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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.