Music News & Reviews

Punk/rock/metal hybrid band plays Pour House in Raleigh

Raleigh band The Hell No.
Raleigh band The Hell No.

The Hell No is a Raleigh band that sounds like lots of things to lots of people. To some, their music may resemble a thrash metal group being fronted by the lead singer of ’90s skacore band Save Ferris. But the comparisons don’t stop there.

“Somebody told me that we sound like Motorhead with Etta James singing,” says drummer Dave McDonald. “I always thought that was cool.”

“The other day, someone told me I sounded like Danzig’s little sister,” adds lead vocalist Brenna Leath. “We hear a lot of different things. I think the thing – me, personally – I hear the most comparisons to is Janis Joplin. People say that a lot. And, then, people say I don’t sound like that at all.”

While sitting on couches next to their rehearsal space at Volume 11 Studios in Raleigh, this four-piece unit – Leath, McDonald, guitarist Adam Johnson and bassist Ash Lopez – discuss their sound, which is basically hard-driving rock fronted by a fiery-haired gal, belting out vocals that can shred as mightily as a guitar solo.

“I think we’re just a straight-up rock and roll band,” says Leath. “And, then, we have some punk, metal and blues influences thrown in there. Because, if you listen to any of our sets straight through, you’ll hear a lot of different kinds of influences in there. I don’t feel necessarily that any one song is representative of our sound as a whole.”

Leath started the group four years ago with two former members. Slowly but surely, Leath found bandmates for the group’s current lineup. “Me and Adam had known each other because we had been playing music on the side, some metal stuff,” she says. “And then Ash came along – we had a bass player for a little while and he kinda left us in the lurch for a couple of shows. So, Ash stepped in and then just stuck around. And then Dave had been seeing us around for a while, seeing us play and seeing us socially. And then one day I literally bumped into him in the practice space. Like, practically smashed his face in with a door, and I was like, ‘Hey, you want to try out for drums?’”

Since then, the band has recorded music, which can be found on their Bandcamp page. This includes their 2013 EP, “Neither Beginning Nor End.” These days, they’re working on recording their untitled, full-length album, which they are recording with Mike Dean (Corrosion of Conformity) and Mike Schaefer (Blatant Disarray, Teenage Time Killers).

“They just thought we’d be a really great fit to try out with their new analog tape machine, and they want to co-engineer it with us,” says Leath. But why go old-school with analog tape for your debut album? “I think it’s, artistically, a good opportunity to do something that none of us have done before,” says McDonald. “And to do it with some pretty cool people – we enjoy their music.”

The band has been doing a lot of fundraising to get the $7,000 needed to record the album. Of course, they launched a Kickstarter page. (As of this writing, they’ve raised over $5,500.) During their headlining show at the Pour House Music Hall on Saturday, they’ll also hold a raffle, where audience members can win prizes and packages from artists, restaurants and other outlets sponsoring the event.

Once they raise enough funds, The Hell No will finally have a full-length under their belts, a project that’ll be assembled thanks to people who, much like the band itself, relish some good ol’ ferocious rock.

“I think we all, as a group, kind of have the same goals,” says McDonald. “It’s just to make music that we like and, so far, we’ve been lucky enough that some other people have liked it as well. And we’ve gotten enough positive feedback to want to continue doing that.… And if it reaches the masses, it’s awesome. If it doesn’t, we’ll still probably do it.”


Who: The Hell No, with Snake & the Plisskens, The Dirty Politicians and Motorbilly

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Pour House Music Hall, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh

Cost: $5-$8

Info: 919-821-1120 or