Review: Hell or Highwater – Begin Again (Re-issue)



Artist: Hell or Highwater
Album: Begin Again
or physical: Begin Again
Rating: 5/5

1. Gimme Love
2. Hail Mary!
3. Terrorized in the Night
4. Tragedy
5. Find the Time to Breathe
6. Rocky Water’s Edge
7. Go Alone (ft. M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold)
8. When the Morning Comes
9. Crash & Burn
10. Come Alive
11. We All Wanna Go Home
12. Tragedy (Villain Remix)
13. The Boxer – Bonus Track
14. Pretty Penny – Bonus Track

Founded out of a solo project started by Brandon Saller of Atreyu, Hell or Highwater is a breath of fresh air to the modern rock scene. If you’re familiar with Atreyu, you will know that Brandon was their drummer and clean vocalist. Seeing him step from behind the drums and onto full-time vocals is incredible. His vocal ability is hauntingly good and his lyricism is some of the best I’ve seen in rock in quite awhile. Hell or Highwater, originally called The Black Cloud Collective, spawned from Saller’s solo activities outside of Atreyu. Alot of the songs he’s released with HoH he originally had acoustic versions of up on youtube, MySpace, etc. Their debut album “Begin Again” kicks you in the ass and is relentless with gritty riffs, shredding solos, 80’s-esque sound and of course, Saller’s killer vocals.

Key Tracks:

Gimme Love: A perfect intro to the album, Gimme Love, is a track about the difficulty of being in a relationship while in a band. Saller is calling out for forgiveness for any mistakes he makes along the way. “I’m not a saint and I make mistakes, but I’m just doing the best I can.” I was supposed to see this band a few months ago, sadly, HoH had to cancel due to being stuck in wintry weather in West Texas. This is one of the tracks I was most anxious to hear. It’s still one of the best tracks on the album to me and will remain that way.

Find the Time to Breathe: One of the tracks that Saller released in his solo activities, it was pretty amazing back then, add a full-band and a mixing/mastering process that put it at it’s prime? You’ve got something to be proud of. This track is one of my favorites lyrically. It amazes me how diverse this band can be, from slow soft songs to heavy, rock anthems and everything in between. This is an in-between track. “Lately I can’t find the time to breathe, maybe it’s just me. But the air seems out of reach and I’m suffocating! I’ve been looking for a chance to make it, trembling because I’m scared of changing! Lately I can’t seem the time to breathe!” This track is a track about pushing yourself to the absolute limits, making sacrifices, and not having enough time in the day to do it all. In the end, the result is incredible, regardless of what you do. You’ll be amazed what you can do if you push yourself hard enough!

Go Alone (ft. M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold): This track excited me enough in the fact that Matt of A7X was going to be in it, add the dark lyrics and weird country twang? This track is a different one, for sure but overall, it’s one of the best tracks on the album. Matt’s part is amazing, as expected and the collaboration between the two is absolutely godly. I definitely recommend this track for any rock fan!

The Boxer: The first taste we ever heard of this band, this track still gives me chills! How many rock bands do you know that could SUCCESSFULLY pull off a Simon & Garfunkel cover, put a rock twist on it and have such amazing results?! All I have to say about this track is look it up and give it a listen, it’s incredible! This track played on the intro page to HoH’s site when they first announced themselves. It’s a bonus track on the re-issue of “Begin Again” which was released Feb. 5th.

Final Thoughts:

What do I have left to say that I haven’t already said? Brandon has never ceased to amaze me, his vocal talent, his choice in musicians, and his deep, heartfelt lyrical content are enough to make any fan want to listen to this album. For fans of Atreyu, be warned this is NOTHING like the metalcore style of Atreyu that you are used to. Saller cites his influences for this band similar to Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace and bands of that nature using a purely clean vocal style. Go pick up your copy of “Begin Again” and fall in love with one of the rock bands that is going to take 2013 by storm! Go see them on tour with The Darkness as well!