It’s become evident time and time again that through pain and hurt, great art can be created, and Hellyeah have faced grief recently with the loss of drummer Vinnie Paul, who tragically passed away last year.
In their mourning, the band have created ‘Welcome Home’, which acts as not only a tribute to the late drummer, but is also the final full-length to feature some of his recordings.
Rattling the cages, opener ‘333’ begins the onslaught in a mix thrash metal, riotous grooves, and pounding drums from Ray Mayorga (Stone Sour), who successfully replicates the big yet accurate style of Vinnie Paul. Amassed in a frenetic ball of energy to the point of almost being chaotic, it’s a straight gut punch of fury.
The titular track is a narrative of self-destruction, reminiscent of Mudvayne‘s later work prior to their hiatus, that gives Chad Gray a chance to display his extensive and unique style of vocals which stretch from clean choruses to visceral screams. Introducing clean acoustic guitars and an orchestral ending, it displays the dexterity of the weapons available in the band’s arsenal.
Introducing a power metal ethos, ‘Bury You’ keeps up the ante in a furore of chords and grinding bass lines from Kyle Sanders that lets the rhythm section ring through before combining back together for the bounding choruses. A drawback, however, is a noticeable repetition of lyrics that’s echoed in other tracks.
Closing out proceedings, ‘Skyy And Water’ is a final homage to their late drummer, with a mixture of acoustic guitars and orchestral string instruments with Chad‘s vocals referencing Vinnie Paul‘s favourite saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and keep on keeping on.” As a tribute, it’s an apt and thoughtful ending, and leads in final piece ‘Irreplaceable’, which even features a recording of the man himself.
Despite some overly repetitive moments (namely on ‘I’m The One’), ‘Welcome Home’ displays genuine creativity, and a touching homage to their fallen bandmate.