“Stampede” by Hellyeah

Artist: Hellyeah
Title: “Stampede”
Label: Epic Records
Release Date: 7/13/2010
Genre: Heavy Metal/Southern Metal
Rating: 3.75/5

Before I begin this review I have to think back to my comments about the bands self-titled debut that we saw back in 2007. I’ll admit that it left me wanting a little bit more based on who was actually involved in the project and of course with most bands of this kind, I hardly expected a second release to ever see the light of day. That being said, Hellyeah has indeed returned and delivered unto those acolytes to their cause the album “Stampede” and after a couple of listens I had to say that the group seemed to be getting more comfortable in their skin. I know you might be ready to stone me for saying that but lets face it – just because members originally hail from Pantera, Mudvayne and more does not mean at all that their working together was going to make greater musical sense. I think that a lot of the reservations people had with their first album was that they expected too much from the Pantera/Damageplan side or too much of the technical Mudvayne side and I might have been guilty of that as well. What we get with Hellyeah is pure and simple drinking, rowdy, fist in the air Heavy Metal music. If you needed to lock in a particular genre for them I suggest we run with “Outlaw Metal” since it has a lot of rebellious drive to it.

The album begins with “Cowboy Way” and they make mention of a black-toothed grin which could be a tip of the hat, or whiskey bottle, to the always on our minds “Dimebag” Darrell. That made sense since this band is the current vehicle for the drumming talents of his brother Vinnie who is playing some solid drums from beginning to end. Chad and the boys lay down some sleazy sounding Country Metal with “Hell Of A Time” which appears to be the tune where they present their bare bones view on how they like to get loose. The press their foot to the pedal on the albums title track “Stampede” which has a lot of killer heaviness to it and what I perceived to be a definitive Pantera feel. “Better Man” gives us a new take on the heavy ballad and the song seems to be a very personal one as Gray sings about being a better man, and a bigger man than what he was familiar with as a boy. It was well done and might become a fast favorite for those who the words speak to the strongest. “It’s On” had some Mudvayne feel to it which I like as I didn’t expect Tribbett and Gray to wander too far away from the band that brought their names the notoriety that it did. The band also gives us their own take on “Girls, Girls, Girls” with the super groove-laden “Pole Rider” but believe me the comparisons end at the subject matter and this is a totally different feeling tune. Tribbett delivers some great guitar riffs around the entire album and just shows how good a player he really is. Of course I don’t think I even have to mention how cool it is to have Vinnie kicking ass behind the kick again and reminding us of how solid and respectable a player he is.

In the end there was a lot more going on with this one than I felt was happening with the debut and I was happy to find that being the case. If you happened to discount them after that release then I encourage you give them another shot as I did with “Stampede”. The band is making fans across the lines of the Mudvayne and Damageplan camps and now with the level of difference being offered is appealing to those who follow Five Finger Death Punch and older acts like Drowning Pool based on some similar vibes being delivered in their set. While I’ve not yet seen Hellyeah in concert I can only imagine that it’s a good time since I know full well how Gray handles the stage while fronting Mudvayne (a band I have seen a number of times over the years). There is a special edition of this release that comes with a DVD that features a live concert set.

Track Listing:
1. Cowboy Way
2. The Debt That All Men Pay
3. Hell Of A Time
4. Stampede
5. Better Man
6. It’s On
7. Pole Rider
8. Cold As A Stone
9. Stand Or Walk Away
10. Alive And Well
11. Order The Sun

Official Website: http://www.hellyeahband.com

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