Hell Or Highwater’s “Begin Again”

So I was heading to ITunes to download the new Kanye West/Jay Z collaboration called “Watch The Throne” figuring I had just enough in my budget to get the full album but after listening to all the tracks I thought, “Ya know…maybe there’s something else out there?” So I downloaded a couple of tracks and went exploring. Lo & behold, I discovered a band I had never heard of. Just this past weekend a friend and I were talking about how there wasn’t any “fun” rock anymore. All the hair bands have disappeared or have been forced to hide behind all their 80’s hits and no one wants to hear anything new from them. Well…then I began scanning new music on ITunes and found Hell Or Highwater. And it occurs to me that maybe hair band rock ain’t quite dead yet.

Apparently this band is a¬†collaboration of band members from Atreyu (singer/drummer Brandon Saller) and Good Charlotte (guitarist/keyboardist Billy Martin) and it’s obvious to me that they know what rock music needs. It needs to be fun and loud and kickass and they do a pretty good job of delivering the goods. This album clocks in just over 40 minutes and all the songs are under 4 minutes in length. Unlike some rock bands these days who seem to have to bludgeon you with heavy guitars and even heavier lyrics, this band could have been around in the mid-80’s during the heyday of Skid Row or Quiet Riot. Ok…maybe they aren’t THAT pop oriented but they are still a fresh breath of air in what has become, for me anyways, a stale genre. With bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Nickelback & Daughtry not really delivering anything new or unheard, Hell Or Highwater take the path well travelled and deliver an album that will remind you of when you were a kid, cranking the latest Scorpions or Ratt album and cruising the town.

Right out of the gate, they hit fast and hard with “Gimme Love” and the rest of the album just follows right along. With a fast beat and rocking guitars, Saller’s vocals grab you and don’t let go. He’s got a great voice and he shines throughout this entire album. Slow rockers such as “Rock Waters Edge” and “When The Morning Comes” remind me of classic Bryan Adams songs. With soaring choruses and simple guitar chords, every track on this album takes me back to a day when music was a lot simpler and a lot lighter. Songs about love (“Hail Mary!”), war (“We All Wanna Go Home”) and finding yourself (“Come Alive”) all remind me of my youth. It’s just classic hair band rock n roll and it’s ALL good. Is it gonna recharge the music industry? Absolutely not. There’s nothing “new” here. But for what its worth, sometimes doing old stuff the right way is the BETTER way of making music. And for me, every track rocks and it is well worth the $5.99 price!


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