Pantera: Philip Anselmo (vocals); Diamond Darrell (guitar); Rex (bass); Vinnie Paul (drums).
Recorded at Pantego Sound Studio, Pantego, Texas.
With a rougher image and a more focused, aggressive sound than in their hairspray and spandex days on an independent label, Texas natives Pantera made a serious dent in the heavy music scene with the major label release of COWBOYS FROM HELL, which inspired radio play and MTV support. While Metallica and Megadeth were watering down their approach for a more mainstream sound, Pantera got harder with VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER.
From the moment vocalist Phil Anselmo screams his first "Revenge!" in "Mouth for War," the stage is set. Drummer Vinnie Paul showcases relentless technical prowess thrashing out complex double-bass drum patterns in "A New Level" and "By Demons be Driven," while guitarist Diamond Darrell's seemingly endless supply of hard-grooving, blues-inspired hooks are the heart of "No Good" and "Live in a Hole." In the emotional power-ballad "Hollow," the song's protagonist faces the heartache of having a friend trapped in a coma; and just as in the epic "Cemetery Gates" from COWBOYS FROM HELL, Anselmo continues to struggle with the consequences of fate and the will of the world.
Spin (p.90) - "Blow after blow, the band create indelible lines; in between, they play all kinds of bluesy twists and polyrhythms..."
Entertainment Weekly (3/6/92, p.59) - "..one of the most satisfying heavy metal records since Metallica's early-80s cult days...11 caustic songs of unabashed brute force...a fully realized album that goes way beyond metal's usual crunch-and-burn.." - Rating: A
Q (7/01, p.90) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time" - "...Pantera's new, heavier direction...was succinctly summed up by 'A New Level's sludge-thick chorus and the neck-snapping riffage of bile-flecked hate anthem 'F***ing Hostile'..."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.52) - "[T]hese songs have groove, a quality not known to many metal acts of the era."
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t still stands out for its sheer ferocity....Philip Anselmo's barked vocals are perfectly complemented by guitarist Diamond Darrell's virtuoso soloing..."