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Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

June 20, 2016


Artist #1: Pantera

[Album 458/1001]

The approximately 200km drive between Windsor and London Ontario is, shall we say, not the most exciting.

In fact, my cousins cleverly dubbed the stretch of highway as “purgatory;” it’s difficult to imagine a more somnolent* stretch of highway.

So naturally, to keep me alert, I put on the group that recorded Cowboys from Hell.


In high school, I was able to earn some cred with metal aficionados by being able to play the Pantera track Cemetery Gates on guitar (though referring to them as aficionados may have been somewhat less cred-building).

It remains among my favourite metal songs, as it seems to have an ideal balance of smoothness, crunchiness, and messiness.

I’ll use chocolate bars to explain:



So why did Cemetery Gates work?

It’s all about balance, or at least, the balance that appeals to me: a Coffee Crisp majority, offset by enough Aero, with a hint of Snickers to close out the track.

Or in graph form…



The question is, how was the chocolate bar balance on Vulgar Display of Power?

Just fine, at least for the guitar/bass/drums. I thought the musical arrangements were almost entirely Coffee Crisp (which is just fine in my books), there were moments of Aero (This Love, Hollow) and some forays into Snickers territory. I was quite impressed by Dimebag Darrell; the riffs, the rhythms, the solos. It doesn’t seem like there were an overwhelming amount of overdubs either, solid supporting sound all around from the rhythm section.

Unfortunately, I occasionally felt a bit of an allergic reaction to the singer.

For example, in the track A New Level, his drawn out yelling of “Power” really reminded me of the Hoverboard scene (at 1:42) in Back to the Future II.

I imagine the vocals are the absolute selling point for some Metal foodies.

Others may want to keep epipens at the ready!


*Cheers Bruce!

**If you immediately thought of the ‘you like your coffee crisp?’ commercial, chances are we’re already friends.

From → 1990s

  1. Ha! Great post. Love the chocolate bar comparisons. I loved Vulgar Display Of Power. But I think that’s because I was a f*%king hostile teenager! 😉

  2. Vulgar Display for me is one of the best albums ever, by anyone, in any context. I love the vocals too. More than Cowboys’ …but, personal opinion, subjectivity, different strokes etc

    • I gather Pantera’s vocals used to be more ‘glam’ inspired Jimmy? I can’t picture them going with Falsetto vocals but apparently that was the case pre-Cowboys!

  3. I think the singer would rather be compared to a white chocolate. Milky Bar?

  4. Ha! This was awesome Geoff! Pantera should reissue this as Cowboys From Coffee Crunch!

  5. Great idea, neatly munched. Reckon there’s scope for expansion here: Salted caramel, peanut butter… then there is the famous Monty Python chocolate box…

    Glad that word didn’t get stale hanging around your adjective larder, Geoff.

  6. I have an allergic reaction to the singer too. Almost every time he speaks about anything important….

    Great idea, the chocolate bar theory. I like it! I agree with this!

  7. Nice one, Geoff. I discovered this one fairly recently and enjoyed it a fair bit.

    … then there’s big Phil. I have a definite allergy to that chap.

  8. Oh man, I totally feel your pain, having to drive London-Windsor. The worst bit is Chatham-Windosr, but the whole thing is brutal. For the longest time I thought it was the most god-forsaken highway I’d ever driven until years later when we drove Saskatoon-Calgary. Hooboy. And I’m sure there are tons that are far worse than that!

    • I shall make sure I have plenty of Pantera-ish albums to keep me alert if I end up on that Calgary-Saskatoon stretch!

      • Yeah it’s a doozy. And like I said, there are surely FAR worse stretches of empty road in this world, but those were some of the ones we’ve endured!

  9. That’s a fun analogy, except now I want a chocolate bar. Dammit, Geoff, I’m trying to mind my figure… beach season approaches! Hahaha

    It’s been a while since I played VDoP, but I remember liking it well enough. Is it the one that has the production that makes the sound almost brittle? My memory says yes but I could be wrong.

    Cool post, brother! Well done!

    • It’s possible the production isn’t ideal – our car stereo isn’t the greatest either though, so any imperfections I chalked up to my car’s speakers! Thanks Aaron, I think I was getting hungry during those VDoP road listens, the chocolate bars just made sense to me!

      • Well, I know there was one album I found very thin, not sure whether it was this one or not… Anyway. The only thing better than road chocolate bars is road cookies. Any Corner Gas fans out there? 😉

      • I’m a fan!

      • Yay!

        I just put through an official Corner Gas button down shirt like Brent wears at work. I’d get it, but it’s an XXL and it’s huge! I’d swim in it. Aw, who am I kidding, somebody probably bought it already.

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