Sound — 6
Though most supergroups only manage to be a limited endeavor before the members return to their respective primary bands (Them Crooked Vultures, Atoms For Peace, Velvet Revolver, etc.), Hellyeah acted as the next phase for its members from the now-defunct bands of Mudvayne, Nothingface, Pantera and the subsequent Damageplan. And though the intersection of those names spurs an eclectic amalgamation on paper, Hellyeah aimed for a standard metal sound as straightforward as their band name, with plenty of Pantera/Damageplan influence in their debut self-titled album and follow-up album "Stampede." But with their sonic recipe growing stronger in their third album, 2012's "Band of Brothers," Hellyeah would experience some substantial changes afterwards, not only losing bassist Bob Zilla (formerly Damageplan) and guitarist Greg Tribbett (formerly Mudvayne), but taking a turn for the softer and more commercial-friendly in their fourth album, 2014's "Blood for Blood" (although the black sheep song "Say When" made for a damn intense dose of hardcore).
Perhaps as a backpedal from that previous endeavor, Hellyeah's fifth album, "Unden!able," kicks things off into a high gear, where the active riffs in "X," "Be Unden!able" and especially "Scratch a Lie" are some of the most frenetic that the band have wrote in years. Vocalist Chad Gray also shows some more energy with his vocals, delivering them with a rapid, David Draiman-type pep in "Leap of Faith" and "STARTARIOT," and with guitar solos being bumped up a notch in skill compared to their previous album (heard most notably in "Human" and "Blood Plague"), Hellyeah also conjure the essence of the late Dimebag Darrell in their cover of Phil Collins' "I Don't Care Anymore," where they built their parts around Darrell's old freeform guitar solos recorded when Damageplan attempted to cover the song themselves.
But while that cover proves to be a lucrative case of recycling old material, as well as giving "Unden!able" an interesting low-gear song, Hellyeah fumble with other attempts at such. Regarding the former, Hellyeah self-derivate with the upbeat galloping of "Blood Plague" sounding nearly identical to the "Blood for Blood" song "Cross to Bier," and regarding the latter, the metal ballad of "Love Falls" feels very generic in its execution. The album also tries to elaborate more on a lower-geared melodic presence with more string sections, but while they're utilized decently in the horror-tinged closer of "Grave," they come off bland in "Human" and "Leap of Faith."
Lyrics — 7
Though Gray still draws from his inspirational wells of emotional anguish (in "Love Falls," "Leap of Faith" and "Grave") and violent rage (in "Blood Plague" and "STARTARIOT"), the biggest theme running in "Unden!able" is a positive one. Still wielding his brazen nature for articulation, Gray barks out his motivational messages of assertion in "Live or Die" ("It's time for a decision / You have to make a choice / You can take a vow of silence / Or raise your fucking voice") and "Be Unden!able" ("I'm gonna live my life my way / It's just who I am it's how I gotta do what I do"), and acting as a continuation from the previous album's metal family anthem of "DMF," Gray takes solace in his metal community in "X" ("We live to die, all for one / Lean on each other to carry on / My metal family 'til the day I'm done"). Gray also ups the ante on his penchant for syllabic symmetry throughout the album, although it hits a point of diminishing returns in "Human," where bouncy rhymes like "I defy your defiance," "You drove the stake in my worst mistake," "You were the anger in all my danger," and "The troll controlling me" come off as redundant rather than witty.
Overall Impression — 6
"Unden!able" attempts to reach for a number of goals, but by spreading itself thin, it isn't able to achieve everything it wants. Hellyeah hit the mark with flying colors when it comes to kicking up the power higher than the likes of "Blood for Blood" early on, but their desire to primp themselves in a radio-friendly metal fashion only saps that power, and while their cover of "I Don't Care Anymore" is a standout moment for them in terms of non-aggressive songwriting, their other attempts to invest in melody rather than driving metal energy come off contrived. With some good moments paired with some shoddy moments, "Unden!able" is ultimately a mixed offering.