Vulgar Display of Power [20th Anniversary Edition]
Rhino - out now
THERE are certain albums which evoke the sense of an era so vividly that they come to define it. For hard rock and metal fans Pantera's juggernaut 'Vulgar…' is one such album.
Bands like Pearl Jam, Motorhead, Nirvana and Metallica can be heard buried beneath this band's much more extreme take on the genre - the intro to 'This Love' could easily blend into Metallica's 'Enter Sandman', Nirvana's 'Come As You Are' or ‘Heart-Shaped Box’, the mid-section could break off into Pearl Jam’s ‘Even Flow’ while the uncanny sound of Lemmy seems to come through Pantera's 'Rise'.
The sounds Pantera make are the same your favourite bands produced, but on a really really good day.
What a relief that Pantera did make their mark. Reading the liner notes reiterates that metal had reached its nadir, Metallica had sold out and gone soft, the whole scene was in a state of stagnation if not serious decline.
20 years later and the likes of 'A New Level' and the long-slung bassline swagger of 'Walk' sound just as powerful as they must have done then, busting through the bloated music marketplace with simplicity, anger and determination. In the liner notes Philip Anselmo describes how he wanted to create the musical equivalent of the fearsome presence of Mike Tyson, and the likes of 'F***ing Hostile' do that. With its visceral almost live sound you can't help but visualise the sweat and intensity of the mosh pit and Circle of Death. It is particularly refreshing to return to this album in 2012; as the rock genre appears to be waning in favour of electronic music, the likes of Pantera make a welcome change, or should I say, resurgence.
Of course for thousands of people this band never went away and for fans who may already have the original, the remastered edition comes with a DVD featuring unreleased live video from the 1992 Monsters of Rock concert (the precursor to Download Festival) in Italy, three music videos and a previously 'lost' track whose title is rather rude and cannot be mentioned here.