Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Written by: PP on 01/08/2016 23:51:24
A pinch of post-grunge, drenched in groove rock/metal, plenty of southern beer rock vibes, and a few alternative metal and nu-metal references? It's not like Drowning Pool haven't always dabbled with some of those influences, but on sixth studio album "Hellelujah" they have completely revitalized their sound and created an awesome hard rock album almost by accident. Since 2001's breakthrough nu-metal megahit "Bodies", the band has barely put out anything of interest for critics or serious music fans, resorting into dime-a-dozen hard rock albums consisting mostly of filler and generic post-grunge, to say it nicely. But not so on this album. Every song on "Hellelujah" sounds like a fuck you to all the doubters - this writer included - who correctly assumed Drowning Pool's generic brand of mainstream groove rock/nu-metal was as cliché as it was irrelevant in today's musical landscape. It's amazing what you can do with a boatload of attitude and a high-energy expression that sounds like the genre just took steroids and MDMA before taking off to a beer-fueled southern rock party somewhere in the deep south.
Just like you, I was skeptical at first, but by the time you reach fourth track "Hell To Pay" and the bombastic arena metal expression continues to deliver ridiculously catchy groove metal song after song, it's impossible to avoid breaking out into the massive sing-along that this song begs, especially if you put them on an arena-sized stage in front of a Disturbed or a Five Finger Death Punch audience. Jason Moreno, who joined the band on 2013's "Resilience", leads the charge as he grows into his own with a fantastically executed scratchy voice that echoes the best Disturbed songwriting and even surpasses it in places. At the same time, the groove metal riffs are tight and made sound crispier by the excellent production that has just the right balance between sounding big and keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
As such, the songs are headbangers like none other, perfect for drunken fun provided you're ready to accept the songs are never going to be progressive behemoths nor stalwarts of originality. But nor do they need to be. "My Own Way" is one of the best hard rock songs this year, only surpassed by the likes of "By The Blood" and "Push" earlier on the album. And it doesn't stop there. For the entirety of the thirteen track album, Drowning Pool stubbornly deliver quality arena metal that puts most of their peers to shame in recent years. Drenched in bad boy attitude, whiskey, southern rock grooves, and ridiculously catchy vocal hooks, "Hellelujah" is not only the surprise album of the year but also a candidate for the best hard rock release in 2016 so far. Join me in awe and go through the record to discover one of the most well-executed and refreshing revitalizations of a band assumed dead in a long while!
Download: Hell To Pay, By The Blood, Push, My Own Way
For the fans of: Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach
Release date 05.02.2016
Long Branch Records