Album Review: DROWNING POOL Hellelujah
The most prominent pigeonhole in the music industry is the concept of the one-hit wonder. A contradictory notion as a single song may carry the band towards a decade-long career, yet also restrict their success from further albums. Certainly, there should be an ounce of sympathy towards groups affected by this as in most cases the band is not to blame for this attribution.
In the case of Drowning Pool and many others from that 'edgy' side of the late 90's/early 2000's spectrum, the act has become branded by their nostalgic nu-metal single(s) due to constant radio airplay. Both in regards to its iconic acclaim and general popularity, "Bodies" is the obvious go-to track. While I think that the full Sinner LP holds more substance than one measly radio hit, I would agree that since that release, the band has yet to reach an equally successful or impressive musical advancement. In addition to the lack of further breakthrough albums, a history of four different singers amongst six albums within the span of ten years evidently did not help. A record label change and fifteen songs later, the band attempts to break this mold.
And honestly, opening track "Push" isn't too bad of a start. Its heaviness combats the radio-friendly clean vocals in a Mudvayne manner. Furthermore, someone in the band must have a man crush on Chad Gray because there is definitely a Hellyeah vibe on single "Hell to Pay." I could very much foresee this track having a decent amount of radio rotation as the chorus has repeatedly wedged itself into my mind. Regarding the first official single, “By the Blood,” the approach is a tad safe with a more recent melodic Filter accessibility, but also holds an equal amount of catchiness. The last track that I predict making a bit of chart impact would be "Snake Charmer." Although there isn't a certain pizzazz I was hoping for to accommodate the solid hook, the majority of fans may overlook this in favor of the simplistic repetition.
Halfway in, and as far as I'm concerned, this album is depleted from any further possible songs of major significance. And don't get me wrong, there's enjoyable pieces and stylistic exploration remaining, however the songwriting becomes generally flat. The hit-or-miss nature that coats this thirteen song album reveals the flaw that could have been avoided by pruning the amount of official tracks. Mainstream hard rock is not defined by the entirety of the album, but rather the singles. With that principle stated, it should be understood that a record of such genre needs not over ten songs roughly. Heck, you could throw the remaining three compositions in as 'bonus tracks' for a later 'deluxe edition.' Of course, that may be against artistic integrity, but from the critic, creative's devil's advocate, and music industry's standpoint, it seems logical.
In conclusion, I think a slice of the material within this LP shows potential for success. Would I claim this to be Drowning Pool's full-on comeback album since their debut glory days? Surely not. Nonetheless, there are powerful hooks and dynamics here and there, which shapes Hellelujah to the status of rightly satisfactory with the likelihood of putting the band's name back on the map.