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Crippled By Circumstance - 75%

1234SLAYER1234, April 5th, 2013

At the time of Damageplan's formation the future of Pantera was unclear, with Philip and Rex jumping ship to other side projects leaving the Abbott brothers with no certain musical future. From this uncertainty came the creation of Damageplan, which as we all know eventually lead to the mindless slaughter of Dimebag and other innocent people in December 2004.

To further explain my title, I believe this album to be weakened by the circumstances around it for many reasons. The Abbott brothers could have easily created an identical Pantera clone without Phil and Rex, but I believe they chose to change their sound to avoid being labelled as a weak Pantera clone. This proved to be no easy task for two musicians that had been perfecting their sound for decades, the result is an obvious attempt at watering-down their old style and taking a more experimental approach to their song writing. A second circumstantial reason for this album's weakness could be the Abbott brother's choice of vocalist and bassist. Dime and Vinnie had been writing and performing with Phil and Rex for years at this point, to begin afresh with new musical contributors would cause a change in sound and how the material was written.

Onto the actual material within this album, there are some very strong tracks to be found here. We have the strong tracks such as "Breathing New Life", "New Found Power" and "Crawl", the first two standouts represent about half the material on this cd. These heavier tracks are what Pantera fans listening to this album will be expecting to hear, bludgeoning grooves with injections of speed and aggressive vocals. There are some very good ideas to be found on these two tracks, take the main riff to "Breathing New Life", being a simple yet effective mid-tempo riff. The title track also has its moments (the riff at 1.38 for example) this track being another personal highlight of the album.

Another standout track "Crawl" represents the more versatile material to be found on "New Found Power", mixing heavy and clean sections effectively with some very nice clean guitar lparts Dimebag was famous for ( the melody introduced at 2.45 for example). However other tracks with this more experimental style of song writing are weaker filler tracks. For example "Blink Of An Eye" has some interesting ideas but overall lacks focus and contains a worryingly generic chorus. One track of this more experimental nature worth mentioning is the song "Pride", which like "Crawl" merges these two approaches to song-writing well with a strong and memorable performance from the vocalist Pat Lachman.

This brings me onto the vocals on this album , the vocalist Pat Lachman has had much abuse for his vocals on this release. I do not think he is the greatest singer or that he can match Phil Anselmo's vocal capabilities but he still gives a strong performance on this album. It is worth noting he had never been a lead singer before, so for a debut performance he has a fairly strong aggressive vocal style, and can also sing pretty well. However the vocals bring this album down when they begin to sound worryingly similar to nu-metal rapping (in "Reborn" for example). This aside I believe Pat Lachman to be a suitable vocalist for this album. I have read online that Pat Lachman and the Abbott brothers had argued over playing Pantera material within Damageplan, if this is true then it could be another cause of Dime and Vinnie experimenting with new musical styles. Anyway, the bassist on this album is almost completely drowned out (save the intro to "Crawl"), so it is very hard to analyse his contributions to his album, but he must be a capable player in order to follow Dimebag’s guitar-work.

The Abbott brother's performance on this album is solid, if a little tame. As I previously mentioned they were forced to change sound, a sound they had been perfecting for years. This leads to a major flaw with this album I am yet to understand, where are the blazing guitar solos Dime was famous for? there is very little lead guitar work to be found here, why Dimebag chose not to include leads I will never understand and unfortunately when they do appear, they are nothing spectacular. In regards to Vinnie, his drum work here is solid, but he is capable of more creative playing that was seen throughout his playing in Pantera.

One further criticism I have of “New Found Power” is its lyrical content. Most of these tracks seem to be bashing Philip Anslemo and the demise of Pantera. An obvious example of this is the track “Fuck You”. Now, I don’t judge albums by their lyrical content alone, but the lyrics on “New Found Power” can lower the quality of the music. For example “Fuck You” is seriously damaged by its pathetic lyrical content and the endless repetition of “fuck” in the lyrics, if the song had better lyrics it could easily be one of the finest tracks this album has too offer. If you ignore the terrible lyrics on this track you are left with a fast, aggressive and memorable track not dissimilar to Pantera’s faster and shorter tracks such as “Fucking Hostile” from “Vulgar Display Of Power”. On the subject of bashing Phil Anselmo lyrically, I do not blame Phil for a single thing related to Pantera’s break up , for it takes more than one member to split up a band.

Overall, It saddens me to pick apart an album made by some very talented musicians, but there are flaws here that cannot be overlooked. I do however believe that people are too harsh on this release. People are constantly labelling it as a worthless sell-out from the Abbott brothers even though it does contain some very strong material. In my mind this album was a one-off for the Abbott brothers. I believe Damageplan was intended to keep them busy until Pantera could re-unite and create some new material. Either way, If Damageplan was created with the intention to be a long term thing I believe they could have made much stronger and focused material if the band had not dissolved in such tragedy. With time they could have perfected their new sound, thrown in more solos, aggression and become the new Pantera. But as we all know, a schizophrenic and troubled individual stopped any chance of this happening. So here we have it, an album crippled by circumstance.

R.I.P Dimebag Darrell and all the other individuals that lost their lives in 2004.

Standouts - "Breathing New Life" , "Crawl", "New Found Power" and "Pride".

Damageplan's Hymns of Creative Wreckage - 21%

JamesIII, January 16th, 2010

When Pantera finally ended after years of internal hostilities in 2002, the members themselves went their separate ways into two different camps. Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown jumped on the New Orleans metal movement, becoming involved in bands like Crowbar, Superjoint Ritual, and most importantly, Down. The Abbotts, having invested most of their time into Pantera over the last two decades, were hung out to dry without much of a future to look forward to. A year later, this changed when the brothers picked up "Bobzilla" and Pat Lachman to form Damageplan.

What lies on the band's debut album in "New Found Power" is something that is both mystifying and disappointing, though more of the latter than anything else. The music itself is very restrained, an obvious nod to Dime's obsession with mid-tempo downtuned chugging on this album. It was usually there in Pantera, but there also other things going on that kept that band interesting from time to time. Even Dime's soloing, always a highlight in Pantera, short changes the listener here as you're given something that is more standard than anything else. Vinnie Paul isn't much of a different story, he offers little from behind the drum kit, a double disappointment from this band's two more talented musicians. Yet even with that, they remain the two better men in Damageplan.

The two at the bottom end of the totem pole in Damageplan are "Bobzilla" and Pat Lachman. I cannot comment much on "Bobzilla" (what a name) because he is sometimes inaudible and other times simply uninteresting. The only thing noteworthy about him is his obvious tough guy posturing in the photography. Given the music, this guy might as well tried to be Mr. Tuff Man in a ballerina outfit cause I'm not buying it. Still, he isn't the worst man in the band. That title would belong to Pat Lachman. For whatever unholy reason, the Abbotts assumed he'd work fine in the studio. Given his ability to defile the vocal works of singers like Layne Staley, Phil Anselmo, John Bush, and Rob Flynn, its a wonder he was even picked at all. Its not so much his vocals are unbearable, but he comes so damn comical when trying to be a tough guy that its hard to take him or this band serious. The fact also is that Lachman chooses to rap on some of these songs, which is just hysterical unless you actually paid money to hear this album.

Even without the music, we're given the ingredients to one smelly shit sandwhich. Even with that, Damageplan do manage to break down into halfway decent groove metal at times, but this is far from anything fans of the genre should immediately look into. "Breathing New Life" is the easiest song not to hate, as you can take it fairly seriously, aside from all that repetitive chugging nonsense at play. The title track is a similiar story, as is the more accessible and obvious radio pandering of "Pride" and "Save Me." These all boil down to watered down groove and radio rock, two forms of music I usually detest but here they stand out as the better songs. The song "Explode" would have also been applicable here, thanks mostly to Dime's solo in the song, but Lachman ruins it completely thanks to his abominable rapping style that rears its ugly head. The exact same principles apply to "Cold Blooded," again ruined by Lachman.

Some of the album's worst moments come from attempts to keep it from sucking something awful. "Reborn" is downright comical from the mallcore inspired riffs to the spoken word parts that are a form of third rate comedy. "Crawl" starts off with a nice little bass line then meanders for several minutes, winding up in territory that reminds me of Mudvayne's "L.D. 50." That album would have been most welcome at this point, like using shoe cleaner to rub the taste of shit out of your mouth. If this weren't bad enough, Corey Taylor steps away from homeboyin' it up with Slipknot long enough to lend his talents on "Fuck You." With a title like that, you're assured it will be bad. It was originally meant to be a "diss" track to Phil Anselmo, but considering the word "fuck" appears eighteen times in three minutes the joke is on Damageplan as that song is completely terrible.

The Abbotts fell a long way here, as this album spews forth raw suckage like a busted sewer line. I am completely baffled as to why this album turned out the way it did, unless it was apparent pandering to trends. Everything here screams "trendy" from the downtuned mallcore nonsense to the rapping to the obvious lack of ideas, its all here. Considering nu-metal began fading in 2002, Damageplan were a bit late coming with this two years later. Dimebag Darrell is still sorely missed in my book, though I must admit this was a horrible way to end his musical contributions. I can't recommend this to anyone, even to the simple minded fans who can't get enough of Slipknot or Korn's legions of wretched clones. Even with mallcore there are better things out there, and its best just to let this wither away unnoticed by those of us who have better things to listen to.

The Royal Seal Of Gayness (SPED class #2) - 9%

hells_unicorn, August 27th, 2009

I have not come to praise Dimebag, but to bury his last and most horrid of nu-metal, groove metal, alternative metal, grunge metal, or otherwise mallcore piece of garbage creations. It’s been nearly 5 years since his career and life came to an unfortunate end, and the time for politeness is over. Love him or hate him, gifted shredder and former Pantera axe man Darrel Abbott was an instrumental figure in the procreation of the diarrhea steeped bile that was nu-metal, and worse still, one that encouraged spreading it to a wide group of formerly respectable 80s metal bands. But in spite of his association with this inferior art form, his work with Pantera always managed to edge its way above most of the others in said style, at least until he took his game to this one album disaster of a project otherwise known as Damageplan.

“New Found Power” listens like a decrepit cesspool of every dry, tired, played out cliché that had been poured out of every radio speaker of mainstream musical media since the early 90s like Stalinist propaganda. The guitars pound out the dumb assed, 3 note, hypnotic chug-a-chug riffs in drop D tuning like it’s the only way to play guitar. Mix this in with half-assed Phil Anselmo, Layne Staley and John Bush circa “Sound Of White Noise” vocal plagiarism, a near inaudible bass that mirrors the distorted, drowsy droning buffoonery of the guitars and very little variety from Vinnie from behind the kit, but still we are constantly assured that this is a metal album. Then again, we have a nice little fit of Baboon inspired retarded nu-metal whining on the album’s lone semi-fast song “Fuck You” from none other than Slipknot’s own Corey Taylor, as if a really bad version of “Fucking Hostile” wasn’t torture enough.

The only somewhat redeeming factor at play here within this mess of vapid grooves and generic choruses is Dimebag’s lead work, which largely functions as a somewhat pleasant bit of Victorian window dressing on what is essentially a cardboard shanty. Most of them are shot bursts that last for about 10 or 15 seconds, rely pretty heavily on sound effects in addition to the muddy distortion present in 90% of this album, utilize simplistic harmonies and scream harmonics often, and showcase a pretty restrained version of what the player is capable of. The best comparison that could be made to previous efforts in this area would be his guest slots on Anthrax’s “Stomp 442” and “Volume 8: The Threat Is Real”, both of which were inferior to most of his solo work in Pantera but still fairly impressive. Nevertheless, it comes nowhere near making it worth any self-respecting metal fan’s while to listen through more than an hour of pointless “Vulgar Display Of Power” worship that could probably only stand above the short-lived and largely forgotten joke of a Pantera tribute project Archie Bunker.

The most viciously negative review could never hope to shit on Dimebag’s legacy as much as this album had already done when it was first put out for public consumption. Despite my being somewhat lukewarm towards Anselmo’s various other projects, at least he had gotten over the slavish devotion to a past better forgotten that this album embodies. In 2004 this debuted in the Billboard top 40 at number 38, just recently Behemoth’s “Evangelion” debuted at number 55, so it is a relatively safe assumption that the musical mainstream in America is making some progress in its understanding of good metal versus garbage. Vinnie has stated that there could be another Damageplan album to come, built off of leftovers from the songwriting sessions that produced this pile of crud. It may or may not fully resemble this if and when it gets recorded, but it can probably be safely assumed that like this, it will suck something awful.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 27, 2009.

New found Flower - 52%

Chainedown, February 16th, 2009

For Damageplan, comparison to Pantera is inevitable, no matter how much you try to separate the two bands. At first, it may seem such a comparison is unfair to Damageplan. But ultimately, this is something Damageplan brings it upon itself, because they failed to fully distinguish themselves from Pantera like Phil Anselmo did with his bands, even though they (ahem, Dimebag and Vinnie Paul) were supposed to. Here's the breakdown of Damageplan's one-and-only album.

1. Vocals

Pat Lachman, who handles guitar for Rob Halford's solo band, sings here. Frankly, I think Pat is a suitable vocalist for the Abbott brothers' hard-hitting music. Tracks like "Pride" and "Blink of An Eye" are good examples of Pat's mean vocals, where he can hit accurate pitches and hold them for a while, even adding some vibratos at times. He sometimes sings, sometimes screams (a-la Pantera), and can do both well. But while physical skills of being vocalist is fine, Pat stands inferior to Phil Anselmo when it comes to lyrical skills. There is not a single lyric that is imaginative or creative. The worst cases of such are "Explode" and "Fuck You," with the latter also noteworthy of having a pathetic song title.

2. Bass

I have never seen Damageplan live, but based on what is recorded here, it is hard to judge Bob Zilla's technical prowess as a bassist. However, one cannot help but to feel that he is inferior to Rex Brown in terms of creativity. Rex was able to create grooves and riffs that served as a great contrast to Dimebag's always-center-of-the-attention riffs and was a valuable foundation to the music along with Vinnie Paul - ultimately, he was as irreplaceable member of Pantera as the other three. On the other hand Bob Zilla offers nothing of the sort. Even as I am listening to the album while I type this, I cannot think of one song that has a memorable bassline. True, the album is produced in a clean-cut manner that makes the bass seem nonexistent, but Bob Zilla is no Jason Newsted either - there is a limit to how much you can blame on the production for lack of Bob's presence in the music.

3. Abbott Brothers

Those two folks fall flat here, compared to the rest of their works - not just Pantera but also Rebel Meets Rebel (which was released after Damageplan but recorded long before).

To be fair, they have done some things right. When they announced the end of Pantera, they had to create another band that is not a Pantera clone - for the instrumental core of Pantera, that basically meant they had to reinvent themselves. That's a big task for people that spent an entire decade perfecting their sound.

Based on the results presented here, it seems like reinventing themselves was harder than reinventing the steel, or heavy metal in general. Both the guitar and drums sacrificed much of the technical and mechanical intensity of Pantera for more smoothed-out, easy-to-play groove. But unfortunately, somewhere along their self-reinventing process, they lost originality. Groove that is emphasized on this album is generally listenable (unless you hate numetal or sounds similar to it) but by the time "Blunt Force Trauma" comes around, it's no longer fresh nor interesting, and the album overstays its welcome and suddenly becomes an exhausting listen. Sonically, the music DOES sound like Dimebag is playing guitar and drums sound like Vinnie, but if someone told you that __insert__a__numetal__musician's__name__ wrote the music and that Dimebag and Vinnie just played them, you would probably believe it. It's rather unfortunate, because it feels like that Dime and Vinnie kept the rhythmical punctuality of Pantera and tried to merge it with a sense of fluidity within their riffs, which backfired on them and made them sound polished and manufactured rather than organic. I will say that Dimebag's solos, when it does happen, are still hot and inspired.

The result:

There is no "if" in history, but back when Dimebag was still alive, this album suggested that they had potential to grow more and find their individuality as a band, and they really may have. Damageplan had talent, no doubt at all about that. With this album, the disappointments are too easy to point (like I did), but it still gets your head banging for a while anyway. This is why, 5 years after its release, I continue to listen to it once in a while, and have cared to write a review for it.

You give it a try, and see what you think.

Sorry to piss on Dimebag Darrell's grave, but... - 45%

algolauslander, May 1st, 2007

...but I don't think this poor album's gotten a good review yet-- so why the fuck should I not continue the trend?

At least for the moment, I am still a numetal/ mallcore fan. As such, I believe that some numetal is good, and some is bad. For example:
Mushroomhead-- good; Slipknot-- bad.
Demon Hunter-- good; Devildriver-- bad.
Static-X-- good; Korn-- bad.

Damageplan is on the bad list.

Up until listening to this album, I honestly thought that numetal was such a diverse genre with such a huge multitude of influences, that no two bands could ever sound alike. Damageplan actually comes very close to sounding like some other groups, such as No One (the mallcore band of that name, not the band on this site, if there still is one). Damageplan is the final result, the apex of people playing numetal for as long as they have. It's time that those people just give the fuck up so I don't feel like a fucking dinosaur when I open my CD case.

But... I believe very strongly in being fair, so I will give this album a fair review just like the other albums I've reviewed.

Possibly the best part of New Found Power would probably be the guitars. Or maybe it was the drums, so I'll put them in the same paragraph. The guitars, as per any "good" groove "metal" (Damageplan, to me, is hard rock with screams and double bass), there are some decent groove riffs. If I were an idiot, I would say they were "thrashy," but only in an incredibly vague sense. However, the two or three good riffs throughout the album often do exact a price on the listener's ears, for they are so fucking downtuned that sometimes the tone seems inaudible. Maybe that's just me and my hearing problems, but I think I now see why people complain about downtuning in numetal.

Did I say drums would be in the same paragraph? I guess I lied. The drums are the only other remotely shining points on this record, simply because throughout the CD there are a couple really cool midtempo sections which are accented by the aforementioned mildly amusing pseudo-thrash groove riffs. These sections seem to be very popular in groove and numetal, but they are also found in real metal as well. The drums, too, though, are a double edged sword-- for they are nothing spectacular. Granted, I have heard simpler, less involved drum patterns from other artists (maybe from the 70's or 80's!) but as I delve further into extreme metal, I'm starting to get really bored with anything that isn't spectacular. So except for a scant couple good tracks, nothing special here.

Vocals leave something to be desired as well. They're very numetal sounding, not surprisingly. I may like numetal, but I think the only really good numetal vocalists are in Mushroomhead and Demon Hunter. Whoever this guy is, I'm never good with names, is not necessarily bad, but he's nothing I haven't heard before. Also, there is a near total absence of clean sung vocals, which I've always thought of as a requirement for being "metalcore." I could always be wrong. Also, the lyrics are pretty stereoypical for numetal, especially the track "Fuck You," or whatever it's called. I've heard the themes presented on this album so many times that it's aggravating.

Finally, the bass. My ears are not very well attuned to hearing bass most of the time, but what I do hear is the stereoypical "mallcore bass." Even as I am a mallcore fan, I do not enjoy mallcore bass. I prefer the bass guitar sound that is found in death and black metal.

Also, on a completely different note, there were some electronics on one song in an intro, and I thought that was totally pretentious given the nature of the rest of the album.

The final verdict: this pretty much sucks, even by numetal standards. This is not more "metal" than "core," in fact, it's neither. It just another example of a numetal band that thinks it's metalcore because they have screaming and maybe some breakdowns. In my opinion, this is not even worthy of being on this site; it's only here because it counts as a non-metal side project of Dimebag Darrell, and if it was just an Average Joe band, it would have been turned away quicker than that guy who said that Devildriver is "death/ black metal" (which is total fucking bullshit!). Now, because I like this kind of stuff, it's fairly all right with me, but I'm trying to warn the rest of you: IF YOU DO NOT ABSOLUTELY ADORE NUMETAL/ MALLCORE, DO NOT BUY THIS ALBUM-- YOU WILL FUCKING HATE IT!!!

Not horrible. not excellent. Disappointment. - 70%

WitheringToSerenity, July 30th, 2004

Upon listening to this album I was most likely like every other person here basically basing its success or how good it is in comparison to Pantera. Is it helpful? Not really. Is it going to stop me even though its not entirely fair? heck no! Will this ever touch Vulgar Display or the majority of there work? God no!!! But if I were to say this was an enjoyable listen I would say easily yes. It has its songs at least(which arent too many in my opinion)

Vocally it gets occasionally irritating when Lachman tries to emulate Anselmo. The vocals are strong nonetheless but nothing that hasn't been topped dozens of times already. Musically is the biggest disappointment as well as well as lyrics. "F**k you" in particular. Fitting Corey Taylor helped with the song. This might as well be a Slipknot outtake and I hate them with an undying passion. No other lyrics really stand out and the music is headbangable but for Dimebag I think its safe to say its a disappointment. I've read mallcore influences and possible nu metal influences in this album to the point of selling out.

Damageplan sounds very modernized or mainstream you could say. The riffs are much more simplified yet still heavy(not a thrash heavy either) with lots of groove. The drumming screams AVERAGE or possibly lower throughout every song in this reviewers opinion as well. The other main issue is what with the solo's? They are solid but I expected much more from that axe player!!! Taking it easy for the masses? Bleh! Anyhow the songs are not that consistent. I would say there is the occasional filler here and a certain urge to skip certain tracks. If you can barely tolerate Pantera and despise the mainstream sound, I would say there is next to no chance you will like this music. For those of you that can tolerate a bit of nu influence give it a shot. I dont think its worth buying and its nowhere near Pantera's level but its not bad. Decent and disappointed. If you like your metal(semi) modernized, give it a shot.

Favorite tracks: Reborn, Breathing New Life, title track.

It sucks. - 6%

GrimAndFrostbitten, February 15th, 2004

Welcome to yet another of GrimAndFrostbitten's self-torture rituals. Today, we look at Damageplan, who are probably the most mallcore band, from their genesis at least, on the entire Metal Archives site.

Though there are some metal riffs and even a few solos, some of them from the overrated realm of Zakk Wylde, and some hearkenings to Pantera and southern sludge, it's mostly full of Drop-D, chugga chugga mallcore. Most of the guitar work sounds like it came directly out of a Korn, Slipknot, or Drowning Pool album, relying mostly on distortion. The vocals are weak and could also have been taken right out of a Korn or Slipknot album, and sometimes an Alice in Chains or Tool album when done cleanly on songs like "Pride" or "Save Me," yet don't accomplish it. Mr. Slipknot himself, Corey Taylor, even shows up in one of the many insightful and creative songs on this album, "Fuck You," which is the "fast" song on the album that's mostly made to seem so through drum beats alone. However, there's not too much hard-rhyming/rapping as you might expect, and fortunately none of the "muthafukka" ebonics stuff that I can remember even with the "new found power" lyrical themes.

Also, the songwriting is bland and bad. The songs vary in pace and form, usually at about Far Beyond Driven pace with some fast parts like in "Fuck You" and "Crawl," though a lot of it often falls into the realm of ennui. There's still a very, very diluted metal basis at the bottom of this, but the vast majority is putrid and "modernistic" with fecal chunks of mallcore swimming around. The people sway in the borderlines between mallcore like Slipknot, bad metal like Pantera, bad metalcore like Hatebreed, think Metallica's returning to their roots with St. Anger, and so on will eat this lowest common denominator garbage up. Welcome to the future of metal.

Verdict? Tripe. However, I feel generous today, so I'll give it a 6%.