Friday, September 28, 2012

Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power - 20th Anniversary Edition

Pantera
Vulgar Display Of Power - 20th Anniversary Edition
Rhino Entertainment Company/Warner Music Australia

Following on from the overwhelming success of the remastered/expanded twentieth anniversary re-release of ‘Cowboys From Hell’ a couple of years ago, Pantera (Alongside their label Rhino Entertainment Company) have again decided to take a step back in time and give another one of their album’s a much needed makeover in deluxe form. Not surprisingly, 2012 marks the twentieth anniversary of the group’s sixth full-length effort ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’, which makes it the perfect release to be given a complete revamp.
Originally released in 1992 (On Atco Records/Atlantic Records), ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ saw Pantera build upon the power groove based metallic sound that was evident on their former release, but with a greater level of aggression, venom and confidence that was previously only hinted at (Especially on the vocal front, where Phil Anselmo all but abandoned his high/clean voice). Given the general lack of heaviness and rawness from most metal releases at the time, fans firmly embraced the band’s newest release, which in turn saw the release quickly become one of Pantera’s biggest selling albums – propelling them into elite status.
Anyone who’s heard or followed Pantera over the years will no doubt be familiar with ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’, or at the very least the numerous singles lifted from the album throughout 1992 – 1993 (‘Mouth For War’, ‘Hollow’, ‘This Love’, ‘Fucking Hostile’ and ‘Walk’). So for the benefit of this review, I’ll bypass putting my personal thoughts down on the album itself (It’s a good album, but not one of my all time favourite Pantera releases), and instead focus on the extras included on this reissue
One of the most talked about extras on this reissued version of ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ is without a doubt ‘Piss’. The previous unreleased track was recorded during the album sessions, and according to bassist Rex Brown, was cut from the album primarily because the album didn’t seem to need it. And it was a good decision too, as ‘Piss’ isn’t really one of Pantera’s stronger efforts. Although far from terrible, Anselmo’s lyrics are a little overbearing in the macho stakes, while the overall riff structures, tempos and performance within the song come across as somewhat mundane and repetitive. As a bonus track, its inclusion here is justified. But had it made it onto ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’, ‘Piss’ would have easily stood out as the album’s weakest effort. Personally, I prefer ‘Use My Third Arm’ (Which featured on the band’s follow-up effort ‘Far Beyond Driven’ from 1994), where the band recycled the riff into a completely new and far superior tune.
Apart from the bonus audio track, this re-release also comes with a bonus D.V.D. While the inclusion of the three promotional video clips (‘Mouth For War’, ‘This Love’ and ‘Walk’) the band made for the album is a bit of overkill (Who needs them if they have 1999’s ‘3 Vulgar Videos From Hell’ D.V.D.?), the six track/twenty-nine minute ‘Live In Italy’ set is a real highlight. Shot for MTV at the Monsters Of Rock festival (Which took place in Reggio Emilia on 12th September 1992), this complete live set from the band is well shot, sounds great and boasts a rock solid performance from the band. Although the footage has been doing the rounds for years on the net, finally getting a copy of this show on D.V.D. is a real treat for diehard fans.
Sound wise, Howie Weinberg’s remastering does sound a little sharper and louder than the original album, which is what you would expect given the album is twenty years old, while the liner notes (Courtesy of Revolver Magazine’s senior editor Jon Wiederhorn) and the lyrics for ‘Piss’ are seamlessly blended into the old package without looking too out of place.
Overall, the deluxe re-release of ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ has been well done. It would have been cool to see a little more on the D.V.D., and the overall packaging is a bit of a step down to what was presented on ‘Cowboys From Hell’, but still a decent enough re-release worthy of Pantera diehard’s attention.

For more information on Pantera, check out - http://www.pantera.com/

© Justin Donnelly