It’s still only February, but even so, this year, Christmas has come early for fans of Danish metal! Topping the chart of most anticipated Danish rock albums this year, Volbeat’s second album “Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil” had a lot to live up to. Time and time again, the question had been asked if it could in any way be more perfect and well-produced that its predecessor, “The Strength / The Sound / The Songs.”
Well, let’s get that question out of the way; as soon as the stores opened today, I went and forked out some of my hard earned cash on this album, and I’m here to tell you to believe the hype! This album not only continues in much the same way as the band left off on their debut album, but also raises the bar and sets a new standard for what proper “Elvis Metal” should sound like.
Volbeat are one of those crazy bastard rock styles that are kind of impossible to explain, they have to be experienced. Think Metallica meets Elvis with a hint of rockabilly attitude and a shot of Johnny Cash to boot. Hell, if you don’t know what they sound like despite my never-ending onslaught of propaganda, go check out the media section of their website, and you’ll get some idea.
Their new album pretty much follows the successful formula of their debut record but with added depth, twists and a greater extend of playfulness. From the opening track, “The Human Instrument”, and through the record, Volbeat’s familiar style of blasting riffs, funky drumming and powerful vocals become apparent, but is also followed by less familiar aspects: Lap steel, banjos, acoustic guitars, backing vocals add to the mix creating a familiar yet interesting and captivating atmosphere.
The album features your average mean and heavy songs, “The Human Instrument” seems the perfect opener, followed by the strangely melancholy yet delightfully evil “Mr. & Mrs. Ness”. The album’s third song is probably the most experimental track of all, mixing Danish and English vocals in a strange borderline punk-like mix which has ticked off some critics yet at the same time taken most of mainstream Denmark by storm.. So, small side note to the critics out there, I’m sorry but if a song makes even my decidedly non-metal female friends pull my hair, demanding I play it.. Then that’s pretty much a hit in my eyes.
“Devil And The Blue Cat’s Song” is as fast and heavy as Volbeat will probably ever be (if they decide to play that one alongside “Rebel Monster” at the next show I attend, I’m willing to bet I’ll be a head short by the end of the evening due to excessive headbanging)
but is nicely evened out by the following track “Sad Man’s Tongue” a thinly disguised tribute to the late, great Johnny Cash, and I mean that in the most positive way ever!
“River Queen” seems to be the most generic Volbeat-like song on the record. I don’t mean that in an entirely negative way, I do like the song upon listening to the whole of it and not just the snipplet available online. But, seeing as my only gripe with Volbeat’s previous albums was that the songs were a little too generic, and well, to be perfectly honest this track does sound like something we’ve all heard a couple of times before.
Speaking of downsides, and me being a language student, I just have to get this one thing off my chest: Since Michael Poulsen has such a nice voice and such strong vocals, it’s a damn shame that half of the time I’m not entirely sure what he’s saying. A bit of a crash course in English grammar would probably go a long way in helping the band penetrate the foreign market even further.. And that’s still not to say that I won’t have a sore throat after singing along to the songs.
Ah, but I’m rambling, the fact remains that the above mentioned songs and the remaining tracks make for one of the most solid, most well-produced and all-together satisfying albums I’ve heard in a long time.. And that’s not just the fan boy in me talking. This band is fully worthy of the praise and acceptance they’ve gotten for their past work, their live shows and this album in particular! Good work, boys, top marks from here!
Ses vi oppe foran d. 3. i Kolding? Det tror jeg nok vi gør!