If you do a little research on Denmark's Volbeat via Goggle (or other search engines) for their biography or reviews, you will find some odd and perplexing information. Some describe Volbeat as simply a 'Danish heavy metal band.' Others add that they incorporate rockabilly or even Johnny Cash into their style. Frankly, on 'Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood,' I don't hear it. For sure they have some strong heavy metal riffs throughout and maybe a nod to the other influences on say 'We' or 'Mabellene I Hofteholder' (their first single from the album?). But, generally, this is a redundant offering where the songs just seem to run together. Yet, this may also be Volbeat's strength: singularly simple arrangements with some variation here and there. Certainly, Michael Poulsen hardly varies in his vocal delivery; it's a solid performance. However, if this is heavy metal or even melodic hard rock, then where are the fiery guitar solos. Honestly, they're non-existent (the closest you get is on 'Still Counting,' but it's ordinary). So you can drop the 'Guitar Gangsters' from the album title. Even though there are some entertaining moments (see next paragraph), this work is ordinary.
Honestly, I tried to find some highlights on 'Guitar Gangster And Cadillac Blood,' and here are some. 'Mabellene I Hofteholder' is more melodic rock than metal; it has a good beat (I sound like I'm critiquing a song on American Bandstand) and a catchy melody. The aforementioned 'We' is strong because of its symphonic nature blended, only slightly, with some country sensibility. A better cut is 'Mary Ann's Place' only because of the addition of Pernille Rosendahl's (Swan Lee) vocal accompaniment. Volbeat completely butchers Hank Williams' 'I'm So Lonely I Could Cry.' There is nothing admirable about their rendition of this classic country song. Their cover of Kitty Wells and Social Distortion's 'Making Believe' is better, but not by much. (There may actually be a guitar solo here.)
Volbeat may be on to something in their musical explorations on 'Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood,' but it does not translate into anything creative or inspiring. Two things readers know when coming to dangerdog.com: I'll be honest in my opinions and try to find the positive points in any work. Well, there you have it. 'Nuff said.' 'Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood' is only for fans of the band. Period.
Denmark's Volbeat is supposedly heavy metal drawing upon rockabilly and possibly Johnny Cash (if you believe the Internet information). For sure, they have some catchy songs. They have the metal riffs, but for guitar solos they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag with Michael Schenker's Stratocaster. Surely, I believe somebody else must be doing this better.
There are few bands, with a better than 25 years career, that have been as consistent in their sound and output as Denmark's Royal Hunt. Sure, they've had their share of personnel changes, significantly in ... [ Read More ]