Hellyeah returned to the UK after almost three whole years away. After breaking off from their European tour headlined by Korn, it was the Texan based metal-ers to headline. Starting in Manchester Club Academy, the tour is in support of their 2016, fifth, and latest album, ‘Unden!able’ (Eleven Seven Music).
Described as their ‘heaviest to date’, the album still encapsulated what made the band unique; harsh, guttural vocals from Chad Gray (ex-Mudvayne) and the authoritative drumming from Vinnie Paul (ex-Pantera) bring what made both of their respected previous bands so successful and merge them to create Hellyeah’s unique sound.
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“The guitar amp isn’t even plugged up.” Surrey based band Sanguine then belatedly took to the stage, the four of them delivering atmospheric metal music reminiscent of Lacuna Coil. The guitarist’s screaming provided the deep vocal undertone which melded with the leading, higher pitched voice of the front-woman, Tarin Kerrey. This culminated in an alternative metal experience and sound. The band also covered their own rendition of Billy Idol’s 1983 single ‘Rebel Yell’, giving it it’s own unique twist. The bass drum gave the song a higher tempo, and as far as covers go, it wasn’t half bad. They did it their own way.
Then it was the turn of British trio, Raveneye. The blues-inspired rock three-piece played bass-heavy, catchy songs in between more ‘metal-orientated’ artists, acting as a breath of fresh air between sets. Their elaborate guitar solos were littered through their set, blending their songs together with smooth rock vibes. From what can only be described as loud and impactful, their bass feedback shook the room. Raveneye did well in the environment of the evening and stood out positively. They did not disappoint.
Headliners Hellyeah have a unique sound. What is best described as ‘metal-infused southern American rock’ seems like an accurate representation of what the band are about. First out on stage was drummer Vinnie Paul to a huge cheer from the intimately gathered crowd. A career as illustrious as his can only lead one to expect great things- and great things one got. His dominant stage presence had him situated central and raised above the rest of the band. His booming drum set and pulsating double bass drumming style provided the ever-present back beat throughout their set.
Vocalist Chad Gray’s speedy, rough vocals were almost reminiscent of his nu-metal days with Mudvayne. But his capabilities were not limited. Songs such as ‘Hush’, ‘Moth’ and one of their newest singles, a cover of Phil Collin’s ‘I Don’t Care Anymore’, exercise and brilliantly portray his vocal capabilities. Being super critical, the softer parts of said songs were harder to hear. However, this only proved that as a vocalist, Chad is more comfortable being loud- and there is nothing wrong with that.
Although their setlist spanned the length of their career, little to no difference was heard throughout their material. Showing that they have stuck to their own individuality through the length of their nearly decade long career. Even though the band gets connoted to the word ‘supergroup’, this is a gross misinterpretation. Hellyeah are a band in their own right.
“Spread the word so that we come back” concludes Chad- and would I recommend them?