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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.