Sound — 8
Noticing there seems to be no reviews for this album, I figured I would contribute. Hell or Highwater is a side-project formed by Brandon Saller, drummer and clean vocalist of Atreyu, who are currently on hiatus to pursue other creative projects such as this one. That's where the similarities end, however. Hell or Highwater is not metalcore as one would expect (Especially looking at Atreyu's work, pre "LSPA"), but instead a melodic hard rock band, with work comparable to that of bands such as Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry. This debut album titled Begin Again, is a great start for a new project. Here's a track-by-track: 01. Gimme Love - Not the best of starts to the album, though it does showcase Saller's vocal ability. Remember, Hell or Highwater contains only clean vocals, so Brandon has sole vocal duties (Someone else plays drums, their name escapes me). Nonetheless, a bland yet catchy song. 02. Hail Mary! - The first song released by the band, this too showcases Brandon's vocals. Not much can be said about this one, it too seems rather bland in comparison to some of the songs on the album. 03. Terrorized in the Night - This is when things start to pick up, definitely. An intro solo reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold's "Afterlife", and a fairly entertaining riff. The chorus is catchy, also. This song shows that Saller is indeed not the only talented member of the band. A solid guitar solo (One of the best on the album) bursts into life just over half-way through, keeping the listener entertained. 04. Tragedy - A ballad.. somewhat. This song is one of the album's true masterpieces. Beginning with a powerful vocal performance, followed by a riff kicking in, this song is something you'll never get tired of. As you'd expect, a solo kicks in as the song picks up in pace, growing in tempo gradually as it goes along, yet it still sounds great. 05. Find the Time to Breathe - A catchy song that doesn't really go anywhere. Good, but never really becomes a great piece of work. The vocals, however, do add to the emotive feeling of the song. 06. Rock Waters Edge - This song is.. okay. There isn't much to say about this one, it does seem like filler at parts but, fortunately, it does pick up later on. The solo seems fairly short and doesn't really go anywhere, either. 07. Go Alone (Featuring M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold) - An acoustic song - Almost country in the way it sounds. The alternating vocals really add to the effect of the song, one of the better ones on this album. 08. When the Morning Comes - An almost joyful riff kicks off the song, before hitting a brief yet enjoyable solo. This song is considerably catchier than most of the album, and I personally love it. One of the better vocal deliveries, also. 09. Crash and Burn - A fast-paced song which again allows the guitarists to show off. One of the heavier songs on the album, with yet another dangerously catchy chorus. Another good solo also adds to the impact of the song. Another masterpiece to be found here. The song itself does feel fairly generic, however. 10. Come Alive - Starts with a simple riff and then vocals, before a brief solo is played. Pretty much the whole album is overflowing with catchy lyrics, and this song is no different. 11. We All Wanna Go Home - The album ends on a high note, with an intro riff/solo being played before the vocals (Despite the delivery not being as good as other songs) kick in. A fairly good song, for the most part. Overall 8/10 because there's a lot of good stuff on here, and not much filler at all.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics are generally okay, with some good ones and others that are just cheesy - Yet considerably catchy nonetheless. Not much else can be said. As for vocals, they really are awesome.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, it's a great album despite it's fairly generic sound and overly mainstream (Hence, catchy) lyrics. Definitely worth a buy, and if someone were to steal my copy I would definitely order another.