The album art for Hellyeah’sBlood For Bloodresembles a cutaway from a snuff film. It’s pretty messed up, but it’s not like this cast of oddball metal maniacs gives a shit what squeamish folk think. W

While most supergroups disband when the gimmick begins to wear thin, this Texan crew – featuring Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray, Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell and ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul – has soldiered on, for better or worse, churning out groove-inflected headstompers since ’07.

Blood For Blooddoes,however, mark a few shifts in the template. For a start, guitarist Greg Tribbett and bassist Bob ‘Zilla’ Kakaha have been given the arse, making way for ex-Bloodsimple bassist Kyle Sanders (yes, brother of Mastodon’s Troy). Everything’s now harder, faster, and darker. With the exception of token acoustic filler ‘Hush’and radio-friendly pomp like ‘Moth’, all the country-inspired and sometimes bluesy interludes of yore have been axed in favour of straight-for-the-jugular metal assaults.

If innovators like Deafheaven and Mastodon are pushing metal forward, then Hellyeah are in the majority holding it back. Blood For Blood is straight-off-the-shelf groove metal. But if you’re after something to simply bang your head to, then, you know, whatever pops your balloon.

2/5.

Blood For Bloodis out now through Eleven Seven / Sony.

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