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Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

2010 was the release of “Beyond Hell/ Above HeavenVolbeat album artwork 5 and now Volbeat return with their fifth album “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies”.  It demonstrates their metal heritage more than they have in any previous albums.  The album comes across as a musical journey combing the genres from the past few decades into something solid. Could it be the newly found member from Anthrax Rob Caggiano is the key to unleashing their heaviest album yet?

The album invites you in with an acoustic start, a country and western feel, topped with a blues harmonica, (‘Let’s Shake Some Dust’). A very deceiving start, as from the hype you expected an in your face metal riff, however it is a definite ear pleaser as you tune your ears to the build up, that releases Michael Poulsen’s vocals in ‘Pearl Heart’. The mixture of hard rock and metal is greatly executed, Micheal’s vocals are still as sharp and as mighty as ever. He dynamically changes during the chorus’ showcases lighter and softer shades to his voice.

Volbeat have a effervescent flow that is distinctive and thriving. ‘The Nameless One’ deluges nicely into a bit of progressive rock, the solo significantly has the tonality of the classical era with the typical mode of chord changes as evident in rock music. This effervescent flow lures you to ‘Dead But Rising’, proving they aren’t just soft rockabilly rockers but hard edged  metallers too. You can clearly hear the thrash influence from Rob Caggiano and Michael Poulsen with his Metallica inspiration. The heaviness carries through into ‘Room 24’ with a special guest. The leader of King Diamond. ‘Room 24’ saturates doom, darker and psychedelic elements, the rhythm section is rich and grimy. The company of King Diamond has a captivating impact, it is an instant favorite of mine from the album. Think Trouble and you have ‘Dead But Rising’ to the tee.

‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ never has a dull moment, as you don’t know what concoction they are bringing next. A winner on the album is ‘Doc Holiday’ bringing back the country folk presence with a banjo opening, it dominantly transcends into a Judas Priest attack. They also creatively place the banjo in the chorus’ underneath the sinister harmonies. The question in your head is  “how is this working?”. The song moves into a more identifiable sound which is Metallicaseque, with a Kirk Hammett solo and a Hetfield rhythm approach.

On the album there is even a sneaky pop/southern rock ballad with a guest appearance from Sarah Blackwood  known from the English band Dubstar. Giving a fresh, fun, lighter sound.

There is a clear modernistic rock factor in their music, I am going to say commercial but not in the way the metal culture resents but  in a way it aspires to entertain a wider mass across the different genres, it is engaging to so many musical mindsets. In this day and age there is that appeal and experimentation of blurring different styles together. We haven’t come across a new genre of music for a long time, it has very much been a fusion of a few into one. Volbeat accomplish this blend of country, western, metal and rock ‘n’ roll, so to answer my question above I think yes Rob Caggiano has positively been a key to unlocking or placing that missing metal link between all those styles. However, I think this is only the start. There is a lot more ambition to take this further on an innovative adventure. You could say it’s musical sophistication or you could say it’s some god-damn good heavy rock and roll. 9/10

Track Listing
1. Let’s Sake Some Dust
2. Pearl Heart
3. The Nameless One
4. Dead But Rising
5. Cape of Our Hero
6. Room 24
7. The hangman’s Body Count
8. My Body
9. Lola Montez
10. Black Bart
11. Lonesome Rider
12. The Sinner Is You
13. Doc Holiday
14. Our Loved Ones

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.