- Scratch a Lie
- Be Unden!able
- Leap of Faith
- Blood Plague
- I Don’t Care Anymore
- Live or Die
- Love Falls
HELLYEAH released their fifth studio album on June 3rd, and I had a couple of listens to it to see how it matches up with the band’s past work. They titled it “Unden!able”, and are set to take the album on the road this month.
The record opens with “!” and “X”, full of Slipknot-style catchiness and fire. It’s pure metal to the core. Core is a good word. It’s such an appropriate sound to describe the spirit and power behind metal music, and it makes sense right now. I know that metal subgenres use the word often taken from ‘hardcore’ and applied to many other prefixes, but ‘core’ as a noise is making me feel pretty happy right now. Just like the opening minutes of “Unden!able”.
The supergroup have been doing this for 10 years now, pleasing fans of their other bands as well as new ones with great record after great record. This is going to do the same. There are no huge surprises, but everything is so much darker. There’s far more emotion here than ever before, but it only makes it more human. The lyrics are relatable and real.
“Scratch a Lie” is full of groove riffs, and I love it. It’s exactly what I want to hear on a record of this calibre. Vinnie Paul’s drumming is simply metal incarnate, and sounds pretty much perfect. It could be 15-20 years ago, it could be yesterday. “Be Unden!able” carries on the feeling. “Be undeniable”, implores Chad Gray, and I think about what it means. To me, it’s a provocation. Be more than people expect you to be, to the point where no one can ignore you. That takes guts, motivation and power, and Gray is giving us the idea to make that happen.
Lead single “Human” and the track after, titled “Leap of Faith”, are provoking in a different way. The lyrics are emotional and depressing, with a lack of hope behind them. Gray delivers his vocals in a way that’s almost difficult to listen to, because it feels so real.
Before you know it, “Blood Plague” hits you in the face. It’s mean! With a title like that, it has to be, really. It’s a nice buffer between the emotional songs on either side.
“I Don’t Care Anymore” is a cover of Phil Collins. Dimebag Darrell recorded some guitar parts before he passed away, and they were never used until now. It seems like a fitting way to let them shine, and shine they do. Everything about the recording of this track brings that fury, passion and honesty that I love about the song. The drums are huge – which Phil is surely happy about. It all stands out from everything else on the album. It is not for parties, it is not for the road, it’s for those moments when you are stuck into a piece of work, or escaping after an argument.
“Live or Die” takes us straight back to groove. It has a definite message. Life is black and white, in terms of your attitude and how you approach things. I’m not sure I agree totally, but I can understand. You either lie down and take what is being thrown at you, or you fight it with all of your strength.
“Love Falls” juxtaposes itself with “10-34” and “STARTARIOT”. Not only in their musical style – the first is a ballad, and a track titled “STARTARIOT”, all caps and everything, is hardly going to be easy listening – but in the lyrics. In “Love Falls”, a story is told of someone who deals with their heart in a certain way, but “STARTARIOT” kicks in like a cart horse, and tells you to not let anyone else even try to take control of that part of you. They work – rather unexpectedly – very well together.
Closer, “Grave”, is more of a doom metal track, bringing a clear end to the record. It’s final, and almost brutal. I’m left feeling as though I went on a very definite journey, which is something I haven’t felt about a new album for a long time. The production and sound from the instruments is great, as it always has been from HELLYEAH, but the band were not lying when they told us that this album would be dark and moody. The lyrics are brutally honest and full of emotion, and whether you agree with it or not, you can’t deny it.