Monday, 8 December 2014

Pantera "Vulgar Display Of Power" (1992)

Today is a sad day. The 8th of December marks the 10 years its been since the death of Dimebag Darell, one of Metals greatest guitarists, known for his sonic lead guitar solos and tight groove rhythms as well as being a all round nice guy and drinking machine. He played lead guitar in Pantera, the group that prevailed Metal through the 90s in the absence of Metallica and rise of Alternative and Grunge. His death was tragic, the events of that day in 2004 shook the Metal community hard, and this day, or more so his music, has since been celebrated by metalheads around the world. It seemed fitting today to write about "Vulgar Display Of Power", Pantera's "second" album and the peak of their commercial success and a massively influential album on the next generation of Metal.

Having reformed their sound with the previous album "Cowboys From Hell", Pantera define what their about on this record, ditching the high pitch vocal leads and focusing more on tight grooves, Pantera create a powerful, violent metalic sound with crushing rhythms to pound your fist and bang your head too. Anselmo backs the attitude of this strong, aggressive sound with his Hardcore like lyrics of self empowerment and mental strength, his voice is powerful and angry, he screams with a balance that makes him audible and understandable. He's a character, one some consider one of metals greatest of vocalists, but for me he brings an undeniable energy when coupled with the instrumental sound of Pantera, one thats not there in other projects of his.

Taking the forefront of attention in Pantera's music is Dimebag's guitar presence, boasting a dense, thick crushing guitar tone, he bangs out endless tight rhythmic grooves song after song. There performed to perfection, continually energetic and enthralling, getting stuck in your mind. Dimebag has a great understanding of both simplicity and complexity, understanding the relation between the two and how to execute them with attitude. For example "A New Level", a simple, effective chord progression that any beginner could learn to play, the song then shifts gear into a tight picking rhythm, upping the anti. "No Good" demonstrates Dimebags technical riffing, something more frequent of other records. The most important factor in Dimebags rhythm guitar is his musical relationship with his brother Vinnie. Often overlooked, Vinnie's machine like drumming is crucial in Dimebags grooves, providing narrative and often emphasizing the harder hitting moments in his riffage. Vinnie's beats are not like regular Metal drummers, and playing Dime's riffs to regular drum patterns will demonstrate this clearly. Drummers are often overlooked for their contribution, their flair can be limited by the objective of their position, as opposed to the wide range of sounds a guitarist can produce. When it comes to Dimebag's tight Rhythmic grooves the importance of Vinnie is often overlooked.

When it comes to Dime's lead guitar there is no competition. This man accelerates into his own universe when hes shreds, leaving everyone behind. His leads are colorful, imaginative and mind bending, always executed with impeccable precision, even when performing when heavily intoxicated. Across Pantera's discography, his solos are widely varied, imaginative and inspiring. There captivating and something you need to hear for yourself to understand. Vulgar Display Of Power is a full on record, its spruced up by two gentler melodic tracks "This Love" & "Hollow" that demonstrate the groups genuine musical talent. It's a break in pace but doesn't stir up what is a straight forward execution of pummeling aggression from start to end. Its a great sounding record, the guitars and drums are captured dynamically. The kit sound fantastic in the mix, every kick, snare and cymbal punching in with reverb, and without clashing with the guitar. The bass is a touch tame, just backing the guitar throughout. Classic record, one to get will get you pumped up and full of energy, great for running or lifting. RIP Dimebag. I Can't believe its been ten years... Thank you for the music.

Favorite Tracks: Walk, Fucking Hostile, This Love, No Good, Hollow
Rating: 9/10