Vulgar Display of Power
Vulgar Display of Power
Album info
ReleaseFebruary 10, 1992
Recorded1991 at Pantego Sound Studio, Pantego, Texas
GenreGroove metal
ProducerTerry Date, Vinnie Paul

Vulgar Display of Power is the sixth studio album by American groove metal band Pantera, released on February 10, 1992 through Atco Records. One of the most influential metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power has been described as "one of the defining albums of the groove-metal genre".[1] Several songs from this release have become some of the band's best known, such as "Mouth for War", "This Love", and "Walk".


During the 1980s, Pantera released four albums under their own Metal Magic label.[2][3] Their first three albums, featuring vocalist Terry Glaze, were glam metal records heavily influenced by bands such as Van Halen and Kiss.[2][4] Having dropped Terry Glaze and welcoming vocalist Phil Anselmo in 1987, Pantera moved away from the glam-inspired music with their fourth studio album, Power Metal (1988).[4] In 1989, the band signed with Atlantic Records' subsidiary label, Atco Records, having impressed Atco representative Mark Ross.[3] The band began work on their major label debut at Pantego Sound Studio in Pantego, Texas, and in the following year they released Cowboys from Hell (1990).[3] The album was a key turning point for Pantera, demonstrating a change in the band's musical direction, which was focused on bands such as Slayer, Metallica and Black Sabbath.[2][5] After the release of Cowboys from Hell, the band toured with Judas Priest, Exodus, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies and Prong.[6]

Recording and productionEdit

In 1991, Pantera returned to Pantego Sound Studio to record their second release under Atco, titled Vulgar Display of Power.[6][7] The album was produced by Terry Date who specializes in the rock and metal genres, he had previously worked with the band on Cowboys from Hell and went on to produce the band's following two albums, Far Beyond Driven (1994) and The Great Southern Trendkill (1996).[6][7] Before Terry Date came in to work on the album, the band had demoed three tracks, "A New Level", "Regular People (Conceit)" and "No Good (Attack the Radical)".[6] The rest of the songs were written in the studio with little preproduction and demoing.[6]

After being in the studio for two months, Pantera were invited to open for Metallica and AC/DC at the 1991 Monsters of Rock music concert in Moscow, Russia.[6] The concert was free and took place at Tushino airfield on September 28, 1991.[8][9] Behind the scenes footage from the show was featured on the band's home video release, titled Vulgar Video (1993).[10] This was also included on the DVD release 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell (1999) along with the concert recordings of "Cowboys From Hell", "Psycho Holiday" and "Primal Concrete Sledge".[11][12] Following the show, the band returned to the studio to continue work on the album.[13] The band travelled to New York City to master the album at Masterdisk.[14] Although guitarist Darrell Abbott was credited on the album with nickname "Diamond Darrell", during the recording of the album he had dropped that nickname and assumed "Dimebag Darrell", and bassist Rex Brown dropped the pseudonym "Rexx Rocker".[15]

Musical style and lyricsEdit

Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul said that Cowboys from Hell was really close to the "definitive Pantera sound".[16] In 1991, Metallica released their self titled album, Pantera considered it a let down to fans because Metallica abandoned the thrash metal sound heard in previous albums.[6][16] Pantera felt they had an opportunity and a gap to fill, they wanted to make the heaviest record of all time.[6][16]

The riff for the song "Walk" is played in a time signature of 12/8.[17] Darrell had played the riff during a soundcheck while Pantera was touring for Cowboys from Hell and the rest of the band loved it.[17] Following this tour, the band returned home and found that some friends thought that rock stardom had gone to their heads.[17] The lyrics for the song were inspired from these people's attitude towards the band and Anselmo's message to them was "Take your fucking attitude and take a fuckin' walk with that. Keep that shit away from me.".[17]

Album title and artworkEdit

The title of the album is taken from a line in the 1973 film, The Exorcist.[14] When Father Damien Karras asks Regan MacNeil (or the demon who possesses her) to break her own straps and release herself using her evil power, Regan replies "that's much too vulgar a display of power.".[14][18] In April 2007, the title was used for the book A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa, which includes many Pantera song titles as chapter headings.[19][20] The book details those involved and the details leading up to the murder of Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott.[19][20]

The album's cover is a now iconic photo of a man being punched in the face. The photo for the album cover was shot by photographer Brad Guice, he also shot the photo for the Cowboys from Hell cover.[14] The band told their label that they wanted "something vulgar, like a dude getting punched".[14] The first version of the cover that the label brought to the band showed a boxer with a punching glove, but the band did not like it so the label did a second version showing a man being punched.[14] According to Vinnie Paul, the man on the cover was paid $10 a punch and was hit in the face 30 times to get the right picture.[14] Brad Guice stated that the man on the cover, who was named Sean Cross, was never actually hit.[14]


Vulgar Display of Power was released on February 10, 1992.[7] The original album spawned four singles. "Mouth for War", "This Love" and "Hollow" were released in 1992.[21] In 1993, the band released the fourth single, titled "Walk", along with a number of EP's featuring remixes of the song.[21] In 1993, the Walk EP was released in Japan, but on May 16, 2012, the EP was made available to purchase digitally in the United States for the first time.[22] The band also released music videos for "Mouth for War", "This Love" and "Walk", they were included on Vulgar Video and 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell.[10][11] The music video for "Walk" was shot at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, where the band played the song multiple times to capture live video footage in front of fans.[17]

On April 12, 2012, the unheard song "Piss" was released.[23][24] It was recorded during the sessions for the album but never featured on the original album.[24] The music video for "Piss" debuted at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, on April 11, 2012.[24] The main riff from "Piss" was used in the song "Use My Third Arm" on the band's following record Far Beyond Driven.[25]

Tour and media appearancesEdit

To promote the album Pantera toured with Skid Row and Soundgarden giving them the opportunity to perform in front of a mainstream audience in the United States.[26] After touring with Skid Row the band did a European tour with Megadeth.[27] The band also toured with White Zombie in 1992.[27] The unique sound and the band's explosive live performances helped them gain more popularity.[28]

The music videos for singles from the album were played in relatively heavy rotation on MTV.[28] Also during the 1990s, MTV's Headbangers Ball used excerpts from the album's songs for the show's opening theme, bumpers, and closing theme.[29] "Walk" and "Mouth for War" are available as downloadable tracks for the video game Rock Band 3.[30][31] "Walk" was also featured on Madden NFL 10, CSI: NY and Monday Night Football.[17][32]

20th anniversary reissueEdit

On May 15, 2012, a two-disc deluxe edition of Vulgar Display of Power was released to celebrate its 20th Anniversary.[33] Disc one is a remastered version of the original album along with the song "Piss".[33] Disc two is a DVD featuring six songs from Pantera's set at their 1992 Monsters of Rock performance in Reggio Emilia, Italy.[33] Disc two also contains the three music videos for "Mouth for War", "Walk" and "This Love".[33] Vinnie Paul said that "Piss" was "the only undiscovered complete Pantera track there ever was" and it would appear on the 20th anniversary release.[34] He also said that at the time of the original release, the band thought that it didn't feel right to go on the record.[34]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Pantera.

# Track title Length
1. "Mouth for War" 3:56
2. "A New Level" 3:57
3. "Walk" 5:15
4. "Fucking Hostile" 2:49
5. "This Love" 6:32
6. "Rise" 4:36
7. "No Good (Attack the Radical)" 4:50
8. "Live in a Hole" 4:59
9. "Regular People (Conceit)" 5:27
10. "By Demons Be Driven" 4:39
11. "Hollow" 5:45
20th anniversary edition bonus track
# Track title Length
12. "Piss" 5:07


Technical personnel
  • Terry Date – engineering, mixing, production
  • Vinnie Paul – engineering, mixing, production
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering
  • Doug Sax – vinyl mastering
  • Brad Guice – photography
  • Joe Giron – photography
  • Bob Defrin – artwork
  • Larry Freemantle – design


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