Review Summary: Hellyeah? More like a "yeah, probably not".
For awhile, this was my single favorite band in the universe. Based on my fandom of Pantera and Mudvayne, I thought this would be balls-out awesome, and for a while I thought it was. I was young and incredibly stupid back then, I'll admit. Now, when I listen to any Hellyeah record, I see them for what they truly are: a painfully generic groove-metal "supergroup" that borders on terrible. And that all started with the band's self-titled 2007 debut. For a quick refresher, the original lineup featured here is Chad Gray (vocals) and Greg Tribbett (guitar) of Mudvayne, Tom Maxwell (guitar) of Nothingface and Bob Zilla (bass) and Vinnie Paul (drums) of Damageplan and Pantera in Paul's case.
You might expect Hellyeah to sound like a combination of progressive nu-metal and groove metal. Instead, they are a Southern-rock inspired groove metal band that is woefully average at best and terrible at worst. From the opening titular track to "Goddamn" and the final track "One Thing", Hellyeah the album is a record full of bored guitar chugging from Tribbett & Maxwell (fun name for a Southern law firm specializing in DUI cases), lackluster drumming from Paul and nearly inaudible bass lines from Zilla.
However, the single worst offender on Hellyeah is vocalist Chad Grey. His vocal style is not necessarily the problem, as it (mostly) fits into Hellyeah's groove-metal sound. However, when he tries to go country on the unmitigated dogshit party tune "Alcohaulin' Ass", the results are hilarious. Grey literally possesses not an iota of twang to his voice, which is necessary to sing Southern rock. All of this means that the vocals on "Alcohaulin' Ass" are so dull that it almosts sound like Chad was forced to record them at gunpoint. The music that accompanies said vocals on "Alcohaulin' Ass" is not much better, as it tries so hard to be Lynyrd Skynyrd that you almost expect the ghost of Ronnie Van Zant to show up and start shooting motherfuckers because of how offended he would feel.
In fact, the biggest problems on Hellyeah are the words that exit the mouth of Chad Grey. Almost every song revolves around either hating everyone ("Rotten To The Core", "Waging War", "Goddamn") or getting ***ed up ("Hellyeah", "Alcohaulin' Ass") and so on. First single "You Wouldn't Know" really isn't bad lyrically, as the song confronts someone dragging Grey down. "Thank You" is dedicated to Dimebag, and it's decent if nothing else. In "Matter of Time", Grey actually tells someone to "suck your shit". The lyrics are terrible and border on offensive in many cases. Hellyeah the album features so many uses of the "F" word that it comes across as juvenile.
Musically, the only notable diversions from the groove-metal beatdown are the bluesy tracks "Thank You" and "Star", as well as "Alcohaulin' Ass". Ironically, the first two of those tracks just happen to be the best tracks here. Otherwise, everything just blends together into a monotonous shit-fest, right down to that "Goddamn" awful artwork on the cover. Hellyeah spends so much time trying to convince that they're complete badasses and that this is the best shit ever that they forget to, "You Know", write anything musically that is remotely decent.
Based on that lineup alone, Hellyeah should be so much better than what they are. But, in classic "super"group style, they wasted that potential on a musical style that is beneath them. To be fair, Pantera basically invented the groove-metal sound, but at least they were inventive about it. Mudvayne took nu-metal and went progressive with it, while Nothingface just kinda did their own thing. However, it is the band that Zilla and Paul were involved in, Damageplan, that laid the groundwork for Hellyeah. Granted, Damageplan's only studio album was/is far better than anything Hellyeah has ever released, due to the presence of Dimebag Darrell on guitar and Pat Lachman on vocals.
However, much like Hellyeah, Damageplan marked the first signs of Vinnie Paul's decline. The difference is, Vinnie still gave a fuck when Damageplan was happening. I truly believe that Vinnie Paul stopped giving a fuck about anything the moment Dimebag Darrell was murdered on-stage on that December night in 2004. No matter how much Vinnie talks about how Hellyeah "revived" his interest in and passion for playing music, it's glaringly obvious that he is only here for the money, and the chance to get fucked up all the time without getting bitched at, because his fellow band members are all shit-faced as he is.
When famous friends from various bands decide to come together musically, people call it a "supergroup". However, for every supergroup that lives up to the sum of their parts (Them Crooked Vultures for example), there are a thousand Hellyeahs, a band full of friends who see their project as a diversion from their main project and thus don't take it seriously. In Hellyeah's case however, it's almost more offensive that this album sucks so much because it's obvious their lack of shit-giving is blatantly intentional. If Vinnie Paul and co. wanted an excuse to party all the time and play shitty music, maybe they should've just opened a bar instead.