By Patrick Foster
Like a Ford F-150 barreling down a gravel country road , - leaving choking dust clouds and clattering beer cans in its wake, Hellyeah crushes subtlety like a bug. This team of metal all-stars' second album snorts and stomps and shouts commandingly but comes up short of a unique cowboy-metal fusion.
Saddling an impressive lineup - drummer Vinnie Paul (Pantera, Damageplan), vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett (Mudvayne), guitarist Tom Maxwell (Nothingface) and bassist Bob Zilla (Damageplan) - the disc kicks off with furiously burrowing low-end guitars, thudding drums and a raucous howl of "Yeah!" on "Cowboy Way." Slight variations on that musical formula instruct the "Debt That All Men Pay," which won't necessarily keep you from having a "Hell of a Time" on your "Stampede." Settings soften for "Better Man," a deftly handled, yet still brawny, ballad that displays a touch that Kid Rock wishes he had.
The juggernaut cranks up quickly to warn that "It's On!" then offers up "Pole Rider." It's at this point, however, that the Hellyeah convoy runs into an insurmountable truth: A fusion of hard cowboy rock and metal, while perhaps appealing in theory, just isn't all that interesting in execution.
At least not by Hellyeah, anyway.
Recommended tracks: "Cowboy Way, " "Better Man," "It's On!"