Vulgar Display of Power is the sixth studio album by heavy metal band Pantera. Released on February 25, 1992 by ATCO Records, the album is often considered one of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, with Loudwire’s list of the “Top 90 Hard Rock and Metal Albums of the 1990s” putting the album at No. 2. It continues the path first forged on their previous album, Cowboys from Hell, moving further away from the glam metal sound expressed on their first four albums and more towards a groove metal sound.
Production was handled by Terry Date, who had also produced many other notable releases in the heavy metal and hard rock genres (including Pantera’s own aforementioned Cowboys from Hell). The album’s title, meanwhile, was taken from a line in the iconic 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Bassist Rex Brown said of the album:
That record came so naturally to us in the studio. We had just gotten off the road and the ‘Walks’ were already written in soundchecks. That record just flowed naturally and seamlessly out of us, because as a band, we were so tight coming out of playing non-stop. I remember the ‘Cowboys’ tour; we only had 38 days off in a year of touring. And then coming directly back in the studio with that fire and that hunger. It’s just an evolution, a natural process, when that came out. Where Metallica had dropped off in the late ‘80s, we saw it was a period of time where it might be our time. And timing had everything to do with it. The timing, the songs, the way the label marketed the band – everything that’s involved. It doesn’t just take four individuals and boom, you’re there.”
Vulgar Display of Power was released to commercial and critical acclaim. In a 4.5/5 star review, Steve Huey of AllMusic hails the album as “a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission.”
The album peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200 and spent 80 weeks on the chart, becoming their best-selling album and being certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA. The album was propelled by the success of its four singles, “Mouth for War,” “This Love,” “Hollow,” and “Walk,” the latter of which becoming one of their most recognizable songs.