Every Hellion can tell you where they were on June 22, 2018, when they heard the news of Vinnie Paul’s passing. It was a day that brought much sorrow and left many questions. What was Hellyeah going to do without Vinnie? Would the band even continue? Vinnie may have left this world; but he left one last gift that will live forever. That gift is the drum tracks to one kick-ass album. Welcome Home is what some would call Vinnie’s “swan song.” Broken inside that he is gone, yet grateful we have Welcome Home to remember him. It is the first album I have listened to and I said, “OMG, you can really hear that is Vinnie!” It is a true testament of his contribution to the band as well as his ability as a drummer and writer.
This album isn’t just about Vinnie. It’s about Hellyeah. The blazing guitar riffs of Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady and the thrumming bass of Kyle Sanders create what the band is known for. The guttural screams and gravely, melodic vocals of Chad Grey are at the heart of Hellyeah. It is the perfect blend of a classic Hellyeah sound mixed with the members’ strengths, past and present. Listening to Welcome Home I found myself saying; “Yep, that is all Hellyeah.” Other times I found myself saying, “That sounds like Pantera.” Chad has an ability to seamlessly mix rough, complicated lyrics with his gravel enthused vocals and merge them into a style and sound that is uniquely his own.
Welcome Home is pure melt your brain metal. Your head is aching from slamming it back and forth. Your neck aches as you contemplate a visit to the chiropractor and then it happens. The band drags you back from the precipice of head-banging mayhem to vocalize all their pain and sorrow.
If you’ve been to a Celebration of Vinnie Paul concert, you’ve heard it and seen the accompanying video. It isn’t until you are sitting in your car with huge tears rolling down your cheeks that you realize the full impact of “Skyy and Water.” Once you take in the lyrics and feel all the turmoil the band has gone through to make Welcome Home is the true magic of this album revealed.
“Black Flag Army” is another song that I found myself drawn in by. It is catchy as hell and after hearing it I want to know where do I enlist? I knew when they released the first single from the album, “333,” that this would be one of my top favorite Hellyeah albums. It is hard to top Band of Brothers, because who can deny “Drink Drank Drunk” is a perfect party anthem? I am on the edge of my seat to see the actual album art because the band promised a little something special with pictures of Vinnie.
What is the take away from this? You will be blown away by it all. Not just the realization that Welcome Home was in process at the time of his death. Not that Vinnie left us with something that we can listen to and envision him standing behind his kit egging the fans on. You will be humbled by the fact that the rest of the band rallied to give us an awesome album. You can pick up Welcome Home Hellyeah on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Choking back my tears again today,
I can hear your voice; I can hear you say,
Don’t sweat the small stuff and just keep on keeping on.
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