Damageplan's modus operandi appears to be "ass-kicking". The band members don't talk about much else. Seriously, they're all about kicking ass. Musically, of course. This band of Texas natives (a state known for its propensity to kick ass and to export ass-kicking cowboys that go on to rule the country) wants to keep its style exciting and new. Damageplan wants to kick your ass in a multitude of painful-yet-satisfying ways. New Found Power is the band's first effort, its first attempt at carrying out that agenda.
Even though New Found Power is the band's debut, the members are all experienced ass-kickers. Two of them, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, played in the extraordinarily, relentlessly loud '80s metal outfit, Pantera. And no offence to these legends, but they look the part. Both appear to have endured as many pummelings as they've dealt out. But it's cool -- all part of living the dream.
Pat Lachman, the band's singer, played guitar in Diesel Machine and Halford. I don't know much about those bands, but if Lachman's vocals are any indication, both existed for relentless loudness as well. With the addition of drummer, Bob Zilla, Damageplan had its complete roster. The band could now commence kicking ass with its New Found Power.
The album kicks off with "Wake Up", a deceptively quiet song -- initially. About 40 seconds in, Lachman assumes the Rock position and starts screaming and grunting into his microphone. Dimebag Darrell cranks out the high-speed, high-volume riffs that have defined the metal genre since the '80s. Vinnie Paul pounds out a plodding, heavy-handed rhythm ideal for head-banging, moshing, and, that's right, kicking ass.
Track three, the title track, features the album's catchiest riff, one that ventures above the nearly subsonic, bone rattling hooks of the other tracks. Darrell's recognizable notes disappear quickly, however, and descend into the muddled low-end that drives the rest of the album. The rhythms that Zilla, Paul, and Darrell create are certainly easy to move to. Simple back and forth motion of the body, the head, or both could count as dancing to this music; however, there's absolutely nothing challenging about it.
An attention span of any length isn't really necessary because -- aside from a constant, driving rhythm, repetitive riffs, and unintelligible lyrics about (I'm assuming) kicking ass -- there's nothing of interest to pay attention to. And it's not really possible to focus on the aforementioned attributes, either. They tend to either a) put one into a trance where, in the pit, broken bones and pulled hair don't hurt, or b) give one a pounding headache that leads the listener to turn off the stereo.
While researching the band, I looked up the lyrics to the title track. Here's a sample: "It's time to rip the chain from your neck / Let go of the past as you purge / Free now from everything weighing you down / Open the floodgates and surge with / New found power." Then I checked the words to "Reborn": "Identity murdered, malicious intent / I'm recreating myself at last / Rise up from destruction, start over again / Reborn, I'm now erasing the past." Then I took a peak at "Wake Up": "Cling to skeletons, fearing change / Paralyzed thinking, what the future will bring / You're killing everything!" Then I stopped looking.
Damageplan certainly succeeds in kicking ass. I'm sure that many fans who love this band kick the crap out of each other whenever they listen in groups. However, the backbone of this group -- that guttural, microphone-gripped-like-a-weapon machismo -- is what really kicked my ass. I'm not in the least bit interested in where this band goes or what new and exciting ways they'll think of to abuse the listeners.