Words by Tyler Rosen
Danish “metal ‘n rollers” Volbeat have been making a name for themselves over the past few years, playing big festivals such as Lollapalooza and Metallica’s Orion Music + More, as well as “A Warrior’s Call” reach the #1 spot on Billboard’s rock chart. Part of the bands success can be attributed to their sound, bridging the gap between mainstream hard rock and more traditional metal while experimenting with different genres. Whether it’s brutal thrash, heavy rock, or even rockabilly, Volbeat has something to offer everyone. This is just as true with their latest offering, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, an album that can be appreciated for its variety and accessibility.
A bluegrassy intro gives way to “Pearl Hart”, a good enough opener that encompasses the musical stylings the band has become known for. Immediately following is “The Nameless One”, another easily accessible sampler to newcomers of the group. Digging deeper into the album will reveal Volbeat’s ability to produce tracks appealing to fans of multiple genres. Hardcore metal fans will get a kick out of songs like “Dead but Rising”, “The Hangman’s Body Count”, “Doc Holiday” and “Room 24” (featuring the one and only King Diamond) for their fast tempos and heavy riffs, even if the latter track just sounds like a Mercyful Fate/King Diamond tune. These tracks also feature a good deal of melodic harmonies, in addition to the killer soloing of former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano. More casual rock fans, on the other hand, can appreciate the easily digestible sounds of “Pearl Hart”, “Lola Montez”, “The Sinner is You”, and “Cape of Our Hero”, with their more simple stylings and straightforward verses. All of these tracks contribute to an overall solid record, despite a few weak points. “Cape of Our Hero” is almost too mainstream for its own good, and even casual rock fans will find the goofy rockabilly “Lonesome Rider” cringeworthy. Other than these minor duds, the rest of the track list offers enough high points to warrant several listens.
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies has plenty to offer to metal crowds and mainstream rock enthusiasts alike. The musical variety and accessibility of the album are sure to attract new fans of the group, in addition to satisfying the already loyal ones. Anyone who hasn’t listened to Volbeat yet are sure to find at least something to like with this one, and will most likely be turned on to the group as a result.
“Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies”
© April 9th, 2013
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