When a band member passes during the recording of an album, the original plans often go out the window and it becomes a memorial and tribute to that member. When that member is legendary drummer Vinnie Paul, and the band is Hellyeah, that’s exactly what happens and the record- now released- is Welcome Home.
Much like “The Rev” with Avenged Sevenfold’s Nightmare- whose vocals were all completely recorded and appear on every song- Paul’s drumming was all 100% finished when he passed away, so the world is lucky enough to have them on every song of Welcome Home. It’s safe to say this is some of his most powerful and authoritative drumming yet- which says a lot considering his resume.
It’s been a hell of a transformation over the years for Hellyeah, who have gotten progressively heavier with each album and Welcome Home is no exception, with the opening seconds of “333.” Chad Gray’s screams resonate through your body while the rest of the band is determined to kick this album off in destructive fashion.
After slowing it down with “Oh My God” (which featured some of the catchiest lyrics you’ll hear) they continue the onslaught with title track- “Welcome Home”- and “I’m The One.”
They throw it back to the 90’s/2000’s with “Perfect,” while “Skyy and Water” has a haunting guitar intro and is a track that’s a touching tribute to Paul and shows the band bearing their heartbreak, pain and emotions on their sleeve. This one was written very shortly after Paul passed and it shows- whether you’re a fan of Hellyeah or not, you can truly appreciate how genuine this song is.
The record closes out with “Irreplaceable,” which is a memorial track, simply put. There’s complete silence before an audio clip of Vinnie Paul speaking what was one of his favorite phrases and sums up the man perfectly- “A good time is a good time, a bad time is a bad time and a wonderful time is irreplaceable.”
When it all comes down to it, this is one of the most complete albums Hellyeah have ever put together. In rock and metal, many bands’ greatest work and songs came from the most traumatic and painful places and that’s exactly what Welcome Home is. This record is a perfect tribute to Vinnie Paul and one the band should be proud of and also one their fans can appreciate, fall in love with and help them connect with the band on a bigger level.