HELLYEAH – Welcome Home
Released: September 27th, 2019
Chad Gray // Vocals
Tom Maxwell // Rhythm and Lead Guitars
Christian Brady // Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Kyle Sanders // Bass
Vinnie Paul (RIP) // Drums
In June 2018, the heavy music world lost Vinnie Paul Abbott. The larger-than-life Texan, together with his equally-as-colourful brother, Dimebag, conquered the world as drummer and guitarist of Pantera, a band whose echoes are heard in every overdriven guitar and compressed kick that graces modern metal even today. After losing his brother in 2004 to a crazed gunman, Vinnie lost himself in drinking, often for days, until a group of other musicians, Chad Gray and Tom Maxwell, who were putting together a project outside of their own main touring bands, called Vinnie and persuaded him to come and play drums for them.
The result was HELLYEAH, a band that gave Vinnie a renewed love for music, and over time has evolved into a beast of its own, developing a cult following as the band graced stages such as Download, Gigantour, and even our own Soundwave festival.
Then, in 2018, tragedy struck, and as the metal world mourned a loss, the rest of Hellyeah reconvened and decided to channel their grief by completing what had been started shortly before the loss of Abbott. The result is Welcome Home, an album that both evolves the band’s sound in a new direction but provides an awesome tribute to their fallen bandmate.
The opening track ‘333′, a title which will have long-term Pantera fans smiling knowingly, and while the lyrical content is dark and quite clear in their meaning: “My goddamn life’s been torn to pieces/Shadows in the belly of death come creeping”, the music instantly channels both of the Abbott brothers, with thrashy riffs and the signature drum sounds. Now that I think about it, even Chad’s opening scream could be taken as not-so-subtle nod to the opening of The Great Southern Trendkill. As the band rolls on, we hear more a darker, grungier riff in ‘Oh My God’, that unravels into a crushing chorus, with a massive kick effect driving home the point. This gets a bit more melodic in the title track ‘Welcome Home’, with Chad Gray’s vocal range demonstrating how far he has come from the days of Mudvayne.
‘Black Flag Army’ provides an opportunity for a crowd chant when the band plays it live, an anthemic chorus with a damn heavy riff thanks to guitarist Tom Maxwell. The heavy grooves continue into ‘At Wick’s End’, with a grungy arrangement that reminds me a little of Alice In Chains. ‘Perfect’ has a cool country feel that unleashes a cool hook for the chorus, while ‘Bury You’ is a facemelter of a band jam. Hellyeah might be experimenting a bit with some different styles and sounds, but they want you to know that they’ll always be heavy as hell, with the next track ‘Boy’ guaranteed to get crowds in a circle pit with its catchy chorus.
And then we get something a little different, with the last song ‘Skyy And Water’ being the only song on the album written after Abbott’s death, and as such is a drumless ballad that sends Vinnie off with a heartfelt tribute.
The last word, however, belongs to Vinnie Paul, within the last track of the album ‘Irreplaceable’. And with that, Welcome Home marks not only the end of this chapter for HELLYEAH but helps the fans of both Vinnie and Dimebag to get some closure on the Texan brothers who took on the world.
HELLYEAH may continue, of course, and given how the band as a whole has developed it would be a shame if they didn’t. And with such a solid offering like Welcome Home, the next chapter of the band will be interesting to watch, and I’m sure Vinnie Paul’s spirit will be behind them in whatever they do.
HELLYEAH – Welcome Home tracklisting:
- Oh My God
- Welcome Home
- I’m The One
- Black Flag Army
- At Wick’s End
- Bury You
- Sky and Water