Can I get a giant SHITYEAH for the latest Hellyeah release, Stampede? I must admit that in the past, the only reason I was able to tolerate this band is because of Vinnie Paul on the skins; never thought of the first album to be very impressive and a little overhyped. On this sophomore effort, my have things changed. Due to enhanced compatibility that comes naturally along with jamming with a group over time, Hellyeah has grown into a sick ass metal band.
Vocalist Chad Gray (Mudvayne) is not at all irritating on this release (or he has grown on me). I used to view Mudvayne, along with Lamb of God, as the poor man’s Pantera. At 38 years old, he has fully developed a sound that he can proudly call his own.
Although there are a lot of screams, growls, and and sometime a lack of vocal melody, there are actually many great melodic moments. “Hell of a Time” is an awesome track—best on the CD—that starts out light similar to “Acohaulin Ass,” but then rips with a thunderous groove from Paul.
The opening two tracks, single “Cowboy Way” and “Debt That All Men Pay,” along with the title track are all key highlights that fall on the side of pure brutality.
The power charged ballad “Better Man” (not to be confused with Pearl Jam’s hit song) is also a saucy little tune, containing a “Don’t Cry” feel during the verses.
“Stand or Walk Away” opens with a sweet guitar ditty then turns into a fist wielding stomp rawker. The intro of “It’s On” sounds like the rumbling heard on Anthrax’s “Crush” before taking on its own modern rock identity.
Greg Tribbett supplies the solid lead guitar work on the disc and contains some of his most mature playing to date. Whether he’s delivering well-thought out melodic leads or firing on all cylinders for a solo break, Tribbetts proves himself a worthy ax-master.
At eleven tracks, Stampede is the ideal album length and plays well from beginning to end—the way albums are meant to be heard (the iPod age has screwed that little known fact up). In conclusion, this is a sweet disc and easily the record of the week.
- “Cowboy Way”
- “Debt That All Men Pay”
- “Hell of a Time”
- “Better Man”
- “It’s On!”
- “Pole Rider”
- “Cold As a Stone”
- “Stand or Walk Away”
- “Alive and Well”
- “Order the Sun”