In the metal community, Volbeat are a rare phenomenon. Since their debut album in 2005, the Danish rockers have been filling our ears and venues with their iconic combination of bulldozer riffs and hip-shaking Elvis swagger. It's the intense chemistry between the two very different styles that acts as the building blocks for the band's success, or at least until now. The tension has gone, the recipe has changed. The flavours have merged together, and it all sounds a lot softer.
Fans who are up to date with Volbeat's recent studio releases won't be all that surprised, as front-man and songwriter Michael Poulsen has been writing progressively lighter music for years. Gone is the heavy metal prowess of "Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza" from the band's debut album. In it's place, a sleeker, tighter unit, with huge, anthemic sing-along choruses and melodic lead guitar lines, courtesy of lead guitarist Rob Caggiano, who is featured much more prominently in the writing credits.
"... bulldozer riffs and hip-shaking Elvis swagger."
New album Rewind, Replay, Rebound is by no means bad, but it will almost certainly alienate fans who've been with them since the beginning. Lead single "Last Day Under The Sun" will go over well live, with it's catchy and melodic chorus, even it's hummable guitar leads, but Volbeat purists were a bit miffed as the heavy metal aspect people have come to know and love about the band seems to have gone in favour of a more mainstream approach.
"Pelvis On Fire" brings back the heavy metal sound and speed, with a tune ideal for swing dancing in a circle pit. Reminiscent of the fan-favourite song "Sad Man's Tongue," even going so far as to reference the song in the lyrics ("The jukebox down in the corner needs a coin for a sad man's tongue") and the similar vocal delivery, the track feels like a 'part two' as opposed to it's own thing. Yet, it's still an absolute blast during it's 3 minute duration.
"... a tune ideal for swing dancing in a circle pit."
"Cheapside Sloggers" is one of the best tracks on the album, with a roaring guest solo from Slayer and Exodus alumni Gary Holt, some beefy guitar work throughout and tales of the Peaky Blinders that really immerse you into Birmingham life. "We control what is wrong and right, so be kind, if you come for us we'll cut you a smile," sings Poulsen with a sly wink and a smile. The theme for the album cover, and the album overall, has definitely been inspired by the Peaky Blinders, with a group of flat-cap wearing, suited and booted young boys. For the uninitiated, the Peaky Blinders were a criminal youth gang from Birmingham, England, active during the late 19th to earlier 20th century. The name was derived from the weapons the group made, and they would stitch razor blades to the inside of their flat caps.
Clutch vocalist and all-round fantastic human being Neil Fallon makes an appearance on "Die To Live," a ridiculous smorgasbord of styles combining into something joyful, with Fallon and Poulsen trading vocals. It's a glorious moment on the new record, and only the elitist of the Volbeat fanbase will be hard-pressed to find something to enjoy on this one.
As with most Volbeat albums, the new record is perhaps just a couple of tracks too long, but there are still some enjoyable tracks to be found on the latter half of the album. Vicious mini-single "Parasite" acts as a nice lead-in to "Leviathan," a radio-friendly track with some tasty riffs and great drumming from Mr Jon Larsen, while "The Everlasting" sees Poulsen and co doing their best to channel Metallica's arsenal of guitar riffs and syncing them with a huge Volbeat chorus.
As is normally the case with Volbeat, Rewind, Replay, Rebound has far more home runs than strike outs, and it's not without the odd misstep, but the attempts to push their sound into new directions have worked very well while not moving too far away from what makes Volbeat tick. This is the album that will propel them further into the mainstream eye, and I can't wait until they get all the recognition they truly deserve and more.
Rewind, Replay, Rebound is released on August 2nd through Vertigo Records, on all digital services and in all good music retailers, both in stores and online.
Volbeat have announced a huge UK and European tour for the new record, kicking off in September 2019, and tickets are available now! Support from Baroness and Danko Jones on all dates. To visit the band's website and buy tickets, click HERE.
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