Review by Dom Vigil
Hellelujah is a timeless release from Drowning Pool. With a sound that is still very similar to the same Drowning Pool that listeners fell in love with years ago, with an aggressive and hellfire-fueled new edge, Hellelujah will keep old fans happy without taking a step backwards. The guitar tone and gritty vocals are something that listeners are familiar with, but they don’t play it safe by any means, and the result is a solid release that will keep listeners entertained for thirteen songs.
Aggressive and explosive “Push” opens up the album with angry, unclean vocals and a burst of energy. What makes the song shine is definitely the many different vocal styles, ranging from aggressive growls and screams, to half yelled moments, to the crisp, clean vocals that shine in the chorus. The only downside about the opening track is the rather compressed sound in the instrumentals, but thankfully, it seems to lessen with the second song, “By The Blood,” which is spearheaded by some intricate guitar work and an incredibly strong bass line. Instrumentally, “By The Blood” definitely shines and really sets the energy for the album, changing mood about four times within three and a half minutes, and explodes into a massive guitar solo before coming to an end.
“Drop” is a standout because of how different it is from the songs that come before it. With gritty, dirty, southern metal influenced vocals, a heart-stopping drumbeat and a fast paced aggression that is hard to ignore, “Drop” is both hard hitting and catchy as hell. By the time this third song comes to an end, it has solidified a sound and a mood of Hellelujah. If I had to choose one word to describe the album, it would be aggressive.
Though things lose a little momentum in “Hell To Pay,” a high point of this slower song is the focus on the vocal harmonies, which are surprisingly stunning for such a gritty and hard-hitting release. And despite the slow pace on “Hell To Pay,” the intro of “We Are The Devil” is more than enough to catch your attention. Not only that, but the song’s lyrics are a total high point, especially lines like, “Don’t teach me how to live/Cover your own ass and hide your kids,” and, “We are the Devil/And life is hell.” “We Are The Devil” is sure to quickly become an anthem for Drowning Pool fans.
Toward the middle of the album, there are a few tracks that tend to sound a little similar or fall a little flat compared to huge anthems like “We Are The Devil.” The middle definitely does have a small lull, where the aggressive sound can blend together, but smart instrumentation, captivating themes and aggressive vocals throughout much of Hellelujah are sure to keep you interested. The mood of “Snake Charmer,” for instance, directly reflects what the song’s title suggests. The breakdown of “Goddamn Vultures” is also another standout moment because of the strong bass line, the build up, and chanted, gritty vocals.
Acoustic track, “Another Name” is another high point of Hellelujah, as it is very unexpected compared to the rest of the album. The only complaint that I have in this song comes in the sometimes too gritty vocals, as they would almost sound better if they came off as softer to match the acoustic work. However, the vocal style obviously makes sense for a band like Drowning Pool. “Sympathy Depleted” is another interesting track because of the psychedelic guitar work in the beginning coupled with the unclean vocals. Again, it’s another unexpected twist and smart songwriting move from the band that will keep listeners on their toes.
Bringing Hellelujah to a close are the dark second to last song, “Meet The Bullet,” and “All Saints Day,” with many tempo changes that will leave you hanging on every note. There are definitely some predictable moments on Hellelujah, but Drowning Pool doesn’t play it safe on this release. With diverse songs such as “Sympathy Depleted,” “Another Name,” “Snake Charmer” and “Drop,” Hellelujah will keep you on your toes all while delivering an aggression that Drowning Pool fans expect and love.
Listen to "Drop" or "We Are The Devil"
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