When Pantera released Vulgar Display of Power in 1992, they had already cultivated a following from their Cowboys From Hell  tracks Primal Concrete Sledge and Psycho Holiday. There wasnt a huge change in their style of music over the two year hiatus between releases but it was evident to fans that when they came off the road and went back into the studio, they put their balls on the table and came up with some of their best work to date. The sound and style of the release was beyond rock, harder than what was commonplace in the scene and had headbangers grinning from ear to ear. Walk was without doubt the biggest commercial success but there was so much more to the CD cuts like the slow but gripping Hollow that explored the boundaries of life and death and F*cking Hostile - a song that you just have to hear to believe. You want intensity? If you cant get off on this song, you better hang it up.
Walk was released shortly after hard rock stations and MTV started picking up on it; as soon as I saw it on the rack, I knew I had to have it. Setting me back about $8.00 I hoped that the four tracks on the maxi single [a dated term in itself] would be worth it. If you arent a fan of the group or consider yourself a casual listener of their music then theres no real need to pick this up. Luck for me this was a lot better than what I expected to get; four tracks that simply put kick some major tail. The first track is your basic copy version of the studio / CD release, but hey, its Pantera so it still rocks. Make sure you arent getting a clean version or all the naughty bits will be edited out, just to protect you from the evils of rock music. When you dig into the lyrics of the song you get to see a lot of the anger that the members have but if it werent for Anselmos vocals, a lot of the impact of the song just wouldnt make it through to the listener. That opening guitar riff still gets me pumped no matter how many times I hear it.
Can't you see I'm easily bothered by persistence
One step from lashing out at you
You want in to get under my skin and call yourself a friend
Walk [studio version]
A New Level
Walk [cervical dub]
Walk [cervical edit]
The Cervical Dub versions of the song might come off as a little monotonous to some people; the looped material at the beginning of the song along with the distorted vocals are nice touches but who ever edited it went a little overboard with it. The edited version trims away from of the excess fat leaving you with a tighter, leaner piece of meat. Its rare that an edited version comes off better than the full length remix but in this case all it takes is one listen to come to that conclusion. The redeeming quality of the full length Cervical Dub is that its great for mosh pits, working off excess energy or beating fecal matter out of someone. For all intents and purposes, both of the remixes take the studio version and build upon them; you are still getting the backbone of the song awesome beat, guitar work, vocals etc just a lot more of it. If theres one thing I truly hate its when someone takes a perfectly good song and tried to improve it but completely changing the feel of it and ends up ruining it [cough, Kelly Osbourne, cough].
You can't be something you're not - be yourself, by yourself
Stay away from me - a lesson learned in life, known from the dawn of time
A New Level
While most of the music and songwriting on Vulgar Display of Power leads you to think that the group has a lot of pent up frustration, A New Level shows how far they actually can in conquering their own demons. What seems like a random and miss-matched set of lyrics, it takes a little time to really let it sink in and get the message that Phil and the boys are sending out. No, they arent out to cure the world of social ills or make it a better place but their stance on racism, bigotry and judgmental attitudes. It took me a long time to look at the song and appreciate the lyrics, as simple as they may seem, when you combine them with the other songs from the CD you get to see a lot of interesting messages and personal views of the members. Sure they are good old boys from the south and yeah, they do like to drink and indulge in the seedier things in life but what you hear in their music, see at their concerts and read about them is what Pantera is all about. Having met them several times I can say this, they are as friendly as can be, will always stop for an autograph and are just as insane as they are portrayed in their home videos.
New life in place of old life
Unscarred by trials [we reach] a new level of confidence and power
Demanding plea for unity between us all
If youve never heard this song its a mighty powerful song that just like the rest of the parent CD really gets your heart racing, your blood boiling and head banging. Be sure to get the unedited version of the single to get the complete uncut studio version or else the colorful and fun words will be cut out. This doesnt really take away from the song but lets face it, if you are going to listen to Pantera, you might as well go balls deep into it. This was a good addition to the single and helped to break up the three versions of Walk but it would have been awesome if this one had been tweaked a little. Phils vocals are a little harder than on other tracks from the parent release but it works well with the music, props to Dimebag for his awesome guitar work.
Things To Know
• There are a few different versions of this CD floating around, the Cervical Mix, Biomechanical Mix [Walk, No Good, F*cking Hostile, By Demons Be Driven], Walk Japanese Import [Walk x 3, F*cking Hostile x 2, Hollow] and the cassette clean version of the Walk remix. If you are on the look out for this or are going to pick this up on the internet, make sure you are getting the version you want. Ive been burned a few times when buying things through auctions [copies of the original, used instead of new CDs etc] so read the descriptions carefully!
• If you are picking up an original, chances are youll be getting a bare bones release no liner notes, no lyrics, no perks. The slimline jewel case means it takes up less space but at the same time offers the CD little protection against getting snapped in two. Do yourself a favor and swap it out to a full sized jewel case or stash it someplace safe.
The Bottom Line
As much as I hate to say this, if you arent a huge fan of the group or dont have a deep love of the song, chances are this is something that you can pass on. Having three versions of Walk on one CD is nice but like I said unless you are a true fan of the group, it loses its appeal after the first few listens. This is without a doubt a must have for fans of the group and would make a great gift for that special headbanger in your life. This may be a little hard to find brand new but if you are a fan and avidly collect things from the group you know that most of the time the Pantera goodies are well worth the effort to seek them out. This is classified as an import however since it was pressed in the U.S.A. as well as overseas [exact same releases] youd be best off doing some research before you purchase it sight unseen.
As always, thanks for the read!
^V^ Freak ^V^
© 2004 Freak369
Vulgar Video - Pantera
Pantera: Watch It Go
The Man Behind "The Mouth For War" Phil Anselmo
Black No. 1
Love You To Death
Her Black Wings
Dirty Black Summer
White Zombie - Thunder Kiss
KMFDM - Godlike
Ozzy Osbourne - Mama, I'm Comin' Home
Pantera - Walk
Rollins Band - Liar
Bush - Glycerine
Anthrax - Black Lodge