Of all the major landmark metal releases the last 25 years or so, which ones do you consider the most iconic? Machine Head’s debut album? Maybe a Strapping Young Lad record or three? Between the Buried and Me? The choices are endless. You’d have to consider Pantera’s 1992 opus, Vulgar Display Of Power, for a spot near the top of that list. It takes everything great about their “debut” Cowboys From Hell and amplifies it. It’s a powerful groove metal album that, for a minute, made Pantera perhaps the biggest metal band of the early to mid ’90s.
All the iconic Pantera tracks are here – career highlight “Walk”, the emotional ballads in “Hollow” and “This Love”, the riff-stacking and buildup of “A New Level”, and the metalcore stomp of “Fucking Hostile”. Vocalist Phil Anselmo was never better than on this album, and the band never better as a unit. You can argue CFH and Far Beyond Driven being better records, perhaps (FBD did hit #1 on the charts), but none are more influential and few albums of this period hit as hard as Vulgar Display Of Power did upon release. It’s arguably one of the albums that killed off hair metal as a viable genre staple.
Stream the album below and revisit it. It’s still a MONSTER, even 25 years after its release.