It may have taken 3 albums, but metal super group HELLYEAH has finally found their niche. HELLYEAH is a band featuring members from Nothingface, Damageplan, Pantera, and my personal favorite, Mudvayne.
Looking back at their first two releases, they seem very different from their latest release, Band of Brothers. Their self-titled debut dug into the familiar realm of Southern rock, but had a little edge to it. A few years later, Stampede came out and brought whole mess of feel good party metal with the Southern metal. Songs like Hell of a Time reigned supreme on the radio and annoyed the fuck out of me. At least Alcoholin’ Ass has a more authentic feel to it than some songs on Stampede.
I will admit, I lost a lot of interest after Stampede. I was even more furious when they stated they were working on another album. I didn’t want another HELLYEAH album. I wanted another Mudvayne record.
But the super group managed to flip the switch with interviews stating that they are looking more into their roots (ie: Pantera/Mudvayne/etc). I had hope, but was cautious.
Most of my doubt was gone when they released their single War In Me. Which hit fucking hard and you can feel the energy and anger resonating from the song. It felt like old times, but with a new tone.
I was ready for Band of Brothers.
BoB tears open with their single War In Me, which was a hard hitting, fast paced, fit of anger that I have not heard in quite some time. It doesn’t stop there. The title track, Band of Brothers, brings the groove we have been missing. In fact, a lot of the guitar riffs are very Dimebag-ish. Some groovy licks mixed with a fair amount of chugging.
Most of this album contains a lot of heaviness that has been missing with their previous releases. Notable songs include WM Free, Why Does It Always, and Rage/Burn, which plow through your ears with heavy guitar riffs and Vinnie Paul’s hard-hitting drums.
But the album does have some mellow elements. The most notable is the haunting Between You and Nowhere. The intro of the song is so poignant, and creepily reminiscent of Pantera’s Suicide Note, pt 1, but keeps the southern charm that of Alchoholin’ Ass.
The whole band really clicks on this one. Greg Tribbett and Tom Maxwell bring their force on guitar, delivering a few sweet grooves, tight chugging, and ripping guitar solos when needed.
Bob Zilla releases the thunder on bass providing some extra groove and the much needed low end.
I had a hard time deciding who should get most of the credit here; Chad Gray or Vinnie Paul.
Gray really pulls out some great vocals on the album. He can pull some ripping growls, smooth sorrowful singing, and some low sung grumbling the likes of Phil Anselmo. It’s not his best vocal work, but it is a great display of what he can do.
While some song’s lyrics are not very deep, others shine on their themes of rage and the occasional sadness.
The last great aspect of the album is Vinnie Paul. His drumming hasn’t been as prominent as it has been on BoB. Vinnie still has one hell of a sense for groove. He rolls strong on the album closer What It Takes To Be Me. All throughout the album, he puts out a great effort of drumming that of Far Beyond Driven or Vulgar Display of Power. While BoB may not be as thrashy, there is a hell of a lot of groove that strongly exists in the drumming. Vinnie definitely shows his chops on this album.
The only problem I have is that it gets a little bland and at times, repetitive. I swear I hear the same exact guitar riffs in almost 3 different songs. Along with that, not much of it is very memorable. Besides two or three songs, most of them don’t stand out individually. They hit a peak, and then they just kind diminish down.
While HELLYEAH is neither Pantera nor Mudvayne, they still manage to bring something good to the table. BoB is certainly their best album to date, bringing all the ferocity that one would expect coming from a metal super group and still managed to keep their laid back drinking/partying moments. Though not every song is a hit, the good ones are really good. BoB is a huge step in the right direction for the band.
One a personal note: please finish your touring quick and let Chad and Greg get back to Mudvayne. I mean, to release an album (one of their best) and NOT tour? You’re breaking my balls, guys.
Band of Brothers – 8/10
- War In Me
- Band Of Brothers
- Drink Drank Drunk
- Bigger God
- Between You And Nowhere
- Call It
- Why Does It Always
- WM Free
- Dig Myself A Hole
- What It Takes To Be Me
Band of Brothers is now available via Eleven Seven