Hellyeah – Band of Brothers (2012)

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Music

Since the 2004 onstage assassination of Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, the metal world has continued to strengthen itself from within. Fans have come together in drones, and the bond between bands, both externally and internally has is as strong as ever. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Hellyeah – a conglomeration of ex-Pantera,Mudvayne, Nothingface and Damageplan members.

After two mildly successful and mildly received albums, the band returns with another dose of southern-fried groove metal that finally breaks through the walls and brings the Pantera fans what they’ve been waiting for. It still has the gritty biker-rock sound of the south, but this time around, the band has focused more on the “metal” aspect and have decidedly stomped their collective boots into the ground as a force to be reckoned with.

As the album title and cover art suggest, the band is as cohesive as ever in this 10 track romp. Drummer Vinnie Paul is as strong as ever on drums, and his energy serves as the gas pedal for this hotrod cruise to hell – and he keeps it floored all the way.

That said, there is far more to the record than Vinnie showing off.  Guitarists Greg Tribbett and Tom Maxwell have truly stepped up their game here, and Bob Zilla’s bass lines remain thick and heavy – and all compliment the drum tracks fabulously. Honestly, though – the band has always been tight from a musicianship standpoint. It’s been the hit-or-miss stylings from Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray that has kept this supergroup from reaching superstardom. At times, he’s one of the best vocalist in metal, but then there are the occasions when Gray channels the late Jim Morrison and Layne Staley and gets a little full of himself. These are the moments that have derailed Hellyeah’s two previous releases, but I’m glad to say that it appears Chad finally “gets it.”, as his performance here is aggressive, simple, and sharp.

Maybe it’s the Phil Anselmo-like approach to the vocals that make this album sound so much better than its predecessors. There aren’t any breaks in the attack this time around, as each track punches you square in the face, then immediately lands a second roundhouse just to ensure it left the intended mark.

Gray even admits to this more metal-minded approach, stating, “I’m really excited about what we’ve done on this new album. I’ve always separated Mudvayne and Hellyeah as much as I could, even though it was my voice. Melodies, lyrics and just the overall style of writing were different. With ‘Band Of Brothers’, I just quit being afraid of who I am in relation to this band. I think we’ve all really gotten back to the original roots of what we’ve done individually and brought it together on this album. As an artist, as long as you’re painting with your own brush, no one can compare or challenge you. I just painted with a bigger, heavier brush than I had with Hellyeah in the past. I think this is what fans have always expected to hear from us, and now were giving it to them.

The first two tracks on the album have already been released to radio for airplay, but honestly, any track here could invade Sirius radio at any time. For me, the standouts are still unheard by most. “Drink Drank Drunk” has the perfect party atmosphere behind it without getting too far away from its head-banging roots, “Bigger God” simply takes your ears hostage for a few minutes with a brutal assault of smart lyrics and hammering rhythm, and “Call It” will get you bobbing your head whether you want to or not – it’s that infectious. But as strong as these tracks all are, they simply serve as appetizers.

The bite to really chew hard on and enjoy is “What It Take To Be Me.” Simply stated, this song is the blueprint to modern groove metal, with fat bass, driving drums, and the type of rebel swagger that defines the genre. Throw in a gasoline-drenched guitar solo, and Gray’s strongest vocal effort on the album, and it’s easy to see why this is the strongest track on Band of Brothers – or any Hellyeah album, for that matter.

If there is any disappointment in the album, it lies within “Between You and Nowhere” which is a softer piece that – while better than much of the last two albums – sticks out like a sore thumb with its slower pace and serious approach. I have a feeling Vinnie and company just let Chad have this one after kicking so much ass over the rest of the album, but for me it’s passable, and could have easily been replaced with another kick to the head.

Misgiving aside, this album smokes. I wasn’t expecting something this heavy – or this intense – but Vinnie, Chad and the boys found a way to take a good idea and make it a great one with this release. Open up that bottle of Jack, crack that Budweiser and swig down some of the best American metal you’ve heard in a long time.

8.5/10

Tracklist:
01. War In Me
02. Band Of Brothers
03. Rage/Burn
04. Drink Drank Drunk
05. Bigger God
06. Between You And Nowhere
07. Call It
08. Why Does It Always
09. WM Free
10. Dig Myself A Hole
11. What It Takes To Be Me

Buy at Amazon

Myspace: Link | Wiki: Link

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s