Hellyeah Hellyeah

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent
Sunday, June 3, 2007 @ 10:55 AM

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Having listened to this CD on almost a daily basis over the past couple of weeks I decided to ask myself this question for no other real reason than to come up with at least something remotely introspective as an intro to this review:

What did Pantera, Nothingface and Mudvayne mean to me?

Well, for starters, Pantera, to me, were clearly the better band of the three and were undoubtedly one of the most important heavy metal bands to emerge in the last 20 years or so, having weathered as many musical fads as they had thrown at them before internal strife and Dimebag’s still-incomprehensible murder effectively ended them as a solid touring and recording band. Nothingface were one of the few bands in the early stages of the nu-metal genre with some potential in the form of some of their songs like “Bleeder” and “Here Come The Butchers” and I used to confuse their guitarist with KNAC.COM DJ Spyder back in the day (I think it was the cowboy hats that did it; then again, I once assumed that Diana DeVille sang backup for Bruce Springsteen so shows how much I know). Mudvayne in contrast did nothing for me musically although they did provide me with my first full-fledged flame war on the KNAC.COM rant boards (back when people actually discussed music on them) when I dismissed them as another lame angst-ridden Slipknot cover band big on gimmicks and short on talent to the ire of a few very dedicated fans who reminded me in a couple of blunt paragraphs about face paint and clown suits being gimmicks while ignoring Eddie, Vic Rattlehead and Angus Young’s schoolboy outfit, to which they had a point but I’d be damned if I could find more than one Mudvayne song I actually liked since then anyway.

With the resurgence of assorted members from all three bands in Hellyeah, there’s a lot to get into in their debut CD regardless of which of these previous bands you’re into. For starters, Chad Gray sounds like he’s outgrown his usual growling vocals in favor of a wider range of melodic singing, such as in songs like “Star” and the band’s message of thanks to its supporters titled, well, “Thank You” among others. Even the acoustic-laden slow groove drinking rocker with the silly yet catchy title “Alcohaulin’ Ass” showcases Gray’s hidden talent as an outlaw country & western-type crooner in the intro. For that matter, the acoustic performances of Greg Tribbett and Maxwell in “Alcohaulin’ Ass” as well as the electric dual guitar solo work in “You Wouldn’t Know” and “Matter Of Time” makes one wonder why Mudvayne or Nothingface never experimented further with guitar solos in more of their songs. Lyricwise, the only fault with Hellyeah is its repetitiveness in that while the CD and band name’s title track is solid I’m not sure if it needed to be rewritten and retitled again as “Goddamn” especially seeing as the former’s catchy chorus alone makes the latter sound a bit hollow and overwrought in comparison. And no matter how often you can squeeze “use me motherfucker” into the chorus of “Waging War” the anger and rage just doesn’t seem fully genuine when it’s a follow-up to “Matter Of Time” which to my view showcased both with more depth. The rest of the CD features a 50-second instrumental “In The Mood” and at least three or four other songs that at the very least could’ve saved nu-metal from descending into mall rock hell had they come out 5 years earlier even though at that time many of us were eagerly waiting for Pantera to follow up Reinventing The Steel anyway.

So, to sum it up about both the band and the album, don’t just purchase Hellyeah simply because it’s a relief to hear Vinnie Paul making music again after the loss of his brother. Or just because you’re of the opinion that Greg Tribbett and Maxwell may just be the greatest dueling guitarists since Glenn Tipton and KK Downing. Or just because you’re of the opinion that it’s the best CD Mudvayne never recorded. Purchase it simply because it’s a set of good songs recorded by 5 accomplished musicians from diverse backgrounds not letting their pasts define them and those songs in one form or another speak to you in different ways.

That alone merits a hell yeah.



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