The Angry Scotsman
Pantera's Magnum Opus
Pantera is a band that is hit or miss for me. The "hits" are superb but the "misses" are boring, if not outright bad. However, this is largely avoided on "Vulgar Display of Power". It is Pantera's strongest effort and the crown jewel of Groove Metal. Not sure exactly what that is? No problem, you won't have to wait very long to find out. It kicks in from the very start!
Mouth for War starts with a thundering drum beat, a heavy, groovy riff and continues along at a nice mid tempo pace. Then come in Phil's vocals, being belted out punk intensity. Throw in a Dimebag solo, (a bit melodic and a bit shred!) and end on a thrashy note.
A New Level. Begins with a heavy, spidery riff before kicking into a minimalist thrashy riff. It alternates between these two, again being pushed by Phil's vocals. Some of Vinnie Paul's better drumming. Classic Dime solo, lots of wah and shred!
Walk. Possibly their most famous song, it really does deserve its praise. Built around the songs famous riff, (which really does have a walking feel to it) it's fairly straightforward, but effective. Awesome solo with really sweet bass rhythm under it.
F*cking Hostile. Exactly what the name says, intense thrash! Greatest ending to a song ever!
This Love. A very intriguing song. A heavy metal ballad done only how Pantera could. Melodic and nice, but still has some pockets of extreme intensity though, and some great riffing.
Rise. Very thrashy song, also displays one of the best riffs on the album. Heavy and staccato, it is the quintessential alt metal riff. A lot of thrash and a great solo, yet again with awesome bass backing it up.
No Good (Attack the Radical). Interesting song. Slower, with an interesting this is a really cool song, and the deep talking parts over bass and drums is just awesome. Amazing solo, in my opinion one of the unknown gems by Dimebag. The lyrics, dealing with Phil's views on racism, are also quite interesting.
Live in a Hole. Another slower song with an unusual structure, this has some of the best music by each instrument on the album.
Regular People (Conceit). Really cool song, but a bit samey and uninspired. Though it does have an interesting section after the solo.
By Demons Be Driven. Slower, with heavy, machine gun bursts of riffing this song is good but drags on. Backing vocals are quite good though.
Hollow. Really good song, though reminiscent of "This Love" it's a bit more traditional heavy metal ballad, but still with some heavy and intriguing heavy/clean guitar harmonies.
The definitive work for groove metal, this album is built around Dimebag's riffing, Vinnie Paul's drumming and is pushed along by Phil's intense vocals. The bass is sadly absent, except for rhythm under the solos sometimes. The riffing is heavy, groovy and often staccato but sometimes technical and off the wall. Vinnie's drumming is some of my favorite, more musical then virtuoso. He just lays down some great beats, and his use of double bass in the beats, (instead of in walls) is awesome, and does make the occasional use of double bass feel even more intense. Phil's vocals are essential to the album. More then just screaming, you can feel real emotion behind them. Oh, and lets not forget some epic shred solos!
The songs may be a tad samey, and the album does fall off a bit at the end, (though finishes on a strong note) this is a great album. To the nu metal bands that may have spawned from this, all I have to say is WALK ON HOME BOY!
This is groovy mid tempo thrash at its finest!
Four and a Half Stars