul, the man on the cover was paid $10 a punch and was hit in the face 31 [21] times to get the right picture. [14] However, Brad Guice stated that the man, who was named Sean Cross, was never actually hit. [14]


Vulgar Display of Power was released on February 25, [22] 1992. [10] The original album spawned four singles. "Mouth for War", "This Love" and "Hollow" were released in 1992. In 1993, the band released the fourth single, titled "Walk", along with a number of EP's featuring remixes of the song. In 1993, the Walk EP was released in Japan, but on May 16, 2012, the EP was made available to purchase digitally in the United States for the first time. [23] The band also released music videos for "Mouth for War", "This Love" and "Walk", they were included on Vulgar Video and 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell. The music video for "Walk" was shot at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, where the band played the song multiple times to capture live video footage in front of fans. [17]

On April 12, 2012, the unheard song "Piss" was released. [24] [25] It was recorded during the sessions for the album but never featured on the original album. [25] The music video for "Piss" debuted at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, on April 11, 2012. [25] The main riff from "Piss" was used in the song "Use My Third Arm" on the band's following record Far Beyond Driven. [26]

Tour and media appearances

To promote the album, Pantera toured with Skid Row and Soundgarden giving them the opportunity to perform in front of a mainstream audience in the United States. [27] After touring with Skid Row the band did a European tour with Megadeth. [28] The band also toured with White Zombie in 1992. [28] The unique sound and the band's explosive live performances helped them gain more popularity. [29]

The music videos for singles from the album were played in relatively heavy rotation on MTV. [29] Also during the 1990s, MTV's Headbangers Ball used excerpts from the album's songs for the show's opening theme, bumpers, and closing theme. [30] "Walk" and "Mouth for War" are available as downloadable tracks for the video game Rock Band 3 . [31] [32] "Walk" was also featured on Madden NFL 10 , CSI: NY and Monday Night Football . [17] [33]

"By Demons Be Driven" appears in the 2015 Academy Award-nominated film The Big Short : actor Christian Bale is seen performing along to the song on drums, which he learned for that one scene. [34]

20th anniversary reissue

On May 15, 2012, a two-disc deluxe edition of Vulgar Display of Power was released to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. [35] Disc one is a remastered version of the original album along with the song "Piss". [35] Disc two is a DVD featuring six songs from Pantera's set at their 1992 Monsters of Rock performance in Reggio Emilia, Italy. [35] Disc two also contains the three music videos for "Mouth for War", "Walk" and "This Love". [35] Vinnie Paul said that "Piss" was "the only undiscovered complete Pantera track there ever was" and it would appear on the 20th anniversary release. [36] He also said that at the time of the original release, the band thought that it didn't feel right to go on the record. [36]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [37]
The Austin Chronicle Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [38]
Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles 9.5/10 [39]
Entertainment Weekly A [40]
Kerrang! Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [41]
The Phoenix Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [42] [ dead link ]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [43]
Record Collector Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [44]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [45]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5 [46]

Vulgar Display of Power received critical acclaim upon release. Many critics have praised Darrell's guitar work on the album and use of heavy riffs to set the tone for the album. [37] [40] [42] [47] Reviewers also pointed out the change in Anselmo's vocals from previous releases, with him using deeper growls and powerful vocals to accompany the catchy riffs and aggressive lyrics. [37] [42] [47]

Kerrang! and Sputnikmusic both gave the album 4 out of 5. [41] [46] Steve Huey of AllMusic rated the album 4.5 out of 5 stars, describing it as "One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s". [37] He also said that while the album stacks the best songs at the beginning, the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting than those used in Cowboys from Hell. [37] Janiss Garza writing for Entertainment Weekly said that it was "one of the most satisfying heavy metal records since Metallica's early-80s cult days". [40] She also praised the album's two ballad tracks "This Love" and "Hollow", stating "their tough edge slashes painfully through deep introspection about personal relationships". [40]

Reviewing the 20th Anniversary reissue, Michael Christopher of The Phoenix rated the album 3.5 out of 4 stars stating while the bonus track "Piss" doesn't match up to the rest of the material, the groove that flows through the original record is the muscle behind what mattered most. [42] Denise Falzon of Exclaim! stated that the reissue sounds a little cleaner from the enhanced production quality. [47] She noted that "Piss" does sound oddly out of place on the reissue, but the release is worthwhile for the DVD showcasing the band's dynamic live performance. [47] In 2005, Vulgar Display of Power was ranked number 333 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. [48]

Commercial performance

Vulgar Display of Power peaked at number 44 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spent a total of 79 weeks on the chart, the most weeks any Pantera album spent on the chart. [49] The album also peaked at number 64 on the UK Albums Chart, [50] number 69 on the German Chart, [51] and number 54 on the Oricon Chart. [52] The album has since gone on to become Pantera's best selling album, attaining many certifications since its release including double platinum status in the United States. [53] The album achieved gold status in Canada, in August 1993 and has achieved gold status in the UK. [54] [55] The album has also achieved a platinum certification in Australia. [56] In the week ending May 20, 2012, the album re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 48, taking the total sales to 2,177,000 copies. [57] This was due to release of the 20th Anniversary reissue which sold over 9000 copies in the U.S. during its first week. [58]

The album's lead single, "Mouth for War", became the band's first song to ever chart, debuting in October 1992 on the UK Singles Chart and managing to peak at number 73. [50] The album's fourth single "Walk" gave the band their first top 40 UK hit when it peaked at number 35 in early 1993. [50]

Legacy and accolades

Vulgar Display of Power has been listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . [59] Chad Bowar of ranked the album at number one in his list of the "Best Heavy Metal Albums of 1992" stating that "Pantera was head and shoulders above the rest of the field.". [60] He also ranked the album second in the "Best Heavy Metal Albums Of The 1990s" list behind Megadeth's Rust in Peace (1990). [61] In October 2011, the album was ranked number four on Guitar World magazine's list of "The Top 10 Guitar Albums of 1992". [62] The album was ranked number one on Loudwire's "Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1990s" and their "Top 10 Albums of 1992" and the song "Walk" was ranked number seven in their "10 Catchiest Metal Songs". [4] [63] [64] Loudwire also listed four of the album's songs in their list of the "10 Best Pantera songs", they placed "This Love" in seventh, "Mouth for War" in fifth, "Fucking Hostile" in third and "Walk" in first. [65] IGN named Vulgar Display of Power the eleventh most influential heavy metal album ever on their list of the "Top 25 Metal Albums". [66] They said about the album:

"This album makes the list because it took heavy metal and made it heavier. It took darkness and made it darker. It took anger and made it angrier. Never before had a band tuned down its guitars and crunched a heavier riff than on this album. "Mouth for War" and "A New Level" and "No Good (Attack the Radical)" stand out on an album where every track is a classic track. Dimebag Darrell was an innovator and a true godsend for heavy metal. One of the most underrated players in the genre. And this may sound corny, but the way the band was able to turn seemingly negative aspects of the genre – hate, anger, violence and despair – into positive thoughts is somewhat akin to De La Soul dropping a positive message into rap." [66]

In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Vulgar Display of Power as 10th on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.' [67]

The song "Walk" has been covered by a number of bands and artists, most notably, Avenged Sevenfold recorded a cover version of the song which featured on their live album Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough (2008). [17] [68]

Track listing

All tracks written by Pantera (Phil Anselmo, Diamond Darrell, Rex Brown, Vinnie Paul).

1."Mouth for War"3:57
2."A New Level"3:57
4."Fucking Hostile"2:48
5."This Love"6:32
7."No Good (Attack the Radical)"4:49
8."Live in a Hole"5:00
9."Regular People (Conceit)"5:27
10."By Demons Be Driven"4:40
Total length:52:48





Chart (1992)Peak
UK Album Charts 64 [50]
U.S. Billboard 200 44 [49]
Chart (1993)Peak
German Albums Chart 69 [51]
Chart (1994)Peak
Australian Albums Chart 56 [69]
Chart (1997)Peak
Japan Oricon Chart54 [52]
Chart (2012)Peak
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)196 [70]


RegionCertificationDateSales certified
U.S. (RIAA)Gold [53] February 9, 1993500,000
U.S. (RIAA)Platinum [53] November 7, 19971,000,000
U.S. (RIAA)2× Platinum [53] July 7, 20042,000,000
Canada (Music Canada)Gold [54] August 24, 199350,000
UK (BPI)Gold [55] November 18, 2004100,000
Australia (ARIA)Platinum [56] 70,000

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