For Volbeat fans and passing enthusiasts alike, ‘Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie’ (despite having a rather ridiculous title) is everything that they could’ve hoped and indeed wished for. The new record is the band’s first not to feature original bassist Anders Kjølholm, who decided to part with the band on amicable terms in November 2015. Despite the line-up change, Volbeat have seemingly strengthened with ex-Anthrax shredder Rob Caggiano providing more of a leading role within the band, which is massively evident on this recording.
‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’, the opener and lead single from the album, showcases Caggiano‘s grit and groove in ample amounts. Ploughing through a trademark opening guitar riff followed by vocalist Michael Poulsen‘s crooning, the tempo and quality levels are set at an immediate high. The chorus is beyond catchy with plenty of heavy Metallica-infused technical riffing, and an exquisite Caggiano solo during the midsection which links everything together superbly.
One thing that Volbeat have never been afraid to show is their unnerving ability to simply have a great time. ‘Marie Laveau’ and ‘The Gates Of Babylon’ demonstrate huge vocal hooks, groovy guitar riffs, and perfect pacing that leans more on the hard rock side of their sound. The upbeat and anthemic nature of these tracks will be stuck in your head long after you’ve finished listening to the album.
The band have utilised a couple of cameos to diversify their musical style in ways that won’t be uncommon for the long-term fan. ‘For Evigt’, featuring Danish singer Johan Olsen, and ‘Black Rose’, featuring renowned Canadian artist Danko Jones, give the album a refreshing dynamic, especially on the latter track which pulls some serious punches to the ears. The song is an outrageously infectious audible assault that delivers a country-style chorus, deliciously suited to Poulsen‘s Elvis-like tones, sandwiched between heavy-set verses with real attitude and conviction.
The tail-end of the album peters out slightly with a noticeable reduction in memorable hooks and grooves, although ‘The Loa’s Crossroad’ is a pretty emotive conclusion to the record coming not long after one of the highlights ‘Seal The Deal’, which is a real ‘car cruising’ tune. Including a decent tempo change between chorus and driving-guitar riffing verses, the interplay between Caggiano and Poulsen is there for all to hear, especially during a delicately played guitar solo steeped in masses of melody midway through.
Despite the aforementioned upbeat nature of a few of the tracks, ‘Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie’ is a predominantly dark album with loneliness and loss being recurring themes. Certain cynics may say that there’s a slight lack of variety on the record with the band straying into lighter, more commercial territory, but don’t let that hide the fact that this is a hugely emotive body of work with some real substance behind it.
Written by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)