Vinnie Paul was sifting through the Pantera vaults for the 20th anniversary of his band’s landmark album Vulgar Display of Power and came across a little something called “Piss.” The track was from the original recording sessions for Vulgar Display of Power and is, according to Paul, “the only unheard complete Pantera track in existence.”
Until now, of course.
The 20th anniversary edition of Vulgar Display of Power includes the track along with the remastered original record, firing everything that rocked about Pantera’s album back into the bloodstream with all the necessary vigour and bloody knuckles. There is a deluxe edition that includes a DVD featuring some live performance stuff and the music videos for “Walk,” “Mouth for War” and “This Love.”
Sadly, I wasn’t able to get my mitts on the DVD footage and therefore can’t really offer my thoughts.
Luckily, the remastered Vulgar Display of Power is all kinds of old-school metal heaven. Featuring Paul, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (credited on the album as “Diamond Darrell” for the last time), Rex Brown, and Philip Anselmo, Pantera is at the top of their collective game with this album. Music may well have changed an awful lot since its original release, but Vulgar Display of Power still packs a punch stronger than the album cover.
Obviously the thrust of “Mouth for War” is one hell of a way to kick off an album. Digging out your old jean jacket with all the patches on it is commended but not compulsory to max out the pleasure on what is a guitar-led pummelling. Anselmo’s vocals are fucking hostile and militant, while “Dimebag” guitar is a force of nature.
“Walk,” a track that I’ll admit having first heard as ECW wrestler Rob Van Dam’s entrance theme back in the day, has grown to become one of my favourite metal tunes. It picks up seamlessly from the close of “A New Level” and builds into march-like insistency. The angry chant-a-long chorus is a thing of brutal beauty, but the song’s lyrics about what it means to be a good friend are razor-sharp in this age of “poking” and “liking” preposterous pigswill. “Is there no standard anymore?”
The thrash vastness of “Fucking Hostile” is still every bit the scorching livewire it was upon initial release, while “This Love” can barely hold in its emotion and power. “Rise” is a chugging, tempo-shifting juggernaut with a political message that seems more relevant than ever now and the groove of “Live in a Hole” is still a face-destroying song for the ages built on riffs that’ll put hair on your chest.
Then there’s the newly discovered “Piss,” a song that is vintage Pantera in every way. Beginning with an ass-kicking guitar passage and venturing into a bold riff that veers through some sick tempo shifts, the cut is a solid mid-tempo stunner.
Fans of Vulgar Display of Power will dig the remastered tracks and the addition of “Piss,” a song Paul considers to be brimming with “attitude and our signature groove.” Those who haven’t come in contact with this robust brand of thrash metal awesomeness owe it to themselves to discover what they’ve been missing all these years.