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Armold, Chris
A Vulgar Display Of Power (Book Review)
January 2017
Released: 2007, MJS Music Publications
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I don't read crime fiction. In addition, it's not a secret that I'm not a big Pantera fan. When the book A VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER, a non-fiction book about the murder of DarrelI Abbott, I didn't rush out to buy it. Those two reasons combined put the book, subtitled 'Courage And Carnage At The Alrosa Villa' on the back burner for me. However, I came across a used copy of the independent publication and in the interest of our noble quest to review every Metal book every published, I bought it to read over the holidays.

The 340 page soft-cover is nicely put together. It was written by Chris Armold, author of a few other indie publications and he did a decent job. The book is easy to read, has lots of black and white photos and flows nicely. I seem to recall that when the book was first released there was a bit of controversy, that even a few years after the death of Abbott, some diehard fans were still pretty raw and accused the author of trying to capitalize on the death. After reading A VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER I do not feel that is the case.

In case you are not familiar, on December 8th, 2004 guitarist Darrell Abbott was murdered on stage by while performing in Ohio with his band Damageplan. The murderer was subsequently killed at the scene of the crime by the first officer responding. This book covers the whole situation in amazing detail. The foreword was written by the police officer who took action to stop the murderous rampage that left four innocent people dead.

Armold did a phenomenal amount of research and to his credit, in his introduction he states upfront that he is not a journalist and feels no obligation to be impartial. Oddly enough he also said he is not a big Pantera fan, and at that point I was a bit skeptical but as the narrative progressed it became apparent he is not just a fan-boy.

A VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER provides some background about the life of each victim, and the killer. It was a bit gruesome as the detail of the actual crime was very graphic, not sensationalistic, but realistic. When the crime actually happened I didn't bother to seek out the details but the book lays bare everything. I'm not squeamish but it was sad to see how a person suffering from a life-long, mental illness fixates in a celebrity eventually ending in tragedy for all. Anchored by lots of interviews the book comes across as informative, passionate and sincere. As much of the book is focused on the tragedy that befell the victims as the killer and actual events.

This was not a light or fun read and I think I knew that it would not be, hence my initial hesitation to rush out and read when it came out 10 years ago. However, I'm glad I read it and have a greater understanding of how it all happened. I'd recommend this for Pantera fans without a doubt and perhaps more casual Metal fans can approach with caution.
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