REVIEW: HELLYEAH – “Unden!able”
The term ‘supergroup’ gets thrown around a great deal. In truth, few rarely deliver something worthy of being “super” outside of being a collective of household names, and even fewer can sustain the test of time. Thankfully, neither one of these cases apply to Hellyeah. Comprising of members of Mudvayne, Pantera and Nothingface, vocalist Chad Gray, guitarists Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady, drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Kyle Sanders have endured line-up changes and the test of time, and the current line-up is ready to unleash their fifth album, the savagery that is ‘Unde!able’.
The opening track (or intro) is simply titled “!” and is an instrumental piece that sets the tone and builds the tension up to the true beginning of ‘Unden!able’ found in the album’s first three tracks, “X”, “Scratch A Lie” and “Be Unden!able”. Already, we are met with a progressed Hellyeah as these tracks still retain the hard driving force that is found throughout the band’s catalogue, and yet, there is a blatantly strong development in their song-writing and delivery. Even the difficult task set in topping the commercial success of their previous album ‘Blood for Blood’ is well underway.
Guitarist Tom Maxwell said when talking about the record that, “It’s going to be moody, it’s going to be dark, it’s going to be crushing, it’s going to be heartbreaking, it’s going to be everything” and he wasn’t kidding! Found in some of the album’s strongest moments are some pretty big stylistic departures for these boys, who sing that they are “born and bred a metalhead”. A real standout track here is the (excuse the whoring of the album title) undeniable, no-punches-pulled “I Don’t Care Anymore”. Gray’s vocal delivery on these lyrics is both strong in its overcoming of, and fierce in emotion found within, his heartbreak.
If you think it stops there, you would be mistaken. Buckle up for what may come as a surprise as “Love Falls” hears Gray sing “every time I fall in, love falls out of me”, and the entire band take it down to a ballad-like level. A rare, collective vulnerability breaks through in this Seether-styled song. However, the pace is quickened again as a brief interlude of sirens introduces the psychotic “STARTARIOT” that, even though retreats to some older influences, will no doubt see venues demolished during its live appearances. Closing the album is the unfortunately anti-climactic “Grave”. Leading to the end with this broody (and in parts, doom metal) track fails to deliver the final punch one was hoping for here.
What may be points of controversy for fans in this album, others may be inclined to agree that these moments work to create an entirely new, though fitting dimension to ‘Unden!able’, and to Hellyeah as a band. Big in spirit, bold in its reach, vulnerable in its words and honest in its performance, ‘Unden!able’ is a fierce album that will see Hellyeah and their fans alike most proud.