Friday, September 17, 2010

Volbeat: Beyond Hell/Above Heaven (2010)


Volbeat is huge in their native Denmark. Their unique fusion of metal with 1950's rock 'n' roll (think Metallica+Danzig+Elvis+Cash) has garnered them success since their debut, and their sophomore release brought them even greater critical and popular acclaim. (I named it one of the best albums of 2007.) But they've been almost completely ignored in the US, likely because the labels they've used on this side of the pond are so tiny. Which is a damn shame, given the broad appeal of the music.

Volbeat's fourth full length, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, came out this week, and it's every bit as good as their last album, if not better. Everything is still present from the sock hop ("16 Dollars") to the mosh pit ("Who They Are") and everywhere in between.

This time around, they've also employed some A-list guests: Mille Petrozza, Michael Denner, and Mark "Barney" Greenway. Some metalheads may be perplexed by the appearance of "trve metal" folk, but members of Volbeat (including frontman Michael Poulsen) have done their time in death metal troupe Dominus. These guests contribute to some of the highlights of the album, especially the incredible "7 Shots", sort of a metallized Charlie Daniels.

This is probably the catchiest metal album of the year, due in no small part to Poulsen's knack for vocal hooks (check "A Better Believer"). If Kvelertak didn't give you enough fun metal for the year, this is the other great place to find it.

The Verdict: Nobody else can manage to be as trve as Mercyful Fate while being more accessible (and fun) than Godsmack. But then, have you ever found anything less than excellence from a Danish band? I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment