Drowning Pool is a well-known metal commodity. Sort of. For at least a decade I’ve detected their music from speakers inside rival football team’s locker rooms, as part of a pre-game pump yourself up setlist. In fact, one year, after a devastating loss we were forced to listen to Bodies Hit The Floor on repeat as fans from another town celebrated our demise. But, beyond that monster hit, I wonder how much the average heavy metal enthusiast knows about Drowning Pool. Their latest album, Hellulujah doesn’t contain a track that can topple Bodies, but taken as a whole, it may be their best work ever.
Shot out of a cannon, the groove and bashing begins blitzkrieg style with the high-octane Push. Lyrical crack like, “Live, let me live, with a fuck to give,” assures the listener will stick around, and the guitar hooks are on par with the poetic spit, equaling one killer tune that I’ll bet sixteen stone will begin their next live gig. In a somewhat parallel sense, Push is the microcosm (inside this particular album) to what Bodies has become to the band’s career. Simply put, how can you top that? Can a band start with too good of a song? Nice problem to have right?
No worries for Drowning Pool in Hellelujah as By The Blood supplies a few pints of addictive scream. More inside the box than the preceding track, it helps form one hell of a triumvirate with Drop. Akin to the Hellyeah sound dripping from their latest work, Jasen Moreno’s vocals are in that range, and his screams the same. That comparison continues when attempting to categorize Drowning Pool, as they are smack dab straight metal, easy to waterfall, no bitter aftertaste. Hellelujah has the chops to appeal to the heavy metal mainstream, but by no means does that mean its a polished package of meh, no sir. Instead it slices forward with resounding energy and force. So good, I had to take a peek to see when their tour bus would be occupying a local venue.
Forgive me, because I may just be too ignorant, but has Drowning Pool always been this sharp, this complete? If so, I’ve a lot of back track work to do, but in the present moment we should all bask in bombs dropped with Hellujah. A bold curve ball buckles the knees in We Are The Devil, especially with that hellbilly introduction that can’t be missed. The track itself flashes back to the sound we know and love, straight ahead and no frills. It also is the line in the dirt song on Hellulujah, beginning a slightly less stellar group of songs that just can’t keep pace with the first 15 minutes of the work. Still, that’s no rip, because the first third of the album is out of this world amazing.
Let it be known here that no matter how much adversity and tragedy this band accumulates, they persevere with a heavy metal stomp the earth mentality that should be applauded. I, for one, find this latest effort outstanding and will seek out that live set with some gusto.
Shepherd Says- 8.5/10 An upgrade with heavy beats but plenty of right down the middle metal appeal, Hellujah is above the grade, and Drowning Pool should gain some ground with it.
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