Crunch freaks, your party album messiah of the summer has arrived.
It'll be hard to imagine a mainstream metal album getting more clock time in the waning days of the sun season than HELLYEAH's third full-length, "Band of Brothers". Keep your ear out in the parking lots as you venture to outdoor metal festivals, because more than likely you're going to hear this sucker belting out of concert tailgates all across the land. HELLYEAH is once again on the loose and there's no surprise what you're in for: smothering amplification, vulgarity galore and no other reason for being other than to party and kick some ass, to quote the jugheaded fourth cut on "Band of Brothers", "Drink Drank Drunk".
Cannonballs in pools, horns pumping in tandem at sweaty venues and six packs proffered as aphrodisiacs, herein is what HELLYEAH caters to, whether that suits you or not. For the third album in a row, Chad Gray, Vinnie Paul and their Marshall-blasting detonation crew come to wreck havoc and not much else, except to coax you into getting shitfaced with them. "Band of Brothers", like HELLYEAH's 2007 self-titled debut and 2010's "Stampede", is full of calculated boom, shaggy riffs, pile driving beat patterns and of course, reckless revelry. All set to well-familiar chunk rhythms and chewy melodies devoured from the MUDVAYNE spectrum of HELLYEAH's internal collective.
Chad Gray and Gregg Tribbett all but hijack "Band of Brothers" as a more undemanding rehash of the chug-a-chug brush-stroking combos from MUDVAYNE's latter-day, commercial-driven works such as "The New Game" and "Lost and Found". "War In Me", "Why Does It Always", "Dig Myself a Hole" and "Call it Like I See It" could've appeared on any of these albums, much less "The End of All Things to Come". All that's missing is the winding, algebraic bass maneuvers of MUDVAYNE's Ryan Martinie.
Nevertheless, HELLYEAH thrums as champs of amps with Gray and Tribbett, plus NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell, DAMAGEPLAN bassist Bob Zilla and drumming icon Vinnie Paul. The only real drag (aside from the largely dopey lyrics) is the repetitious shred and stamp motifs you've heard one too many times from MUDVAYNE, much less HELLYEAH. Most listeners seeking out "Band of Brothers" will hardly care, though.
Complexity is not what this band is about. Sparkling guitar solos and dynamic vocal ranges aside, HELLYEAH has a mostly singular attack plan, albeit it pays off dividends due to the full-on competence of each member. HELLYEAH brings their game with such calibrated gusto you almost overlook "Band of Brothers" redundancy ? especially if all you want to do is headbang and attempt to score with the hottie on the opposite end of the pit.
HELLYEAH do what they do apparently in their sleep, because "Band of Brothers" is seamless in its simple-minded mission to shake and bake metal-style. As ever, there are hints of PANTERA on the album, i.e. "Rage Burn" and "What It Takes to Be Me", but push comes to shove, "Band of Brothers" shoves hard, and that's what keeps you listening to it. The title track is a cranking call-to-arms for HELLYEAH's listeners who will probably be well on their way to ripped by the time the sophomoric "Drink Drank Drunk" huffs along. This pair of mindless scream fests is destined to become HELLYEAH's two most-demanded live tracks in the immediate future, the latter in particular. Nothing endears a rock band to its audience better than a little alcohol. Just ask Paul Stanley.
Chad Gray's trademark brooding and wailing suits HELLYEAH, even if it's still difficult to separate the introspective Chad Gray of MUDVAYNE from the rabble rousing loon helming HELLYEAH. That being said, "Band of Brothers" does come out on the better end of the stick because it accomplishes its primary goal, which is to gouge eardrums. HELLYEAH is hardly a serious group, but they possess a winning permutation of certified metal mongrels that can blow most of their AOR-dwelled competitors into the cheap seats.