Bands from two disparate heavy metal camps — the old-school metal of Texas quartet Damageplan and the modern “nu metal” of Massachusetts-based Shadows Fall — displayed notable technical ability couched in brutal packages Wednesday night. Ultimately, Shadow’s Fall’s forward-thinking approach is easily the more impressive of the two.
Damageplan features two former members of legendary thrash outfit Pantera — guitarist Dimebag Darrell and his brother Vinnie Paul on drums — and the group strayed little from the sound and style that made Pantera one of the best metal bands of the 1990s. Damageplan vocalist Patrick Lachman not only sounds enough like former Pantera singer Phil Anselmo to warrant easy comparison, he also aped many of Anselmo’s stage moves, making clear he was a Pantera fan long before he joined Damageplan.
The signature style of guitarist Dimebag Darrell was the highlight of the 65-minute set, notably his extended solo during the track “New Found Power,” which included tastes of such influences as Ted Nugent and Eddie Van Halen.
Playing the support role, Shadows Fall offered an unrelenting sonic attack that combined the dual-guitar play and manic energy of Iron Maiden with a progressive hardcore approach that’s catapulted the quintet to the top of the nu-metal heap.
SF’s 50-minute set mostly comprised tracks from its recently released third album, the remarkable “The War Within,” which debuted at No. 20 on the SoundScan sales chart, making it the most successful release yet from L.A. metal label Century Media Records.
Band showed a rare ability to easily segue from uncompromising musical brutality to delicate, near-acoustic parts, as on “What Drives the Weak,” one of the standout tracks on the new album. Singer Brian Fair’s aggressive bellow, which ricocheted off the venue walls, is something of an acquired taste, while the complex and distinctive interplay of six-stringers Matt Bachand and Paul Romanko was outstanding for its clean sound and rapid-fire delivery.