June 26, 2014 Hellyeah – Blood for Blood (Album review)
Hellyeah, not just some slang or saying, also a killer band based out of the Lone Star state of Texas comprised of Mudvayne’s Chad Gray on vocals, Nothingface’s Tom Maxwell on rhythm guitar, newbie Bloodsimple’s Kyle Sanders on bass guitar, and the one and only Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Damageplan on drums. Originally formed as a side project back in 2006, the band has blossomed into a full-time job as they release their fourth studio album, Blood for Blood, via Eleven Seven Music in 2014. Following their 2012 efforts. Band of Brothers. this record is the first without original members Bob Zilla (bass) and Greg Tribbett (guitar). Featuring production from Kevin Churko, best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch, among others, the long wait for Blood for Blood is finally over.
Off the bat, the album artwork grabs the listeners attention, before even pressing play, giving them a slight glimpse of what they are in store with blood soaked hands. The album begins with the title track and lead single “Sangre Por Sangre (Blood for Blood)”. Beginning with Vinnie Paul hitting the drums with force and thumping power moves into the deep vocals of Gray giving way to a blistering rage. Providing for a great introduction to the album, this track allows fans to bang their heads to either the melodic aspects or those that just want scream with the aggression. Keeping up the metal “Demons on the Dirt”, is a fast-paced thrash track with plenty of melody as well for a great balance of brutality and beauty.
Intriguing enough, Hellyeah does not make Blood for Blood a one direction album full of just heavy tracks, they also show a mellower side on three impressive ballads. The first of the ballads is “Moth”, a lyrically honest piece featuring harmonic vocals by Gray bringing the words to life and surely connecting with listeners. Carefully placed throughout the album, to prevent the listening experience from becoming mundane, the track to follow is the furious single “Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)” with Gray putting on a vintage Mudvayne-like performance. Keeping the crushing sounds flowing is “DMF” with a groove and breakdown that will make many smile in approval. Those same feelings are reflected again in the catchy sing-along song “Gift”. Keeping up his amazing impressive vocal performance, Gray is all over the spectrum on this track showcasing why he is one of the most unique vocalists in modern rock.
After full-on assault the album goes back to the delicate approach with perhaps the most impressive ballad titled “Hush. This easy-paced tune is very light, but at the same time, extremely tranquil and captivating. It could easily be the best track on the entire album and proves some metal bands can slow it down and bring out some of their best creative work. With that said the next track absolutely destroys and is the heaviest on the entire album. Beginning like a classic Megadeth song, Gray soon comes in with screams that could wake the dead and leave the listener with a tightness in their chest from the sheer intensity. Paul’s drumming is so spot-on and electrifying leaving any Pantera lovers thoroughly satisfied. Already providing a quality mix of songs the album closes with the final of the ballad trifecta with”Black December”. Lyrically thought-provoking. there are many topics touched on here including the materialistic consumerism of the holiday season and most of all undertones of the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell. Unbelievably effective anyone who has ever felt the agony of loss can surely find comfort in this final song.
Blood For Blood is the kind of album fans should expect from Hellyeah; crushing, heavy hitting metal with some pleasant surprises. The album make take fans a few listens before words can be compiled to come up with the best way to describe it. Blood For Blood is up there as one of the best released in 2014 of all rock, metal bands/albums. Just like Chad Gray sings out in the song “Gift”, “this is a gift to all of you”. This is definitely the way a metal album should be, heavy, pounding, harsh vocals and having every song on it be incredible. CrypticRock give Blood For Blood 5 out of 5 stars.