While it's good to see the return of Pantera/Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul (Abbott), you'd think a legend like him could find a burlier bunch of cowboys to take on the trail.
On Hellyeah's debut, the Texan pummels away like few others can, reminding listeners of the days when he and his late, great brother, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, perfected metal's mechanical-precision attack. Unfortunately, the band -- B-squad nü-metal dudes culled from Mudvayne and Nothingface -- play the kind of songs you can hear from any local band at Peabody's on any given Friday night. In rote exercises like the knotty "You Wouldn't Know," frontman Chad Gray spits out tough-guy lines like "Run/Hide/Your time is coming." Still, none of Paul's bands have ever sounded as southern as Hellyeah does on the whiskey-burning "Alchohaulin' Ass," where you can almost hear the slide guitar smoke. So at the very least, this music is good for a heckyeah. But if Abbott can't spur his guys into better shape by album no. 2, nobody can.