I am a bit of a masochist when it comes to reviewing records. Often times I will choose to review a record that I know will be as good as a rim job from a rhinoceros, but I do it anyway. When I saw Hell Or Highwater sitting in the review pool and read the description as ex-Atreyu I knew I had to hear it. What I didn't know is that by the conclusion of this album that I would have a shocking self realization. What did I realize you might ask?

I'm racist. Alright well I'm not a racist even in the slightest, but I've got the opportunity to be one.

You see about five months ago I got my girlfriend pregnant. My girlfriend happens to be Spanish. As we all know regardless of the fact that my daughter will have a white Father, she will be considered Hispanic. If the President can't get past it, my kid can't either. What does that mean? It means I can say off the wall racist shit and then be like "dude how can I be racist? my kid isn't even white!". In fact I've already started using my racial hall pass. You should hear how often I demand that the house be spic and span while I cackle like a cartoon villain before I even finish my sentence. However, there is one rule that comes along with my racist escape clause. Keep the black people out of it.

I know it seems like I have gotten off topic, but I assure you I have a point. What frontman Brandon Saller has essentially done is get in bed with mainstream rock while still trying to maintain his underground roots. Sure you can argue Atreyu is or was a mainstream band, but at least they started at the ground level. I used to see them opening for all sorts of hardcore bands in the early 2000's. Anyway, Hell Or Highwater is the equivalent to 80's hair metal. Super poppy, hook filled, but still tries to keep their metal integrity. What it sounds like is even more commercialized Avenged Sevenfold. Saller even does a good enough impression of M. Shadows (singer of Avenged Sevenfold) that I initially thought he sung for the band and didn't even notice that he did guest vocals because they sound so alike. Usually I can find a song with a captivating enough chorus to be slightly intrigued, but for all the power pop going on here they come to naught.

Compare my foray into racism with Sallers' missteps in mainstream rock and it initially appears we have both been rather harmless. But then I came across the bonus tracks. That is where the "Tragedy (Villain Remix" came into play. Here Billy Martin from Good Charlotte turns this already shitty ballad into some kind of dreadful dubstep/Rob Zombie abortion. Hell Or Highwater went too far and for this reason alone this record is unforgivable. Excuse the metaphor, but Hell Or Highwater went black.

Synopsis: This fucking sucks.