Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hellyeah - Blood for Blood album review

Hellyeah's fourth album, Blood for Blood, is a noticeably different affair to their first three albums.  They've still got the same distinctive, aggressive groove metal sound (mostly), but there's a newfound sense of maturity here.

To be fair, that's not that difficult considering most of the tracks on their first three albums were about drinking, partying, fighting and strippers.  Undoubtedly they're a band that certain sections of the metal community love to hate for exactly this reason - but I've always liked them purely because sometimes you just need some kickass groove metal, and not a 10 minute progressive epic that explores forgotten aspects of Greek mythology.

There's still plenty of pedal-to-the-floor groove metal Hellyeah in the form of Sangre Por Sangre (Blood for Blood), Cross to Bier, and Soul Killer while Say When, Demons in the Dirt and DMF are up there with the heaviest tracks this band has written.  Let's be fair though, if anyone can do this stuff well it's this band, given the Pantera pedigree in the form of drummer Vinnie Paul - and this time around they sound a lot more deadly serious about it than on the previous three albums, having upped the intensity and heaviness a notch or three.

The contrast comes with Moth, Hush and Black December - and they're probably the three best songs this band has written.   Rather than going for their standard all-out-sonic-assault-by-everyone formula, both tracks are a little more refrained musically, almost melancholy - the intensity is instead provided by Chad Gray's vocals and boy does he deliver on both tracks.

Given also the line-up changes that have occurred, with guitarist Greg Tribbett and bassist Bob Zilla leaving the band, it's probably fair to say this is a lot less a fourth album than it is the first album by a refocused Hellyeah.  

With its ten tracks clocking in at 39 minutes, Blood for Blood is a lean, focused, hard-hitting effort.  It's the best work Hellyeah have produced in their career so far, and if you'd gotten sick of the drinking songs already, now might be exactly the time to tune back in.

No comments: