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The first album I ever bought from this Denmark quartet was their album, Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil. Between the love I have for the not-so-popular, not-always-so-good Dominus (the death metal band of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Michael Poulsen), the awesomeness of using the title of perhaps Dominus’s best album – Volbeat – as a band name, and the sick Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil album artwork of sparks flying off the vinyl, I expected immediate greatness. There are a handful of albums that you just look at and buy off the shelf, not knowing exactly what the outcome may be, but you follow your bands and you follow your gut. This was one of them for me, and what a gem it is.
As previously stated on my review for Volbeat’s debut, I love that album. However, if there is an album to own of Volbeat’s – even after the release of three more albums beyond this one – Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil is the one. It encompasses all that is Volbeat. While the debut lays out the foundation of their style, Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil stretches a little further and then solidifies the sound. When asked by a friend, what the band sounds like, this is still the album I give to them; a perfect representation of all there was at the time and all that is to come of this great band.
Right away we get rolling with the awesome “Human Instrument”, a song that any metal fan with a boner for Elvis Presley would die for (not to mention the re-boner that comes later in the straight-up Presleyian worship of “You or Them”). The opener is just the beginning of a kickass journey about to ensue with the second track continuing the story of the sad tragedy of Danny and Lucy (see the debut for part one), with a nasty twist that continues on the Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood album. Then we have the over-played, over-loved “ballad” in the form of “The Garden’s Tale”. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love this song, but at the time of the release, it seemed to be playing everywhere – even in the fucking States. Ridiculously over-played or not, ridiculously catchy, or ridiculously Volbeat, it’s a great fucking song – and in my opinion – a track that they have had a hard time topping as far as ballads go.
For the headbanging crowd, the one-two punch of “Sad Man’s Tongue” and “River Queen” tops anything Volbeat has achieved up to this point. What could be better than a song starting with a catchy acoustic guitar part, a rambling Johnny Cash-esque vocal line, and a killer fucking breakdown that any metalhead would have a hard time not banging head to? Well… a second of breath before continuing into another grooving, headbanger. I still have a hard time not spinning those two tracks WEEKLY. For Christsake, it’s been years since I purchased this album! The remainder of the album shoves in my least favorite track, “Radio Girl” – which I know a LOT of people love – the sequel to “Soulsweeper” (again, check out the debut) and finishing it off with the aforementioned God/Devil/Elvis match-up (yeah, you guessed it… Elvis wins) and the crushing “Boa”.
As stated before, Volbeat’s sophomore album is the crème-de-la-crème of Volbeat albums – a true representation of who they are and where they have been, a fun fucking album of non-stop groove, riff, melody, hand-clapping, classy drumlines, heavy bass, massive breakdowns, smooth and nasty guitar riffs, and unforgettable lyrics and hooky fucking vocal lines. So if you are looking for the “Devil or a Blue Cat’s Song”, and desire “A Moment Forever”, this motherfucker is for you. So tell your friends!
After only a year and a half, Volbeat's second album hits the stores! The sound hasn't changed much, so if you liked the first album, you're definitely going to like this one. Personally I like it even better 'cause the first album needed some getting used to, since I didn't knew the band back then. "Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil" however, got my immediate attention (because I liked the first one so much), so I play it more often, wheredue the songs begin to have more effect on me.
The album consists of heavy, hard rockin', groovy, rock 'n' rollish, country-influenced metal songs that make you want to sing along and bang your head from the very beginning of the cd. The opening song, "The Human Instrument", starts off like the country-ish soundtrack of The Straight Story, afterwards it builds up to a heavy adrenaline-based chorus, making this song one of the best and most enjoyable songs of the entire album. "Sad Man's Tongue" is without any doubt one of my favorite songs. It seems you're listening to some Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley album, then the snares and drums come in and it's just irresistible to start bangin' your head. Cash gets mentioned some times in the lyrics, so the influence is obvious. Another mindblowing song is the groove-filled, Channel Zero atmospheric "Boa"; this song makes you want to play the album again as it ends, 'cause it's the last song on the disc. One of the lesser songs is "The Garden's Tale", their hit single. You can hear that this song is really one of the more poppy ones on the album. There are even some lyrics sung in Danish, so it is pretty clear that this was their best shot at getting some media attention if they released it as a hit single. Their music isn't meant to be (or stay) underground, a completely sold out Danish tour proves that. One tiny negative point is that because of their rising popularity (not only in Denmark but also internationally), the production quality needs to be (and is!) very good, and that's why the little thrashy influences haven't got any effect. But since this isn't a thrash album, let's just say it rocks, it rolls, it's catchy and it makes you yearn for more!
In the end this album is certainly one of those that makes a shot at being one of my top ten metal albums of 2007. Fans of groovish rock 'n' roll metal should check this out, but since there are almost no bands that play this kind of music, it is just recommended to check them out if you're but a bit open-minded. I'd say this is a mix of influences of Johnny Cash, the rockabillyness of Motörhead and the groovyness of Channel Zero, with main ingredients being the unique vocals of Michael Poulsen and a very contagious, addictive sound.