So, members of Mudvayne, Nothingface, Damageplan and Pantera walk into a bar. No, that's not the set-up to a cheap joke; rather it's the concept of good-times party-metal supergroup HELLYEAH.
That's right, they're back. Since the release of 2007's eponymous debut, the band likely suffered many hangovers but their knack for delivering groove-heavy and slightly formulaic metal has hardly faltered. One listen to "Stampede" indicates that all it took was some hair of the dog to get them back in line following frontman Chad Grey and guitarist Greg Tribett's short-lived reunion with their original band, Mudvayne. Together with drummer Vinnie Paul (ex-Pantera/Damageplan), co-guitarist Tom Maxwell (ex-Nothingface) and bassist Bobzilla (ex-Damageplan), the boozing boys are back to making music that perhaps no one enjoys listening to more than they enjoy making.
It may be their second album, but it may as well be an extension of their first. Grey still spits and screams songs about cowboys that actual cowboys probably wouldn't listen to while the band chugs along at a consistent pace. "Hell of a Time," the penultimate HELLYEAH tune, is a prime example of this. Not much has changed in three years and in that respect, this effort can't help but feel a bit sophomoric and immature. What made for a relatively fun and easy listen the first time around doesn't exactly translate here. Grey's lyrical content seems to be getting sillier and sillier, with the album's title track only serving to further alienate him from the crowd that followed him from his primary gig. Meanwhile, the band - while competent and consistent - do little to break from routine, making this set about as exciting as a marathon of "Everybody Loves Raymond."
If you really truly loved (and I mean LOVED) HELLYEAH's debut, there's no reason not to dig this as well. In a way, it's the same record, yet the youthful energy that fueled the band in its beginnings seems be drying up like a drunk waking up in the desert. For those of us who grew up on Pantera and maybe even Mudvayne, "Stampede" amounts to little more than a cheap buzz.