There are some bands who, for whatever reason, seem to have really bad luck. Def Leppard immediately spring to mind having a drummer with one arm, a guitar player lost through alcoholism, and now Vivian Campbell’s cancer has returned. Drowning Pool could also fit into this category. After the release of their hugely successful debut album their vocalist Dave Williams was found dead in their tour bus having died from a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy. They have gone through another two vocalists since then (they didn’t die, they left).
Very often the vocalist is the hook sound for a band and it can be hard to find a good replacement. I remember when Bon Scott died and being terrified of my then favourite band getting a duff vocalist. In the end all was ok, but they did think about auditioning Noddy Holder from Slade… I can’t imagine AC/DC fronted by Noddy (sorry mate, but…no).
Drowning Pool have just released Hellelujah their second album with vocalist Jason Moreno (so things are going quite well!) and it is fantastic. From the opening bars of Push I knew I was in good hands. A powerful riff, and those vocals!! OMG I wonder how Moreno has any chords left! The opening riff of By the Blood, along with the introduction of a rather funky phased guitar, follows the path opened for us. With the next song Drop they open with a riff that sounds like it’s taking you one direction but then cleverly pulls us somewhere else when the drums come in. A real shredder of a song this, and probably my favourite on the album. Hell to Pay is a very obvious tip of the hat to some of Drowning Pool’s grunge influences. There are shades of early Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains, but they still own the space and the song is a brilliant change of pace.
I was going to point out some of the other highlights from this album but in truth it is all fantastic. Not one filler in sight. So if you like your metal heavy get Hallelujah now and jump in the pool. Just make sure you know how to swim.
Viking Rating: 8/10 Axes