Volbeat are renowned for their modern homage to the late legends that are Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, with lead singer Michael Poulsen‘s unique and sublime voice adding a trademark ring to their already distinct sound. What’s great about Volbeat is that although they’ve been dubbed as ‘Elvis-metal’, they’re not gimmicky in the slightest, they merely use their love of Elvis and Cash as a jumping off point and have created five superb albums out of it.
Latest offering ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ is Volbeat at their musical finest, with 14 tracks of outstanding, Southern metal fused gems. The writing on this album is the best they’ve ever done and, let’s be honest, they had already set the bar pretty damn high for themselves. Take for example ‘Cape Of Our Hero’, not only does it possess a wonderful country vibe, but it also has blistering guitar solos and sorrow-tinged lyrics intertwined within. This album as a whole seems to be a more country and Southern focussed than their last few releases. The country vibe was found on earlier songs such as ‘We’ and ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’, but to have a whole album of it’s a real treat.
Not every song on here is Southern focused mind, there are some phenomenal metal songs like ‘Dead But Rising’. Though the vocals are not as gruff as earlier Volbeat, I personally think the cleaner cut approach compliments their sound better. There’s a bit more of your standard rock ‘n’ roll on there too, songs like ‘The Nameless One’ will induce involuntary head banging and raised metal hands. You have been warned.
Like their previous release, there are also a few guest stars on the album. King Diamond adds his distinct sounds to the song ‘Room 24’. If I’m being honest, King Diamond‘s falsetto voice does piss me off a tad, but this is just me. The other guest, Sarah Blackwood, lends her voice to my personal favourite, ‘Lonesome Rider’, which works so perfectly and really enhances the sound that Volbeat were after.
Though this album does have the distinct Volbeat sound to it, it’s not a case of ‘more of the same’, far from it in fact, they have just developed on their sound. Like I said before, musically speaking, this is the best album that Volbeat have to date. The songs are so well written and sound fantastic, with every member of the band excelling in their field.
Written by Andy Roberts