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Album Review: Hellyeah - Band of Brothers

20 July 2012 | 9:16 am | Brendan Crabb

A semi-reunion isn’t happening, so diehards best take this. Regardless of its shortcomings, Dime would approve.

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Punters have been cheerleading Pantera's Vinnie Paul and the ludicrously named Hellyeah, featuring Mudvayne's Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett, to make an impact, but their first two records barely caused a dent. While no grand statement that this is the metallers' best release yet, at least it's an improvement.

Their gestation was reminiscent of high-profile friends sitting around, barbecuing and downing shots of Crown Royal who made a record between starting bar fights and hitting up Paul's strip clubs. Although that unbridled sense of fun was apparent occasionally, it didn't have the spark of individual members' previous endeavours. This doesn't either, but opener, War In Me's Pantera-isms are instantly recognisable, sure to have disciples of Anselmo and co. roaring approval. Paul's returned to that signature drumming style and its grooves contain more fat than a midnight doner kebab. It's rather catchy, too. The title track retains that trademark down-tuned power groove. Much of the remainder follows a similar pattern, often channelling Dimebag's riffage without being an outright carbon copy. Gray's vocals also possess a more melodic, Slipknot-esque edge (bluesy Bigger God). There are a few memorable choruses, a Southern rock acoustic ballad (Between You And Nowhere), filler and some laughable lyrics. As lame-brained as it is, even the most cynical will at least guiltily chuckle at booze-a-thon anthem Drink Drank Drunk's sentiments. WM Free aside, it's a party record, not a cerebral exercise. Those able to lower their inhibitions (alcohol helps) will derive joy.

One could propose if anyone's entitled to borrow heavily from Pantera's blueprint, it's Vinnie Paul. A semi-reunion isn't happening, so diehards best take this. Regardless of its shortcomings, Dime would approve.