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Black 'N Blue - "Hell Yeah" (CD)

Black 'N Blue - "Hell Yeah" CD cover image

"Hell Yeah" track listing:

1. Monkey (4:03)
2. Target (4:20)
3. Hail Hail (5:34)
4. Fools Bleed (4:45)
5. C'mon (2:39)
6. Jaime's Got The Beer (0:55)
7. Angry Drunk Son of a Bitch (3:28)
8. So Long (4:02)
9. Trippin' (0:46)
10. Falling Down (4:45)
11. Candy (4:14)
12. Hell Yeah! (3:59)
13. World Goes Round (4:32)
14. A Tribute To Hawking (1:21)

Reviewed by on June 30, 2011

"'…you'll come away a little high and feeling like you were recently transported to a world of spandex and Aqua Net.'"

After a painfully long hiatus, the 80's glam band Black 'N Blue is finally back with a powerhouse of an album appropriately titled "Hell Yeah." After serving as stand-in for Jani Lane in Warrant, Black 'N Blue frontman Jaime St. James is back with most of his original crew (original guitarist Tommy Thayer has moved on to replace Ace Frehley), and other than a few exceptions, the wait has definitely been worthwhile.

The album opens with the same fire and energy the band was known for in the 80's with the upbeat hard rock tune "Monkey." A rumbling bass gets things started and then Shawn Sonnenschein proves that he can wield a guitar just as well as Thayer. All the familiar Black 'N Blue elements are there: sleaze, shreds, shrieks, and fun lyrics. This is a great way to get things started.

The first, and one of the few, bumps in the road comes along in the third track, "Hail Hail." It starts out strong as an ode to rock n roll, with a little gruffer sound, but the overlay of spoken recordings around the middle of the song just don't fit, and the harsh male voice yelling something unintelligible sort of reminded me of a recording of one of Hitler's speeches, which isn't something I want mixed in with an otherwise solid glam song.

One of the things Black 'N Blue has always done well is the rock anthem. "C'mon" is a great example of this, and though it's short, it packs a heck of a punch. This is pure fun hard rock with a killer shred to close out the track. Following that is one of a couple tracks that some may call comic relief and others may simply hate. "Jaime's Got The Beer" sounds like something that was dreamed up at a late night recording session, and possibly even recorded then, as the guys sat around popping open beer cans (which is how the song opens). So it doesn't add anything musically to the album, but it's still amusing.

"Angry Drunk Son of a Bitch" sounds like a not so nice ode to Jani Lane, but then they turn around and manage to sound a lot like Warrant with the song "Candy." This sexually charged "Cherry Pie" type track is silly but irresistible. The title track is another hard-hitting sleaze tune with some impressive shred work in the breakdown.

The next track, "World Goes Round" deviates a bit from the formula, with a middle eastern sounding intro – is that really a sitar? This is the most original track, and though it's more mellow than the others, it still has an anthemic feel.

The only real letdown is the closer, "A Tribute To Hawking." The Spanish guitar seems out of place and the vocals sound like a troll sang them. Though the other shortened tracks that were meant to be humorous actually were, this one was a definite fail, and a terrible way to close out an otherwise great album. Still, everything else is good enough that you'll come away a little high and feeling like you were recently transported to a world of spandex and Aqua Net. For glam fans, this is a definite buy.

Highs: There's not much about the album that isn't good, if you're a fan of anthemic 80's glam.

Lows: The album closer is a waste of time and misses the mark at being funny.

Bottom line: "Hell Yeah" is unapologetic traditional Black 'N Blue glam metal at its best, with lots of shreds and melodic vocals, but with a few surprises.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)