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Another typical, but excellent release - 80%

Ghost_Eh_Blinkin, May 5th, 2013

If you're familiar with Volbeat already, and like their music, this album is a pleasant addition to an impressive collection. They remain true to their country/western/metal/rock and roll/punk style without much change or improvement (read: they've clearly got their shit together).

If you're not familiar with Volbeat: there's always the classic comparison, "Metallica meets Johnny Cash" but I always took a slightly different approach. With Volbeat, you have a variation among the songs they put out; some are heavy, mostly in the realm of post-Ride the Lightning Metallica. Others are poppier, but hardly generic, rock songs that I think Volbeat are mostly known for; this is where the rock 'n roll and country sounds really come through, often with some heavier elements and ideas and present (although they often don't take center stage). These songs are catchy and bright. Thanks to this variation, listening to this album left me both headbanging and singing along throughout.

The album starts off promising, beginning with a few killer tracks; the opening instrumental (not recommended if you're repulsed by country music in general) sets a neat tone, leading into "Pearl Hart" and "The Nameless One"; both are insanely catchy and are sure to get stuck in your head immediately, although hardly in the realm of metal. Nevertheless, these are more or less two quintessential Volbeat songs in my opinion, and excellent rock songs at that. Other recommendations for songs in the vein that I enjoyed are "Lola Montez", "My Body", and "The Sinner is You"

Moving through the album, we hear the metal elements that qualifies the band to be on this page. In particular, we have a pair of the songs in the middle of the album, "Room 24" and "The Hangman's Body Count" that are an excellent showcase of what the band is capable of. The first is fast and heavy, and features King Diamond's soaring/screeching vocals (I'm usually not partial to King Diamond, but he performed well on this track, complementing both the music and Michael Poulsen's singing). The second one begins with a compelling lead guitar track on top of a western-sounding acoustic progression, breaking into a heavy riff about a minute in. Other songs that are heavier and worth a good listen are "Dead But Rising" and "Doc Holliday" (side note, don't let the banjo intro fool you on this one!).

Nothing is perfect, and as such, the only track I would recommend avoiding is "Lonesome Rider", which features a talented female vocalist. Unfortunately, the song itself doesn't really jive with everything else Volbeat is doing, and sounds more like a crummy indie-folk songs (pardon my redundancy) and is sure to leave any listener knowing to look for a review of this album on a metal forum scratching their head in confusion. All in all, however, this was a solid release with (almost) every track offering something interesting, fun, and really catchy.