You may have heard that it’s Vinnie Paul’s birthday today. He was the drummer for Pantera, and now drums for band Hellyeah, which isn’t nearly as good, but it’s nice to know the dude’s still got it. He’s 50 years old today.
In celebration of Vinnie’s birthday, I’m going to rant and rave about one of the first albums I ever bought: Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power. It was released in ’92, and was one of the most influential albums of the ’90s. It’s been described as “one of the defining albums of the groove-metal genre”, and features many songs that have become the band’s most well-known and recognizable tracks.
This was the second album that displayed Pantera’s change of sound. Their first few records were more glam-metal, and were inspired by bands like Van Halen and KISS. When Phil Anselmo replaced Terry Glaze on vocals in ’87, they released their fourth studio album, Power Metal, which started moved away from their original glam-metal sound. Cowboys From Hell was released in 1990, and it was a key turning point for Pantera — their sound was now noticeably influenced by bands like Metallica, Slayer and Black Sabbath.
Here’s a little fun fact, the main reasoning behind the musical style of Vulgar Display of Power. When Metallica’s self-titled album (AKA The Black Album) came out in 1991, Pantera considered it to be a letdown to fans; Metallica had seemingly strayed from their thrash metal sound that was in their previous albums. It’s weird because that album gave us a lot of the Metallica classics like “Enter Sandman”, “Sad But True”, “Wherever I May Roam”. I can see their point though; those tracks aren’t nearly as heavy as “Damage, Inc.”, “Creeping Death” or “Motorbreath”. Pantera felt that they had an opportunity and a gap to fill, and wanted to make “the heaviest record of all time.”
Then Vulgar Display of Power came out with a picture of a dude getting punched right in the face on the cover. It’s now pretty iconic. The band told their label that they wanted the cover to be “something vulgar — like a guy getting punched in the face.”
Apparently the guy got $10 per punch, and he ended up getting punched about 30 times to get the shot just right. And then they obviously photoshopped it. Totally worth it. He’s able to wake up in the morning and say, “Hey. Good morning, world. I’m that guy getting socked in the face on the cover of one of the most influential album of the ’90s.”
The whole album is filled with heavy, gut-busting guitar riffs and hostile, angry vocals that gave Pantera their signature sound. This record introduced us to classic songs that were a big part of the soundtrack to my junior high years, like “Walk”, “Mouth for War”, “A New Level”, “Hollow” and “F*cking Hostile”. Vulgar Display of Power is just a classically heavy, no-bull, straight-to-the-angry-point album that makes you want to go around and kick things. In a good way.
Happy 50th, Vinnie Paul. You rock.
All Images Courtesy of Google Images.