This is quite a smart move, because Band Of Brothers may be the album hardcore Pantera fans have been waiting for. Damageplan was pretty solid, but it never really captured the magic of classic Pantera albums, like Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display Of Power and Far Beyond Driven.
Hellyeah’s latest musical venture features all the elements that make Vulgar Display Of Power and Far Beyond Driven such essential releases, namely tons of raucous energy, memorable guitar riffs, copious amounts of vintage Southern attitude and all the bluesy grooves to die for.
The carnival begins with the thunderous grooves of “War In Me,” “Rage/Burn” and the title track. These three track are a good summary of what Band Of Brothers has to offer. It’s heartening to hear that Vinnie Paul hasn’t lost a beat, while former Damageplan bassist Bob Zillah lays down some monstrous grooves.
Both Tom Maxwell and Greg Tribbett are fine guitarists in their own right. Their tasteful bluesy licks and slide guitar solos give the album its vintage Southern rock feel. I’m sure the late Dimebag Darrell would approve of this. Vocalist Chad Gray is the proverbial ace in the hole. His vocals keep the middle ground between Phil Anselmo-esque wails, Layne Staley-styled croons and Mark Hunter (Chimaira) - like growls.
Some of the true standout songs on this album are “Drink, Drank, Drunk” complete with Biohazard-styled chorus (“Tales From The Hard Side,” anyone?) and the Southern rock overtones of “Between You And Nowhere.” This song could be the bastard child of “Alcohaulin’ Ass” and “Cemetery Gates.”
Truth be told, I was pretty on the fence about the previous two Hellyeah releases. They both feature some good songs, but most of them are a dime a dozen for my taste. However, Vinnie Paul and his musical partners in crime finally managed to hit the proverbial nail on the head with Band Of Brothers.
The songs are infectious and before you know it you’ll be singing and tapping along like a maniac. I believe I’ve found my record for the summer. Right now, time to pour a nice cold beer, fire up the barbeque and give Band Of Brothers another spin. I’m sold!
(released July 17, 2012 on Eleven Seven Music)