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New Found Power (Elektra)

For a decade and a half, Phil Anselmo was the leering little devil perched upon the shoulders of Pantera's Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell, goading them on to much nastier, ever more carcinogenic metal than one got the feeling these two Van Halen-lovin' Texans were ever really into.

But with Anselmo ditching the Cowboys from Hell in favor of his Down and Superjoint Ritual projects, the brothers have recruited former Halford guitarist Patrick Lachman to front Damageplan, a new group that blends Vulgar Display of Power-era torque and testosterone with cast-iron melody.

Lachman is a sound frontman, tempering the roar of a wounded water buffalo with a strong upper register that reaches Chris Cornell's glass-shattering heights on "Soul Bleed," the album's acoustic closer. But Damageplan fares much better at rage than restraint; it's at its best on the dumb but imposingly savage thrash throwback "Fuck You" while grinding out economy-sized riffs on "Reborn."

All this New Found Power is undermined, though, by Lachman's clumsy, left-foot lyrics. The singer sounds like the punch line to a Jim Rome bit when bellowing, "Do you think that you're better than me!" on the album opener, "Wake Up," and doesn't fare much better on rote rippers "Explode" and "Pride," the latter of which this dude obviously lacks.

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More by Jason Bracelin

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