Album Review: Hellyeah – Band of Brothers
Posted by Reggie
I always thought of Hellyeah as beer drinking metal; the kind of non-threatening music you can play loudly, chill out, and have a beer while talking about metal with buddies. I think we should petition for such a genre because there are other bands out there like that. I accepted that Hellyeah was not Mudvayne, Damageplan, or Pantera clones. I respect when musicians want to do something different. Therefore, I didn’t take them too seriously; just something to kick back to from time to time. If Hellyeah wanted to be taken seriously, they should have refrained from recording songs like Alcohaulin’ Ass and Thank You; two songs that treaded the fine line between rock and country. Don’t get me wrong, I still dug those songs for the most part, but they weren’t metal. Considering the stature of the band members, I think it confused fans.
Hellyeah’s new album, Band of Brothers, was released on 17 July and on my initial listen it’s plainly obvious that Vinnie and Co. upped the metal dosage this time around-all but leaving their Outlaw Southern Rock vibe behind. You can still hear that Southern influence, it’s just not as prevalent as it was on their first two albums. This could be a good thing for fans that were turned off by that particular influence. There is more metal going on here and dare I say…they sound more like their former bands.
As with their previous two albums, the first track, War In Me, comes out in full force. Hellyeah is good at doing that…coming out and letting fans know they can, in fact, rock! Then, their albums tend to change direction to a more Southern (beer drinking) feel before running out of steam all together. Does Band of Brothers follow suit? This isn’t the Hellyeah you got to know over the last few years. They have definitely stepped things up a bit with Band of Brothers.
The album holds up fairly strongly during the first three songs until Drink Drank Drunk begins. Wouldn’t you know it, a song about getting fucked up! I rest my case about starting a new genre. Anyway, Bigger God returns with a nice groovy drum and bass intro then segues to a great medium-tempo song that prevents the album from running out of steam so early. Between You and Nowhere is the predictable slow song on the album, but less cliché than some of their older toned-down nonmetal songs on previous albums. It’s a sing-along hold-the-pint-in-the-air song which borders on the country thing. Now I am beginning to worry.
My worries are quickly set aside when Chad Gray’s angry vocal style returns for Call it Like I See it. From then on, they newly invigorated Hellyeah maintains a new level of heaviness that I think fans and even non-fans have been asking for. WM Free is probably my favorite song right now; it has a real headbanging, finger snapping groove that sounds great turned up to number…11. Though I think Hellyeah may have struggled to win the hearts and devil horns of many metalheads, I think Band of Brothers will go over well with current fans and bring in some new ones…as long as they don’t hold grudges.