Review Summary: Danish rockabilly/metal fiends Volbeat unleash another scorching blast of Elvis metal onto the scene...3 of 3 thought this review was well written
After the very successful Rock the Rebel/Metal The Devil the almighty Volbeat have returned one year later bringing another robust offering to the table. In case you aren’t already familiar with this act, Volbeat started off as a typical extreme metal band before abruptly walking down the left hand path. This new musical transformation fused punk, country, rockabilly and early heavy metal with southern tinged rock n roll in a decidedly brave if not reckless decision. Fortunately for all involved this quick shift would go on and perceive Volbeat as a recognizable name in the world music scene. This adaptation would prove to be successful with the band garnering major, major success in their homeland Denmark with the rest of Europe catching on and finally America with Revolver Magazine spotlighting these guys. It’s safe to say Volbeat is poised for world domination and I for one am ready to crush all that oppose the might of this band.
First things first, the aspect of Volbeat that easily stands out from the rest and most likely responsible for much of the bands success is Volbeat’s charismatic front man Michael Poulsen. Channeling the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash among others, Michael reinvigorates a metal scene that hasn’t consistently seen a potent front man since the 80’s. His vocal delivery is unique and attention grabbing yet skillful enough to create several hit songs without overshadowing the rest of the band. Complementing the vocalist is a tight guitar section featuring Thomas Bredahl and Michael himself who more or less have abandoned most of but not all of the thrashy, Swedish tinged sound of old for a more authentic rock n roll style. The drumming and the bass playing remain playing in a familiar format while Volbeat itself have upped themselves creatively in the songwriting department.
Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood is Volbeat’s third full length album and the first to incorporate a concept into their music which is planned to be featured on the eventual follow-ups. The concept is based around a band front man who was mysteriously murdered in cold blood and immediately investigated by the surviving members. Regardless, the lyrical content which might seem obnoxious to some ais overtly extreme and actually only based off on half or so of the songs. How have Volbeat grown since their last album? Well, they’ve grown much stronger in the songwriting department by incorporating new ideas and even catchier choruses tailor made for the arena. Starting with the keyboard rich “Light A Way”, Volbeat moves on with the eclectic “Mary Ann’s Palace” which boasts engaging female vocals courtesy of Pernille Rosendahl while later kindling the groove heavy metal of “Wild Rover Of Hell”. Also worth mentioning is the spirited Hank Williams and Social Distortion/Kitty Wells cover songs that have been injected with a dose of Danish fury. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Making Believe round out Volbeat’s versatility as musicians.
In my opinion Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood happens to be Volbeat’s most accessible album to date. Not to say this mainstream transition has significantly stripped Volbeat of it’s magic or anything, it’s just that Volbeat have lost some of the aggression and rawness of old in favor for polished production and layered vocals. Michael certainly doesn’t need the layering effects as he displays the same booming and rich, baritone styled vocal delivery on 2005’s The Strength/ The Sound/ The Songs as well as the two bonus live songs “Rebel Monster” and “Soulweeper 2” that complete this 16 track record. Guitar wise, Volbeat’s axe men have lost significant strength in the heaviness department opting for a more mainstream rock approach while at times retaining some of the classic Volbeat extremity. The duo aren’t afraid to throw some killer melodies, a solo, or even some acoustic strumming into the mix. Variety is of the essence and Volbeat excel at creating some kicking jams that even your dumbass mainstream whore friends or cuntbag sputnik music elitists can appreciate. The rhythm section is bolstered by Anders Kjolholm and Jon Larsen who don’t really do anything spectacular. The drums kick with mild aggression and the bass slowly picks away at the riffing patterns but other than that this is a purely guitar and vocal driven album.
I suppose my only real beef with this album lies in it’s massive production and vocal layering that could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. If it takes a slightly more commercial approach to get us Yanks in the V-zone, then by all means do it, just as long as you retain some of the swagger and BallsToTheWall energy that made you guys so great in the first place. A positive to Volbeat’s name is that crossover appeal is apparent with their music. From the traditional rock/metal/alternative kids who enjoy music regardless of originality and stylistic format to the snot nosed punks on a major power trip( 60% music site users), get down because Volbeat is throwing hooks from every direction. Get f*cked....