Initially, I was going to write a scathing review of Stampede in the form of the abstract of a college thesis analyzing the modern-day cowboy and how, based on the most recent findings of "cowboy specialists" Vinnie Paul and his newest research group, the cowboy life may be shrinking from society's collective nostalgic awe if not already dead. That was, however, until my fifth listen, when I decided to heed Stampede's lyrics more carefully and found that the album has slightly more depth than I had originally perceived. "Better Man", for example, tells the story of a man who tries to reconcile his life's actions while trying to distance himself from a destructive father he knows he can never truly escape. It's an endearing song, considering how one-dimensional every song on HellYeah's debut was.
Don't get me wrong, though. Stampede is not a good album. As much as I was pleasantly surprised by "Better Man", there is no excuse for a song as chauvinistic and uninspired as "Pole Rider" ("She'll make you sun rise." What does that even mean?) and the band still sounds like Great Southern Trendkill-era Pantera; stale and humorless. I just wanted to note that Stampede is a better album than any person who has heard a second of HellYeah would think. If you haven't heard a stitch of HellYeah's music, then just forget this album exists, entirely.