Back in the mid-nineties, as I’ve written before, I was an unashamed metalhead, moving from pop and hip-hop music in the early nineties into the biggest heavy acts of the time – Metallica, Slayer, Rage Against The Machine, and Pantera, whose pièce de résistance Vulgar Dislay Of Power turns 30 years old this week.
I actually didn’t get into Pantera until later, after they’d released follow-up Far Beyond Driven. Like most metal I heard, I think I probably was introduced by best friend Dave, and we thrashed the albums constantly – and watched a series of accompanying home videos – in this case, Vulgar Video – constantly as well.
Pantera were tough, take-no-shit guys who (judging from the video tapes) also appeared to be super funny and super drunk. In other words, perfect role models for a pair of nerdy teenage boys. We wore black jeans like them, along with black t-shirts, and drove around listening to their music up loud, decrying the fact that the general public had no idea what good music was.
Vulgar Display Of Power is my favourite album of theirs, and I think probably agreed to be their best. The group seemed to be in peak form, balancing the thrash metal rhythm section and the exemplary groove metal work of Dimebag Darrell, a veritable (and gone too soon) guitar genius, and benefitting from the best work of singer Phil Anselmo’s career. My favourite here is late album track “Regular People (Conceit)”, a heavy rocker with some incredibly fast guitar and drum work.
It’s become kind of icky to listen to Pantera in more recent years – Anselmo has been accused of racism, the group had some intense substance abuse issues, and the premature deaths of the real talent in the group, brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, certainly cast a pall. But I enjoyed listening back to this one. Now to find my old band t-shirts.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.