Published Sep 25, 2019With the death of Vinnie Paul last year, it's safe to say the book has closed on Pantera. With the founding brothers both deceased and vocalist Phil Anselmo's legacy tarnished by his public support for white nationalism, it seems this really is the end for Hellyeah. Welcome Home is the last thing Vinnie recorded before his death and it's a fitting send-off, full of everything the elder Abbot loved in life: riffs, blastbeats, wild energy and (of course) more metal than a Harley-Davidson scrap pile.
Any idea that Paul was past his prime at the time of his death goes out the window the moment he starts pounding his drum kit on "333." But Hellyeah are made up of more stars then Vinnie. "Oh My God" channels vocalist Chad Gray's old band, the sorely missed Mudvayne. Hellyeah have always ridden the fine line between Chad and Vinnie's former acts. But like Jack Daniels and Coke, the two flavours complement each other perfectly on Welcome Home. Throw in some influence from guitarist Tom Maxwell's old crew Nothingface on "At Wicks End" and you have a potent mix.
Nobody can seriously claim that Welcome Home tops any of Pantera. But it's a step up from Hellyeah's past material, showcasing all of the members' unending passion for heavy metal and all that comes with it. There's a little experimentation on twangy love track "Perfect," but for the most part this is what we've come to expect; most wouldn't have it any other way.
A gut punch comes at the end. "Skyy and Water" is as perfect a goodbye as anyone could ever hope for. Without drums, you hear Chad Gray eulogize his lost companion with a power ballad for the ages. As the song fades out, we enter a moment of silence called "Irreplaceable" before we get one last gift: Vinnie's voice scratches on, reminding us "It's a good time. Don't ever think it's not a good time. Because if you do, it ain't a good time. And a wonderful time is irreplaceable." Thanks for all the good times, Vinnie. (Eleven Seven)