Supergroups suck. Sure, when Vince and I were kids, it was fun to imagine your very own all-star line-up- maybe Patton on vox with EVH doin’ the axe slingin’ and Ulrich behind the kit, or would it be cooler if Bach sang and Tommy Lee hit the skins- but as it turns out, when you put members of Pantera, Mudvayne, and Nothingface in one room, you apparently get something as totally kick-ass as… Black Label Society.
We should all know better by now, but just for simplicity’s sake, I’ll say now what I’ve been saying: it’s not that Audioslave, Velvet Revolver, and Army of Anyone are bad (except for Suckernova: those guys really do suck. And blow. Hard.). It’s just that none of them live up to legacy of what the bands’ members accomplished apart from one another; the resulting music never lives up to the sum of its parts. The only supergroup I know of that ever really did anything mindblowing is Down, and even they, at the end of the day, have never made anything as cool as Pantera, C.O.C., Crowbar, or Eyehategod (we won’t count A Perfect Circle or Axl’s new GN’R as “supergroups” for now, since none of APC’s members beside Billy Howerdel actually did any songwriting, and chances are you don’t actually realize that you already know half the dudes that Axl has been working with). The worst part is, the instinct of all of these bands is inevitably to go softer; I don’t mean that in a “ballads are for pussies” kinda way, but in a “Skid Row rocked on their first album but they rocked way harder on SLAVE TO THE GRIND” kinda way. You just can’t argue that “Be Yourself” is as heavy as “Outshined” or “Calm Like a Bomb” no matter how hard you try, and I’m someone who likes my hard rock, well, hard.
Vinnie Paul is obviously gonna get a LOT of slack from the metal community right now, and I don’t mean to sound insensitive- but the unveiling of Paul’s new band, Hellyeah, did not exactly get my blood pumping. Vince and I actually imagined a supergroup for Big Vin- an awesome one with Zakk Wylde and John Bush- but even that was potentially suckey. So imagine what a risk it was to work with with the dudes from Mudvayne and Nothingface; this band basically sounds like the album Drowning Pool made after their first singer died.
At best, Hellyeah’s debut song, ingeniously titled “Hellyeah,” is kinda catchy the way that last Saliva album where Saliva suddenly turned into Beautiful Creatures was kinda catchy. But the world already has too much mediocre booze-biker rock since Zakk Wylde seems to insist on putting out a new Black Label Society album every year regardless of whether or not he actually has any decent material. Vinnie Paul is capable of so much more, and I, for one, am planning on holding him to his potential.