Crime Records

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hellyeah - Blood for Blood Review

Band: Hellyeah
Album: Blood for Blood
Label: Eleven Seven
Genre: Groove Metal / Heavy Metal

Country: USA
Release Date: June 10th, 2014

Hellyeah's " Blood For Blood" will make you bleed. Music is supposed to make you feel things and this expresses rage, disgust, and compassion. The compassion is what slayed me because it wasn't sappy, poor me shit. The lyrical themes revolve around the suffering we have all experienced from heart break to self destructive behaviors to an abusive childhood. The ills of society are the thread that connects them. Hell is a prominent theme , as well as fire and blood , and pain- lots of it.

Hellyeah comes off as brutal , lead-footed groove metal but with a classic heavy metal underpinning. The percussion pummels , the guitars are down - tuned and buzzed yet have a melodic sensibility that is connected to the drumming by the bass guitar. This is a slick production , creating a wall of thick sound that is evident in all the songs. I did not want to skip over any of the tracks.

" Sangre por Sangre ," the title track en Espanol , is a commentary on the state of the Union so to speak. Democracy is hypocrisy / a dictatorship is what we need / because really what's the fucking difference / so come on in and take a seat / listen to the lines they love to preach / because the truth we would see is fucking senseless. It's a no-lube , ear-fuck kind of song. Of similar note are the tracks " Demons in the Dirt , " "Soul Killer , " Gift , " and " Feast or Famine."

" Cross to Bier ( Cradle of Bones ) " and " DMF " ( Die Motherfucker ) are fist pumping , head banging anthems that I devoured. " Say When " has a fast , relentless pace that is hardcore down to it's roots. Throw in a sweet time change at the end of the verse and I had to lean back in a groove induced ecstasy and say " Fuck Yeah ! "

When it comes to slowing it down , Hellyeah surprised me a bit. I don't like slow , sappy songs or power ballads. They make me puke. That's a personal preference. That means if I hate it , a large part of the population will love it and push it right to the top of the charts. Not so with " Blood for Blood's " three slower tracks. They deal with sensitive issues in a confessional manner but with such finesse I was powerfully moved.

The most evocative song is " Hush . " The chorus is catchy with the drums mimicking the stomp of an angry man's feet and the jangle of the guitars bring to mind the metallic " chink " of a belt buckle. Gray's voice pushes a world of hurt and anger into the words: Hell's where I was born / Hell's where I was raised / This hell is where I am from / And this hell is where I will stay. This verse mixes the subtle with the obvious and is perhaps why the song is so powerful. There is an acoustic , stripped down version at the end that only amplifies the shivering rage and pain in Gray's voice. This song brought me to my knees and that's not easy to do.

" Blood for Blood " stripped away the delusions of brotherhood that Hellyeah tried to shove down our throats with " Band of Brothers." In retrospect , I see the last album's theme in the context of the band as a whole trying to kid themselves that things were working. With the departure of guitarist Greg Tribbett and bassist Bob " Zilla" due to headspace problems , and the addition of Kyle Sanders , formerly of Blood Simple , there is a stripped down focus to this new entity. The signature sound is still there , only thicker and richer but Gray's lyrics are no longer political. Passion infused each song as a unit. They were effectively able to plumb emotional depths with an honesty that catalyzes awareness.

1. Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
2. Demons in the Dirt
3. Soul Killer
4. Moth
5. Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
6. DMF
7. Gift
8. Hush
9. Say When
10. Black December

Total Playing Time: 39:25


R.A.B. 6-24-14