Twenty years ago a court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sentenced serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to life in prison. The same year Bill Clinton was voted to office while Nirvana was in constant rotation on MTV. It was the year Whitney Houston broke records at the box office with her acting skills with The Bodyguard. Jay Leno officially replaced Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. Somewhere in all of the greatness of 1992 Pantera released its sixth studio album, Vulgar Display of Power. The title of the album came from a phrase in The Exorcist.
The album’s art cover displayed a fist being implanted in a face at a slow speed to display the impact. It was a scary title emblazoned across an album cover equipped with the Tipper Gore supported Parental Advisory sticker. The music was a whole new monster, giving birth to the sub-genre Groove Metal, and quickly became an influential album for many. This was the record where the Cowboys From Hell really came into their own. It was the last album that the now deceased Dime Bag Darrell would use the moniker Diamond Darrell. His guitar work on this album influenced a whole new legion of kids to pick up a guitar and learn this smash mouth style. Lead singer Phillip Anselmo, scary guy looks coupled with his attacking style of in your face, no limit vocals really made this something special. MTV would use Anselmo’s vocals screaming “Hostile” during its original Head Bangers Ball show with Riki Rachtman.
Tracks such as “Mouth for War,” “This Love,” “Walk” and “Fucking Hostile” are some of the heaviest riffs since the days of the mighty Black Sabbath. The album was a huge shift in the way metal music was sold to the public. While Ugly Kid Joe was the safe metal that was playing on the airwaves this album was a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drained its listeners and pounded them into submission. The album has now become one of the most influential records in the entire Metal genre. It embraces the southern culture lifestyle while staying true to its pure metal roots. Now, twenty years later, things have changed. Dime Bag Darrell was brutally shot on stage, 9/11 rattled the USA, and Charles Manson was denied parole once again.
The album has paved the way for such acts as Tool, Assjack, and Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies. The raw, brutal, testosterone fueled Sabbath riffs and the Mike Tyson in his prime head punch like vocals have stood the test of time. The album is now officially timeless.
Happy Birthday Vulgar Display of Power!
~ Jason Robinson
Jason Wallace Robinson hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s a writer, storyteller, philosopher, single father raising two children, music lover, dreamer, joker. He writes to speak for the Common Man. He enjoys football and driving around in his ’96 Chevy Lumina adorned with an American Flag and decorative bird offerings.
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