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Damageplan New Found Power

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, February 10, 2004 @ 11:09 AM


(Elektra)

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20 years later, metal brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul are still going strong, only this time around, it’s not in the form of Pantera, their baby birthed in 1983 – it’s as DAMAGEPLAN. Pantera really didn’t get the acclamation they sought until the Phil Anselmo-fronted classic Cowboys From Hell in 1990. It’s no secret the controversy leading to the ultimate demise of one of the most critically influential metal bands of all time.

We’ve since heard from Anselmo and his various works, including and not limited to such bands as Down and Superjoint Ritual. The reviews have been somewhat mixed, especially on the latter, although from my point of view, SJR’s A Lethal Dose of American Hatred is one of my all-time favorite metal albums. So the big question here is: will Pantera fans accept the new Vinnie and Dime project with a new vocalist and bassist?

The answer: I have no idea! I think so…

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To compare Damageplan to Pantera would just be flat out wrong. If it ain’t Phil, Dime, Vinnie and Rex Brown, it’s not Pantera, and Damageplan makes no attempt to try to relive Pantera, much to my appreciation. They’ve packed it up and moved on to a different style of metal.

This debut album, New Found Power finds an effort jam-packed with the Dime riffage we all love and that sick double-bass drum action from Vinnie. Newcomer bassist Bob Zilla, a local Dallas, TX musician lays the bottom-end thick and rich. Halford/Diesel Machine guitarist-turned-vocalist Pat Lachman… doesn’t impress me. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not bad, but he lacks range and his voice doesn’t really stand out as anything special. You certainly couldn’t pick him out on an unknown song. He does the job satisfactorily in a consistent metal growl style.

“Breathing New Life” is by far the catchiest song on the CD. One listen and it sticks to your ribs – you won’t forget it. It’s their first and current single out now. As radio-friendly as it may be, it still packs a hardcore punch, and the chorus is certain to cause moshpit mayhem. The title track, “New Found Power” is also right up there, with a powerful, fist-pumping chorus. The bass line on this is particularly strong and militant.

“Pride” showcases Lachman’s vocals styles the best here, as he gets to croon a bit. The chorus has almost a Sevendust feel. “Save Me” is similarly written, with chugging, galloping riffs in between swooning choruses and lets Lachman’s voice shine though, whereas he tends to sound a bit forced and contrived when he sings hard and fast on the other tracks.

“Cold Blooded” is a heavy bass track, but it doesn’t really have structure to it – it’s kind of weird, it doesn’t really go anywhere. Nonetheless, it’s pretty cool. “Crawl” has a nice slinky bass intro. Then it busts into severe headbanging madness with some Zakk Wylde-like riffs coming out of Dime.

Damageplan uses quite a variety of sound effects on this album, instrumental and vocal, which is one of the things that keep it from sounding like rehashed Pantera. That and the lyrics. The lyrics lack some serious originality, but overall – for me anyway – it doesn’t really affect the album because this is definitely about the music. “Blink of an Eye” is probably my least favorite, and although some will disagree, I think it has a nu-metal quality to it. Yelling “Go!” twice in the song kind of seals that. “Moment of Truth” is a slower track, with almost an Alice in Chains Dirt-era quality to it. Speaking of AIC, I heard Jerry Cantrell was supposed to appear on this album, however he’s listed in the “Thanks” credits, but nowhere on the music credits. Too bad.

However, axemonster Zakk Wylde does appear on the album, lending his guitar skills to “Reborn” and his vocals on “Soul Bleed.” The latter also has Layne Staley-style vocals. Now this is a ballad, and it’s actually pretty good. Lachman sounds great on this, with Wylde doing the “answer” vocals. It’s got a beautiful guitar solo in the center. Real nice tune.

Well, I won’t go through every single track, because although each song is diverse and can hold it’s own, there is a general formula around the tracks. “Wake Up,” “Explode” and “Reborn” are all good, old-fashioned hard rockers.

Here’s the bottom line: Great heavy metal album! I guess I expected it to be a little harder coming from Dime & Vinnie, but they do an excellent job at packing 14 quality tracks into one album. The vocalist is average. Damageplan is definitely going to be all about the live shows – you can just visualize the arena when you listen to this album. The songs will translate very well on stage, and in my humble opinion, that is where it all counts! I think any metal lover will find this to be a great album, although die-hard Pantera fans will be disappointed that it doesn’t sound like Pantera whatsoever. Expect a wide variety of opinions on this one.

I do have one lingering question… Here are two verses from the track “Fuck You,” in which vocalist Corey Taylor lends a hand. I wonder who or what the song is about?

Fuck you I’m through
I want nothing more from you
My sanity is wearing thin
Irate, I hate
You determined your own fate
Now everything is caving in

Fuck your powertrip and
Fuck your attitude and
Fuck your bloated ego too
Fuck your history, your tragedy, your misery
But most of all motherfucker… fuck you!

* * * * ½


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