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The sophomore album by this band is basically when they went from metal to hard rock. Some may argue that they are metal, but the first release is really the only one I can see that being true. This one is the one that gets a little friendlier, for lack of a better word. It's certainly great in many aspects and really doesn't have any noticeable flaws. Then again, none of the Volbeat albums really do.
Let's start out by talking about the huge country music influence on this album alone. The intro track, "The Human Instrument" to the album starts us off with a country sound to it, which is a huge transition from the first record, as that one was just heavy the whole way through. I guess they wanted to slow it down a bit, or possibly even add something that would surprise people. I'm sure it did when this was dropped. Then we have the magnificent "Sad Man's Tongue". That one starts off with your typical '80s country sound to it, with its twangy guitar, simple bass line, and southern sounding vocals. But after about 40 seconds of that, the edgy hard guitar fades in and his voice picks up speed and intensity. It also then drops all of the country elements. Now the only country quality left is the lyrics, as they sound like a bluesy country based sad song, hence the name. Also not to mention that this mentions Johnny Cash multiple times. If that isn't country influenced then I don't really know what it.
Another notable difference is the happier sound overall. His voice sounds a lit friendlier, and this is the standard to what I believe most Volbeat songs for the future would hold. This is mostly evident in the track "Radio Girl". Its sweet melodic tone, its catchy foot tapping chorus, and the nicer atmosphere gives it all this sound. Other tracks carry out this format as well. Don't let that drive you away though, because it still has some of the same angry song structured tunes too. Once the intro track loses its country sound, it turns more into the old Volbeat sound. Even these harder tracks will lack a metal sound and be closer to hard rock, so if that's the only thing you're looking for, this record probably isn't for you.
Guitar work was never really Volbeat's strongest department, as a lot of it's very simple guitar riffs and they lack solos. A lot of it is still, nonetheless, heavy and powerful, which a lot of this one carries on from the last release. They would also continue to keep up this format for a lot of future albums, however I believe the guitars got a little more complex as time went on.
Sometimes a band won't reveal their softer side until a few albums in or so, and this may be the one where Volbeat wanted to experiment with that a little bit. "The Gardens Tale" starts out with an acoustic intro, which was one of the first changes to the guitar they really tried. Starting with completely soft vocals, it almost sounds like it's starting as a ballad. Of course, this one picks up a little bit after a while, but the point is, they tried it and did a pretty kickass job at doing so. We can all understand really well by this point that this band is made for clean vocals, no matter how heavy some of the songs may start to sound. Harsh vocals just won't do it for Volbeat, and maybe that's why the death metal band that they originated from didn't do as well.
A lot of people like to compare this band to Metallica, and I really never really got why. Because they use melodic but edgy guitars? Yeah, ok, so do a million other bands. This album in particular is probably the furthest from Metallica than any of the others, just because of the country styles and, it's clearly too simplistic to be at the complexity of Metallica. That's probably one of the only complaints about it, a lot of the guitar work is very basic. But who says you need complexity to be enjoyable? Nobody, so it's certainly still a magnificent album, just jam to at certain parts and kick back and relax at other parts.
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.