By David Weiss Originally Published In DRUM! Magazine's September 2010 Issue
Song: “Order The Sun”
Get ready to rumble. HellYeah is back with their second record, and Stampede is everything its title promises it will be. Cut after cut on this disc sees an advanced metal band fulfilling its huge potential. Our buddy Vinnie Paul is joined by vocalist Chad Gray, guitarist Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne, guitarist Tom Maxwell of Nothingface, and bassist Bob Zilla of Damageplan.
“I’m really psyched about the new record – really, really proud of it,” Paul says, just before embarking on an international tour. “We made the whole record in my house in Texas, where there’s 35' ceilings and great ambience. We took a guitar amp into the game room, turned my bedroom into the control room, and set up cameras so we could watch each other.
“Bungalows were set up here, so nobody had to travel. We had BBQ’s together, drank booze together, and jammed together.”
Saddled with the task of having to highlight just one cut off Stampede is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. But ultimately I settled on the epic closer, “Order The Sun.” This bulldozing bruiser is as awe-inspiring as it is artful, especially when you keep your ears glued to Paul’s dynamic drum performance.
“We were in a really, really heavy mindset for ’Order The Sun,’” Paul says. “The record is a total roller-coaster ride, very deep and melodic and emotional. It’s also got a lot of Southern, really groovy, groovy grooves. In every song, the focus was making sure there’s an underlying groove. A lot of metal bands forget that.”
Just 0:02 into the song, Paul takes our breath away with a cement-mixer intro pattern. “That’s a sped-up version of the common triplet fill on the drums between the two toms and one foot,” explains Paul. “I just add the second foot to it, and it almost sounds like a sixteenth-note pattern inside of a triplet pattern. So the pattern is: two toms, two kicks, two toms – six total before you get to the snare.
“I don’t use two floor toms, I always just use one. So it’s between the second rack tom, the floor tom, and those two kicks. And then the thing that really sets it off is the big long snare ’verb. It’s got a long decay, like in a huge cave. It just sounds like Godzilla’s coming.”
In verse one, from 0:13 to about 0:37 (just as in verse two later on), Paul propels the music in time-trickster fashion while laying way back. “When I heard the guitar riff, playing straight against it just didn’t do it right,” he says. “So I dropped down into a half-time thing. Then that drops again almost into a double time, and then it repeats itself.
“I really laid it right in there, so it’s got the groove. There’s plenty of room for the singer to do what he wants on top of it, and with the guitar it just makes it really f___ing heavy.”
At 0:38, a psychedelically dirty burst bridges the verse and chorus, and shows up again around 1:40. “I wanted something that would accent the guitar riff,” Paul notes. “I came around the toms, then a double whip on the kick, followed by the snare, which I accent with a crash cymbal. Then the second half of the lick is sixteenth-note triplets on the kick drums, accented by Chinese cymbals: left-to-right, left-to-right, etc … repeating itself.”
On the chorus, huge riffs give Paul room to take part in the storytelling, seeing him moving comfortably around the kit while the other guys take on the heavy lifting. “It’s got to have a Sabbath feel to it,” he says. “Bill Ward would lots of times do things with a shuffle feel. I really accented the words, then kept the shuffle on the back side of it. I just wanted it to be wide and open: have that thick, gloomy, doom-y, goth-y sound to it.”
At 2:10, the second verse leads to a complete departure from the rest of the song. Paul strikes the ride alone before getting into a relaxed open groove, complete with a Copelandesque hat flourish at 2:34.
“When I got to that part, it really needed to come down. I left it open, and the cymbals just kept it flowing,” he says of the bridge. “It’s really subdued, like the music itself. If you listen closely, the tone of the snare changes because I’m not hitting it as hard.
“With the hat work, there’s a little pause in there. If it were done to a click, it would pick up and not have the same feel. I never play to a click. It’s a nice feel – it’s natural, and that’s what counts.”
Paul restrains himself on the last verse (2:48), digging in tougher but still refraining from overtaking the song. Ditto for the final chorus (3:16), which has one last surprise waiting just beyond at the 3:43 mark: a furious outro, where the winding guitar riff allows Paul to play a mind-melting double kick pattern that seems to stutter and flow simultaneously as the song fades out.
“I’ve always looked at the drums as being part of the song,” Paul says on his ability to hold back, rather than simply blasting away. “A lot of drummers get wrapped up in playing drums – they don’t think about their parts and how it sits with the music. Play for the song. If there are places were you need to get down and shine and do your thing, that’s cool. But if you’re playing for the song, you can hold back like that.
“We knew that was the big climax at the end, and the guitar riff is so crushing,” he continues. “So I did what I did before (in the bridge-to-chorus fill), but I took it to the other level with an additional bass drum. It really pushes it along. I can’t think of a better way to end the record.”