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HellYeah - "Band Of Brothers" (CD)

HellYeah - "Band Of Brothers" CD cover image

"Band Of Brothers" track listing:

1. War In Me
2. Band Of Brothers
3. Rage / Burn
4. Drink Drank Drunk
5. Bigger God
6. Between You And Nowhere
7. Call It Like I See It
8. Why Does It Always
9. WM Free
10. Dig Myself A Hole
11. What It Takes To Be Me

Reviewed by on September 9, 2012

"Is it basically Pantera-lite? You bet — but the lack of originality isn't going to make a damn bit a difference when you crank this shit up and down a couple beers."

Listening to "Band Of Brothers," one gets the sense that HellYeah finally realized that it'll never completely escape the shadow cast by drummer Vinnie Paul's previous iconic band, Pantera — and mercifully gave up trying to do so. The end result is an album that ditches some of the clumsy southern rock of the band's previous two outings. Is it basically Pantera-lite? You bet — but the lack of originality isn't going to make a damn bit a difference when you crank this album up and down a couple beers.

The opener and lead-off single, "War In Me" is vintage Pantera, with Vinnie Paul's drumming digging out a groove for ax-men Tom Maxwell and Greg Tribbett to work their magic in. If neither one reaches Dimebag greatness, it isn't for lack of trying — especially in the solo, which has a familiar Ace Frehley-meets-Eddie Van Halen feel.

Much of the album follows the template laid out in "War In Me," with a few changes in tempo to keep things interesting. In fact, it's when the band deviates from the formula that things fall apart a little bit. Sure, Chad Gray's a more-than-passable clean vocalist, but after screaming his way through most of the preceding tracks, the opening of "Bigger God" feels out of place. When the band breaks out the acoustic guitars on "Between You And Nowhere," it drains a ton of momentum from the album. Maybe this song is the one meant to be played when the cops knock on your door after your neighbors have filed a noise complaint.

To be fair, the disc (somewhat like 2010's "Stampede," now that I think about it) does recover most, if not all of its momentum, building back up to an angry boil on the closer, "What It Takes To Be Me."

Lyrically, there's not a lot to parse over. Fighting, dope, booze, sex and life on the road are about the extent of it. Even with that said, stuff like "Drink Drank Drunk," in which the band says that the two reasons why they're here is "to party and kick ass and we're almost out of beer" is probably better if you're the one that drank all that beer.

Then again, I don't think poetry is what HellYeah's going for. What the band is going for is an album full of kick-ass rhythms and riffs perfectly tailored for beer-drinkin' and bar fights. Mission accomplished, boys.

Highs: "War In Me," "What It Takes To Be Me" and "Call It Like I See It."

Lows: The partly acoustic "Between You And Nowhere."

Bottom line: Yeah, it's basically Pantera-lite, but it works wonderfully.

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)