“Below The Belt” by Hellyeah

Artist: Hellyeah
Title: “Below The Belt”
Label: Epic Records
Release Date: 11/13/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

After the release of their self-titled debut the Heavy Metal band Hellyeah embarked on a number of high-profile tours that not only allowed them to be enjoyed by a larger audience but also gave them the opportunity to film enough material to present to us on their very first DVD. Hellyeah is labeled as a super group and while there are some members of note in the band I admit that I am growing tired of the term as it’s starting to lose its luster based on the overuse that it has been getting. Whitesnake and Asia were super groups but crap like Rockstar Supernova was NOT. Truth be told, Hellyeah’s membership roster does feature some stalwarts in both the Heavy Metal and Nu-Metal world and their debut album was not that bad a listen even though it was given a mixed reception across the board. I like that it didn’t follow suit in the sounds we know from these guys other bands and instead took a different route which allowed it to remain a little more on the fresh side. I could carry on about the album, this review is about their feature film so let’s get back to that shall we? There was an inherent cool factor that these guys were finally able to create their “super group” but I wondered if it was a good idea to release a home video piece only seven months after the debut album. Since the music business in indeed a business and needs to capitalize on popular things when a mark is hit it makes a little more sense. Given the members comprising the group, Hellyeah had hit a particular demographic immediately and for those who don’t know much about who makes it all happen here is a little recap of their members: Vinnie Paul (drums), Chad Gray (vocals), Greg Tribbett (guitar), Tom Maxwell (guitar) and Bob Zilla (bass). You might be familiar with their original bands of Pantera, Damageplan, Mudvayne and Nothingface. Together they bring to the table a little bit of Metal that’s got a Southern Hard Rock vibe happening. We have seen this sound making an appearance with bands like Artemis Piledriver and Alabama Thunderpussy to name a few and while the guys were releasing something new the existing fan bases they had in their bands – the curious would come to seek it out just the same. It’s not bad when that happens as you are bound to sell good when you have a ready made fan at your disposal.

When I put the film on I have to say that I felt a little disappointed when I realized that it was not a full live show at all and instead a bunch of backstage clips and segments of them meeting the press, mingling with their fans, and running around being a band who likes to party. Judging by the content, anyone who has ever purchased a band DVD knows full well that this kind of footage is often reserved for the extras disc that can be enjoyed once the full concert film has been completed. When it is presented to me in this fashion I don’t mind it but if it’s only this type of content then I have an issue because I feel this is the cheap cash grab move being taken. I also feel that when a band does it like this they are guaranteeing that a good chunk of their public will pass on it as this is more for the supreme diehard who wants to see them talk to fans or drink or sit in the studio room. This is a shame as DVD sales are ever increasing and some of the most successful ones of 2007 were the Heaven And Hell show from Radio City Music Hall and the Queensryche “Mindcrime” show but these successes were not based only on the performance quality but in the fact that it was the full show as well as some cool extras. I felt that the amount of touring that Hellyeah undertook should have found them bringing a couple of different shows to the table for the home viewer. Of course it is a nice peek into the bands daily lives and how they view this project on the whole but if you are not one of those fans who must have this kind of information then you would be more inclined to pass on it. The upside that I did take from it was that the band members enjoy doing this together and seem dedicated to keep it running when their main bands are not as busy. They include the bands two videos as a part of their own bonus features.

Chapter Listing:
1. Making The Album
2. The Release Party
3. Baltimore – May 20,2007
4. The Crew
5. World Tour
6. Meet The Press
7. Making The Video
8. US Summer Tour
9. Thank You

Official Website: www.hellyeah.com

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