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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!