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GW Blog: Pantera Release 'Vulgar Display of Power' 20th Anniversary Edition Today

It was 20 years and change ago that Pantera unleashed Vulgar Display of Power on the world. Today marks the release of a brand-new, 20th-anniversary deluxe edition of the album through Rhino Records, which includes the previously unreleased track, "Piss."

While 1990's Cowboys From a Hell was a radical reinvention for a band that wrote "Ride My Rocket," Vulgar Display of Power was the next logical step in the evolution of Pantera, further refining their signature recipe of equal parts groove and thrash into a piledriving cacophony truly worthy of the tag "vulgar."

Part of the success of the album lies in its ability to capture the band's live energy on tape — no easy feat, considering Pantera were quickly gaining a reputation as one of metal's wildest live acts.

While many of his peers would cower at the prospect of playing a guitar solo with no backing rhythm guitar, Dimebag Darrell embraced this technique fully on Vulgar, and to great effect.

"I did some doubling, but I wanted to capture our live sound," Dimebag Darrell told Guitar World in a 1992 interview. "When I play a solo, there's no rhythm guitar because I'm the only guitarist. I didn't think it was right to go and prettify the guitars on an album called Vulgar Display of Power. I wanted to keep things ... well, vulgar. The are some mistakes here and there, but so what? I'll save the clean and pretty guitarist for some other album."

Thanks to hard-hitting cuts like "Walk" and "Mouth For War," you'd be hard-pressed to make a case for any other Pantera record being the quintessential Pantera record. From the manic hardcore of "Fucking Hostile" to the soaring leads of the pseudo-ballad "This Love," every element of the band's trademark sound is in place and firing on all cylinders.

With all the pieces in place, Pantera's guitarist had just one more little change to make.

"Listen. People have been calling me Diamond Darrell for too long," he said in that same 1992 interview. "It's a mistake. I've always been called Dimebag Darrell by my friends. That's my real name. Dimebag Darrell — got it?"

Yep. We got it, Dime!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power. Celebrate with The Pantera Limited Edition Box Set, which is available from the Guitar World Online Store. Get the whole story of the Texas metal upstarts, plus new interviews, rare photos and cover art by Tim Bradstreet. The box set comes with five copies of the Pantera issue with four covers not available anywhere else, a 15" x 21" double-sided poster and GWs 'Learn the Best of Pantera' DVD. We made only 500 of these!

Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.