Meet the new band, same as the old band. Pantera veterans
Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul have returned to the metal scene as
Damageplan, and listening to New Found Power, it’s
clear that the guitarist and drummer wish their former band never
fell apart. They still churn out jackhammer rhythms, heavy-as-hell
riffs and 100-mile-an-hour solos.
Phil Anselmo, one of metal’s all-time best vocalists, has
been replaced with newcomer Pat Lachman, but fans will be shocked
to hear what sounds like Anselmo singing on the lead single
“Breathing New Life.” They’ll be further
surprised to find it’s not Alselmo at all, but Lachman
proving himself an able pretender as he flawlessly mimics
Phil’s growl. Hell, Lachman even looks like Anselmo.
Herein lies the band’s problem; it sounds way too much
like Pantera. It might be unfair to relentlessly compare Damageplan
to Pantera, but the band would elicit such comparisons even if it
didn’t include two ex-Cowboys from Hell. But Anselmo was the
heart and soul of the old band, something New Found Power
makes painfully clear. Lachman can scream, growl and even sing, but
he simultaneously fails to live up to or distinguish himself enough
from Anselmo to stand on his own.
New Found Power features a pair of notable guest
appearances. Slipknot’s Corey Taylor drops some F-bombs on
the aptly titled “Fuck You,” and guitar hero Zakk
Wylde, best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, slaps a solo on
“Reborn.” There’s little point to these
contributions, however, since Lachman and Dimebag, still two of
metal’s best shredders, could have handled these tasks
Damageplan fare better when they stray from the Pantera formula;
tracks like “Save Me” and “Blink of an Eye”
are heavy, yet melodic and catchy. If the band moves in this
direction they could be a force in metal, but until then Vinne and
Dime will have to work even harder to find their new identity.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.