Denmark’s Volbeat finally broke through to American audiences with 2008s Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood and 2010s Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. Sporting massive rock radio singles “Fallen,” “Still Counting” and “A Warrior’s Call” and non stop touring have propelled Volbeat to one of the premier metal bands on the scene today.
The amazing aspect about Volbeat is despite their propulsion of success, they have constantly kept a toe firmly rooted in the underground. For every rock radio song they create, they equally write facemelters that would make any metalhead proud. In truth, the metal community should rally around Volbeat because they are the perfect ambassador to represent what we love and respect so much.
They are one of the few bands that has gained notoriety that isn’t drenched in nu-metal or metalcore. How many bands on rock radio today can boast that the legendary King Diamond & Barney Greenway have made guest appearances on their records? Regardless if their style of music falls into a genre you prefer, you have to respect that their hearts are in the right place as their love for metal is undeniable.
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies finds the band at their finest. Drawing on a diverse array of influences that include metal, punk and rockabilly, all sides of Volbeat find their way into the landscape. Vocalist Michael Poulsen is the perfect cross between James Hetfield, Elvis Presley and Mike Ness of Social Distortion.
The band does an excellent job accentuating all of their diverse influences to the extreme. The pop sensibilities of first single “Cape Of Our Hero” and “Lola Montez” showcase the band writing their catchiest melodies to date. The tenderness and emotional delivery of the former and the '80s synth added to the latter brings a side to Volbeat that we haven’t seen yet.
“Room 24,” featuring the infamous King Diamond, is the bands heaviest song to date. A mix of Mercyful Fate meets Black Sabbath, the singers weave in and out of each other fluently. The King sounds better than ever and shows why he is one of the greatest vocalists to ever live. With their Metallica inspired riffing, “Dead But Rising” and “Doc Holliday” punctuate why Volbeat is foremost a metal band.
Another outstanding guest appearance is Sarah Blackwood of Canada’s Walk Off The Earth on the rockabilly inspired “Lonesome Rider.” The chorus is one of the most addictive of their career. Also included is a cover of Young The Giants alternative hit “My Body,” which is expertly done and comes across more as a Volbeat original than a cover.
Volbeat have delivered yet again and are quickly compiling a catalog that is as solid as anyone over the last ten years. With the release of Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies there is enough diversity that any music fan can sink their teeth into it. Volbeat should be celebrated as they can bring metal back to the forefront. The band the metal community has been waiting for has been right in front of our eyes the whole time.
(Released April 9, 2013 on Republic Records)