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That was pretty much my reaction upon actually finding this band on the Metal Archives. I picked up the album despite the presence of worthless nu-metal musicians because, hey, it was supposed to be southern rock/metal from Texas, so how bad could it be?
Very bad, as it happens. A southern rock album should have bluesy riffs, country music overtones and plenty of attitude. This has watered-down Pantera riffs, nothing even approaching country and the cliched, forced attempt at "attitude" one might expect out of a band comprised largely of nu-metallers. It must be said that they do make an attempt to sound country-ish on "Alcohaulin' Ass" (now there's a pun worthy of O. Henry), but it's painfully bad. Acoustic strumming, occasional slide guitar, and lyrics about dip and whiskey do not a make country song. They might make you sound like an idiot though, if you don't know what you're doing - and these guys have no idea.
Vinnie Paul was foolish for even getting involved with this; nonetheless, he's the best thing about this album - which, considering that he's never been all that spectacular, should tell you a lot about what to expect here. He does a decent job - but everybody else pretty much blows.
Tell me something: why does this band need two guitarists? They spend most of the album playing the same damn thing, except for when one guitar attempts a solo or carries a riff by itself for a few measures before the other one comes in playing...the same riff.
I use the term "riff" very loosely, because it's all power chords and chugging, interspersed with rip-offs of all Pantera's weakest moments. The solos are bad, too - very short, not too fast, and completely pointless in the context of the songs. There's really nothing on this album that you couldn't learn in your first month of playing guitar.
Mean while, the bass, when and if you can even hear it, does absolutely nothing striking. It's just sort of there.
And then there are the vocals. Ho-lee shit, son. For someone who tries as hard as this guy does to look like a badass on the album cover, this kind of whining is unforgivable. He moans along through such choice lines as "you couldn't be me even if you wanted to/everything I've been through/you wouldn't know" and "alcohaulin' ass/pour another drink in my glass" sounding just as pathetic as the singer from Mudvayne - oh wait, he IS the singer from Mudvayne. Aren't you the guy who was all got up in black and wearing eyeliner in the "Happy?" video? And now you're trying to be Texas cowboy? Psh.
When he's not moaning, he's...well, I don't want to say screaming, and I don't want to say growling, either. His harsh vocals are unique, but not at all in a good way. Nobody else sounds quite like him, and there is a good reason for that.
The album is about 45 minutes long, but it all starts to run together about 15 minutes in. Each successive song is just as uninspired as the last, and it's truly a chore to get through the whole thing in one sitting. Not that there's any reason to, except pure spite.
I suspect that most of the bashing of this album will come from metal purists, but a purist I am not. (I pretty much wrecked my purist status by giving Lamb of God's "Sacrament" a better review than Wintersun's self-titled). The fact is that this is just a weak album, by any standards. It covers ground that's already been covered countless times before, the musicians display little or no technical prowess, and the songs aren't even catchy. I'm no fan of Mudvayne or Nothingface, but even they are better than this - and Pantera sure as hell was. For a so-called "supergroup," Hellyeah is less than the sum of its parts.
Bottom line: if you're thinking about checking this out for Vinnie Paul, don't bother. If you're looking for a southern metal fix, don't bother. Even if you're a fan of Mudvayne, don't bother, because this is a million times worse. This album fails on every level: it's bad for what it tries to be, it's bad for what it is, and it's bad from a purely objective standpoint. I gave it five points because there are worse things out there, but there's really no reason to listen to this stuff. Pass on this one and get the Rebel Meets Rebel album instead - now THAT was southern metal done right. But Hellyeah? Hell NO!