Vulgar Display of Power: The Album That Rocked the 90s

Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power” was released in 1992, receiving high acclaim and eventually achieving double platinum status​.

The Emergence of a Metal Masterpiece

Born out of a desire to push the boundaries of the heavy metal genre, Pantera’s seminal album, “Vulgar Display of Power”, rocked the music scene to its core. Produced by the renowned Terry Date, known for his work in the rock and metal genres, this album marked the band’s second collaboration with him following their breakthrough album, “Cowboys from Hell”. The synergy between Pantera and Date was palpable, creating a sonic landscape that would revolutionize the genre.

Riding High on Critical Acclaim

Not only did “Vulgar Display of Power” resonate with fans, but it also garnered widespread critical acclaim. It quickly became Pantera’s highest-selling album and ultimately achieved double platinum status. To this day, it remains a paragon of 90s heavy metal, influencing countless bands and shaping the genre as we know it today.

Evolution of Pantera’s Sound

Pantera’s musical journey is one of evolution and reinvention. Their previous album, “Cowboys from Hell”, marked a significant change in their musical direction. Echoing the raw power of bands like Slayer, Metallica, and Black Sabbath, “Cowboys from Hell” was described by drummer Vinnie Paul as inching closer to the “definitive Pantera sound”.

Metallica’s Letdown and the Birth of a Vision

However, when Metallica released their self-titled album in 1991, Pantera felt it was a letdown. They believed Metallica had abandoned the thrash metal sound that had once defined them, leaving fans high and dry. This led Pantera to set their sights on a bold, audacious goal: to create “the heaviest record of all time” with “Vulgar Display of Power”.

The Genesis of the Album

The process of bringing “Vulgar Display of Power” to life began in earnest at Pantego Sound Studio in 1991. Before Terry Date joined them in the studio, the band had already demoed three tracks: “A New Level”, “Regular People (Conceit)”, and “No Good (Attack the Radical)”. The remaining songs were crafted in the studio, with little preproduction and demoing, proving that sometimes, the best ideas come in the heat of the moment.

Striving for the Perfect Sound

Pantera’s commitment to their craft was unwavering. Living near the studio during the recording process, they threw themselves into the work, intensely focused on getting the sound and tones just right. They wanted their heavy metal to sound like a relentless machine, striving to achieve an “abrasive saw” sound that would set the stage for their album.

The Band’s Wild Side

But the recording process wasn’t all work and no play. Known for their love of partying, Pantera ensured they had their fair share of fun. One memorable story involves them damaging producer Terry Date’s rental car during a late-night game they dubbed “Chicken Brake”. It was a testament to their wild side, reminding us all that while they were incredibly talented musicians, they were also a group of friends who knew how to have a good time​.

The Birth of “Walk”

One of the standout tracks on the album, “Walk”, was created during a soundcheck while Pantera was touring for “Cowboys from Hell”. It’s a prime example of the band’s innovative spirit, with a distinctive riff played in a 12/8 time signature. The lyrics for the song were inspired by some friends who thought that the band’s rising fame had gone to their heads. It serves as a powerful reminder that no matter how high you rise, you should always keep your feet firmly on the ground​.

This is the story of “Vulgar Display of Power”, an album that came to define a genre and a generation. It’s the story of a band that dared to push the boundaries of what was possible, creating a sound that was uniquely their own. Whether you’re a lifelong Pantera fan or a newcomer to the genre, this album is an essential part of any heavy metal collection.