"A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa" (Book) (MJS; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

No metal fan will ever forget the horrible night of December 8, 2004. That night, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, one of metal's true legends, was gunned down onstage by an insane fan.

What some might forget ... or perhaps "overlook" is the better word ... is that Dimebag was not the only victim that evening. He may have been the most famous, but there were others who lost their lives that evening and they, too, deserve to be remembered. 

"A Vulgar Display of Power," by rock journalist and photographer Chris A.,  examines the events that led up to that tragic evening by exploring in great detail the lives of Jeffrey Thompson, Erin Halk, Nathan Bray, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and their killer. The research is painstaking and perhaps overwhelmingly in-depth. By the time a reader finishes this book, he will feel that he knows the heroes in this story so well that their loss is felt even more.

Chris A. takes the reader through each of the victim's lives, delivering so much information about each that the book is, at times, a somewhat challenging read. The information is important, however, in helping the reader realize that the people involved in this horrible event aren't just names in the newspaper or on a television screen. They were real people; people with families; people whom others loved deeply. In fact, that's where most of Chris A.'s research comes from: interviews with friends and family members of those taken.

In focusing on the lesser-known names, however, Chris A. doesn't forget Dimebag Darrell either. The book is peppered with "Dime Time" chapters, in which fans, musicians and other members of the music industry recall the legendary guitarist.

Confused, horrified and saddened  by the events that took place on December 8, 2004, author Chris A. was obsessed with investigating what happened that night and was determined not to let the fallen heroes -- whose actions saved so many other lives that evening -- be forgotten. The result is a noble book that is frightening, fascinating, inspiring and intensely disturbing. Perhaps most importantly, however, it is a book that achieves its goal and pays tribute to those who may otherwise have been forgotten.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:11 -0500.