A Not-So-Vulgar Discussion of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power

In honor of the recent 20th anniversary reissue of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, two music writers sat around a kitchen table and talked about it. One is clearly older than the other one.

Eric Grubbs: When that record came out in 1992, what do you remember, aside from grunge and Nirvana being big?

Darryl Smyers: Oh, I remember laughing about it when it came out because everyone called it groove metal. Even today, I laughed when I read that the album set the stage for Korn, so that means we should deduct three points from it already. I thought - going from Iggy Pop to Black Flag - all good music, whether punk rock or metal, supposedly had a groove to it. But Pantera's early stuff was pretty crappy and I don't think it had a groove to it. The big turnaround was when Phil [Anselmo, vocals] joined the band. By that album, they weren't afraid to do a ballad, and the ballad was a good one. That was '92; I was just coming back to Dallas from living overseas in Korea, so I was kinda late on Nirvana.

Since my wife went to high school with one of the guys in the band, I was like, "Oh no, not Pantera, aren't they some kind of metal cover band from Arlington?" So many little tidbits about the album are funny: It wasn't Dimebag Darrell, it was Diamond Darrell. That was the last album he was credited as Diamond Darrell. Another funny thing I had forgotten about was that the cover photo was some guy they paid $10 to get hit in the face and they had to pay him $300 because it took 30 punches to get the thing right. But I remember hearing the record and liking it more than anything else Pantera had done or since. That was easily the high point for them.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
DC9 At Night