Anthrax, Mayhem, Khemmis, Richard Christy & more reflect on Pantera’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ at 25

Posted by on February 24, 2017




Charlie Benante, Anthrax

‘A New Level.”  When I first heard that song, I thought it kinda encompassed all of those Big Four band… it had elements of us, it had elements of Slayer, elements of Metallica, overall it was Panera.  And I just knew when I first heard it that these guys were on to something.  It was just a great, fucking song – the groove was great, the chorus was great, the fucking lead guitar was great – it had all these elements of ‘this is gonna explode.’  And every time I’d see those guys play that song, the fucking audience would explode.  It’s a great, great song from a great album. 


Scott Ian, Anthrax

Hard to choose, maybe “A New Level” because that’s what they were. They took what was done before and did it better.


Chris Broderick, Act of Defiance, ex-Megadeth

What’s your favorite song on the album and why? I don’t think I could really pick one as it changes all the time but right now I dig A New Level. It mixed so many things I like and did it well. It has different tempos (one slow and grinding and the second fast and aggressive) a cool vocal line and a killer solo from Dime!


Ben Hutcherson, Khemmis

“By Demons Be Driven” is probably my favorite because of the chuggy main riff that is syncopated with the kick drums. As a teenager in small town Mississippi, I thought that was the craziest, heaviest riff I’d ever heard. Also, the pinch harmonic-laden verse riff was the first time I’d ever done a “Dimebag squeal,” and that part was not far behind the intro to “Walk” on the list of Pantera riffs with which I annoyed the shit out of my folks. 

I will say that I have a soft spot in my heart for “Hollow” if for no other reason than Zach (Coleman, drums) and I will occasionally torture the other dudes in the van by singing along to it very loudly, especially the “MAD AT GOD! MY BEST FRIEND!” lines near the end. It’s probably fair to say that Dan and Phil do not much care for that song as a result.


David McGraw, Cattle Decapitation

My favorite track is “This Love” because in my opinion it’s the most diverse song in the album, you get a pretty good idea of Phil’s vocal range (aside from “Cemetery Gate” of course) and it has some of Dime’s best solos and riffs. The track is all around heavy as fuck and it also blends that catchiness and memorable songwriting side of Pantera that keeps them relevant until this day, and for many years to come.


Josh Gilbert, Wovenwar

My favorite song on Vulgar Display of Power would be “Fucking Hostile”, no question. From start to finish, the song is just relentless and always a staple on my pre-show playlist. Riff onslaught. On a cool side note: Pantera released a B side from Vulgar called “Piss” a few years back and some friends and I showed up to the video shoot and made it into the final cut!


Attila Csihar, Mayhem, SUNN O)))

My fav song is “Fucking Hostile.”


Catastrofiend, Kill the Precedent

I prefer to listen to this album beginning to end, and consider it one long crushing experience.  Singling one out is a challenge, because the whole album fucking rips. But, I guess if I have to pick one it would be “Mouth For War” because it was the first video off the album and it just stuck with me.


Richard Christy, Charred Walls of the Damned, The Howard Stern Show

“Fucking Hostile,” the title, the aggression, the speed and the groove, everything about it makes it a perfect heavy metal song. If I was big enough to kick somebody’s ass, this is the song I would kick somebody’s ass to!


Atif Haq, Bangladeafy

“A New Level.” I love the intro/main riff. That menacing build makes me snarly ugly, stomp around and gorilla pound my chest. It’s the best feeling. 


Marzi Montazeri, Marzi, former Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Superjoint Ritual

Hollow!! I spent three nights in Arlington and saw them play at Joe’s Garage in Fort Worth, in fact I had to  drive Vince’s van back cuz everyone was super wasted! But earlier during that day Darrell invited me to his house to play on a song he had! When I got there his garage studio was one to remember! He proceeded to play on his Fostex four track a beautiful melody in A minor which ended up being the first mellow part of “Hollow!”

We swapped two solos each on it but he wanted me to play the second and last lead so then I could end it with this harmonic harp technique I had picked up from Eric Johnson! He really liked the way it sounded so I did it on an A minor chord at the end! The song is very sentimental to me because of that experience where I sat across from my friend and we both admired our different take on the same school of players we grew up on and on the record version he plays such a beautiful solo!!!! He wasn’t just my friend he was an inspiration!
Joseph Michael, Witherfall

“Hollow” is perhaps one of the best metal ballads of all time. Strange chords and tonalities mixed with very catchy verse melodies. The guitar harmony that is essentially the main hook is really breathtaking.  This song is easily a huge influence on my writing style. 


Bobby Mansfield, The Drip

That’s a very tough one. Gonna have to go with Hollow.  The heavy break is on the level of “domination” and the riff just slays the soul. Pantera was and always will be a part of me, feeling lucky since I saw them twice, and each time was one of the wildest shows I had ever seen. 


Carlos Cruz, Warbringer

My favorite song is “Rise.” At a time when Metallica, Megadeth and many others redirected their songwriting towards accessible, mid-paced compositions for “the times,” Pantera continued to live up to the album’s title with this track. I still dig how out of the gate this song hits with speed. Even at such tempos, Dime and Rex’s right hands and Vinnie’s double bass drumming are insanely tight. Then there’s the groove, and Pantera have always had the unique dynamic of backing Dime’s solos with only drums and bass on the recordings as it would be played live. VDOP is essential to the evolution of what the heavy metal genre would become in the mid/late 1990’s.”


Anthony Paganelli, Horseneck

I think my favorite track is “Mouth For War.” It’s hard to pick a favorite because ever song on it is good. But I remember learning that track on guitar and being fully stoked. It’s the first track and it’s packed full of riffs. 


Matt Zagorski, Dying Whale

“This Love” was such a ripper. Killer dynamics the whole song, which is such an unheard of thing in the genre now-a-days. The breakdown in that was smart and very unpredictable on your first listen. On the metal scale I would give it two metal horns and one big “would mosh to.”


Sean Knight, Child Bite

It’s hard to pick a favorite. I like the hits, but you get burned out on ’em. I remember always really liking that staccato verse riff in “Rise.” This was the same year as Helmet’s Meantime, which was obviously built on those kinds of parts. Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled and White Zombie’s La Sexorcisto too… 1992 was the year of the start/stop riff!


Shawn Drover, Act of Defiance, ex-Megadeth

“A New Level” hands down. Its so so heavy and crushing it really blew me away at the time. It still does, really.


Poia and Urlo, Ufomammat

We are nice and quiet people: we listen to “Fucking Hostile” from time to time and our bloodlust is immediately satisfied.”


Jack Doolan, Cypher 16

Walk – because as much as the riff is one of the simplest, yet greatest played pieces of guitar in the entire metal genre, the drum pattern that plays out at the end of the song is one of my absolute favourite grooves.


Ron Varod, Sabbath Assembly, Psalm Zero, Kayo Dot

The first song I heard from the record was when I saw the video for “This Love” so that one always stands out. I don’t know if it’s Terry Date’s production or just Dimebags playing but seriously those palm mutes!


John Jarvis, Fulgora/Scour/Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed

That’s a tough one but I’d have to say “Hollow.” I’m a sucker for “power ballads” and Phil’s singing on this is incredible.


Paolo Colavolpe, Destrage

It’s impossible to say I think. I’d say at the beginning  the first one I listened to, “Regular People.” That opening riff!!!  When I learned to play it on guitar I was the happiest teenager on the planet. But you can’t definitely choose a song when the songs involved in the album are “Mouth for War,” “A New Level,” “Walk,” “Fucking Hostile,” “This Love”‘ etc.. come on!”


Stefano Ferrian, Syk

My fave song has always been “Hollow.” It’s a huge masterpiece and contains all the elements that makes Pantera one of the greatest band of our modern history. Great music, excellent lyrics, outstanding musicianship and complex emotions expressed in just one song. It starts as a ballad and then turns into harshness…this is not something everyone can do.


Reyka Osburn, Death Valley High

It’s hard to pick one but I’d say “By Demons Be Driven” is my favorite, although it’s later in the album and overshadowed by another favorite, “This Love.” “By Demons…” is just lit with its driving industrial push and pull. 


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