Many of you might have asked how life would be for the single musicians after the split of PANTERA. You never had to worry about Phil Anselmo because with SUPERJOINT RITUAL, DOWN and another musical projects, the former frontman of one of the most influental Metal bands of the last fifteen years has enough to do. Rex Brown, the former bass player of them, was also into DOWN and applied at DAMAGEPLAN to take over the four-stringer job. In the end, he wasn’t into the band due to personal differences. With the brothers Vinnie Paul (drums) and Diamond “Dimebag” Darrell (guitars), the last two former PANTERA musicians follow the path of rebirth and want to make some swirl with DAMAGEPLAN.
Band name as well as title of the record suit perfectly. DAMAGEPLAN’s music is destroying and extremely thick and those, who missed a bit refreshness on the last PANTERA record “Reinventing The Steel”, will be perfectly served. And then we come to the title of the record, which describes the content with simply three words. “New Found Power” brings back the freshness, they lost mostly because of internal fights and shows how it must be. All who still mourn about PANTERA and couldn’t deal with the band split until today, should be helped with DAMAGEPLAN. The band was then strenghten by another two excellent musicians. The vocal duties are professionally provided by Pat Lachman, guitar player of Rob Halford, and he convinces on “New Found Power” with his variable voice, which handles all imaginable situations. The vacant position of the bass guitar is then filled with Shawn Matthews, who at last played in the band of Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS).
So, four full blooded musicians united. Merely this fact lets hope for great works but I think, nobody had expected such a record. DAMAGEPLAN have everything, a hard Metal record needs. Tons of murderous riffs, filigree drumming, a brooding bass and an unlimited various singing. Frontiers between Power, Thrash and New Metal are torn down and there are also some rocky hints to point out. Another fact, which is interesting, is that there is also room for Blues and Southern Rock elements besides all traditional elements and makes clear, that the single musicians seem to have a broad musical spectrum. Already the massive opener “Wake Up” blows you off and also here is the title very expressive, because there’s no time to sleep anymore. “Breathing New Life” hits you once again and in view of this unbelievable sound wall, also psychos like SLIPKNOT or DOWNTHESUN can pack up and leave. This is alternate Metal but with a clear handwriting of both ex-PANTERA members and so, they are out of competition, there is nothing to compare with.
The titletrack is the same pressuring and hits you right with the first spin. Always impressive is the very variable voice of Pat Lachman, with his entrance, they have got a pretty charismatic shouter. “Pride” shows DAMAGEPLAN with more rocky influences and they groove through this earcandy like a steamroller. “Fuck You” is then again full in your face and crushes your ears with the support of Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT). The shouter of the nine psychopaths from Iowa seems to predestinated for such songs. Just think of “Surfacing” from his mainband or of his guest appearance on the SOULFLY song “Jumpdafuckup”. Then it goes on with “Reborn”, an almost traditional Metal hymn, which is dominated by the raspy voice and musically, it’s hold in midtempo. But then follows already the next neckwrecker, “Explode” is really brutal while “Save More” goes again more in a Rock direction. „Cold Blooded“ leads then again back to the Metal path and has much pressure to offer.
But the power won’t decrease until the very end of the record and “Crawl” is actually a typical PANTERA crusher, which temporary pushes the pedal decently. More moderate but as well great comes out “Blink Of An Eye” just to go over in a few minutes into the next earcandy track “Blunt Force Trauma”. This song contains also this omnipresent groove of this album and their enthusiasm to their music is incredible on “New Found Power”. The finish is then done by the heavy “Moment Of Truth” and the elevated and with beautiful acoustic guitars ennobled ballad “Soul Bleeded”, where Jerry Cantrell of ALICE IN CHAINS appears. Steely heart, what do you want more? DAMAGEPLAN did it all right and created a bestial album, which is unique. It’s a must have for every sophisticated Metalhead. Period! (Online February 28, 2004)