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Album Reviews : Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

By on June 6, 2014

volbeatoutlawThe Danish/American guitar gangsters in Volbeat recently took young and old people alike on a wild ride on their first ever concerts on Australian soil. The band is not (yet!) very well known to this part of the world but back at home and in the US they are a rapidly growing band, selling out stadiums and supporting bands such as Metallica and Rammstein.

Having released their first album back in 2005, Volbeat is still a pretty young band, fronted by Michael Poulsen (guitars/vocals). He is accompanied by Anders Kjølholm (bass), Jon Larsen (drums) and a familiar face to many, ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, who has also produced Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies.

The Volbeat sound is not easily described, even to a big time fan as me. They incorporate a wide range of elements in their music and many fans just simply refer to them as “Elvis metal” or “rockabilly metal”. Michael Poulsen draws a lot inspiration from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash in both his vocals and his lyrics. Don’t be surprised if you also hear the occasional nod towards Slayer and Metallica in Volbeat’s music.

Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies was released about a year ago, following up the huge success of Beyond Hell/Above Heaven a lot of people across Europe were excited to see what the band would be able to conjure up this time around.

The lyrical theme of the album is mostly set to the Wild West of the USA, telling stories about various “outlaw gentlemen and shady ladies.”

Let’s Shake Some Dust opens up the album. It is a fairly short instrumental piece that sets the tone for the remainder of the album. It could easily be the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

And off we go, on an incredible journey across the Wild West. Pearl Hart tells the story of Canadian born Pearl Heart, who committed one of the last known stage coach robberies. She claimed that she needed the money to be able to visit her ill mother. She was first found “not guilty” but was later sentenced to five years in jail.

Other notable characters that are rewarded with their own songs on this album are: Michael Poulsen’s father who passed away a couple of years ago (Dead But Rising), Black Bart, Lola Montez and Doc Holliday. It should also be noted that King Diamond provided some of the vocals for the track Room 24. Young Giant’s My Body is also covered on this album.

The last track on the album is called Our Loved Ones, and it’s a metal ballad of sorts. It is a very gloomy song and it somehow feels fitting that this is the song to seal the deal. It’s the kind of song you would listen to after a late night, and you’re on your way home, just as the sun is rising.

This release feels like a concept album, mostly thanks to the overall feel of the music. The stories of the outlaws and the gunslingers fit well together with the songs that don’t have the same storytelling feel over them. Volbeat manages to mix mellow rock with solid heavy metal in a great way and the feeling I get when I listen to this record is just a general freshness that not a lot of metal bands manage to provide these days and I believe that this album is a good starting point for a new fan of the band.

Volbeat is something new and exciting, the next time they come over to Australia, I’m sure that they will be playing in front of bigger crowds than just a couple of hundred people!

Band: Volbeat
Album: Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
Year: 2013
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Vertigo
Origin: Denmark

www.facebook.com/volbeat

Tracklisting:

1. Let’s Shake Some Dust
2. Pearl Hart
3. The Nameless One
4. Dead But Rising
5. Cape Of Our Hero
6. Room 24
7. The Hangman’s Bodycount
8. My Body
9. Lola Montez
10. Black Bart
11. The Lonesome Rider
12. The Sinner Is You
13. Doc Holliday
14. Our Loved Ones

About

Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.