Volbeat - 'Beyond Hell / Above Heaven' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 26, 2010    
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Volbeat put together an album that will see them pick up new fans from a variety of genres.

On paper the Metallica meets the Misfits (well the Elvis impersonator style vocals anyway) fusion that Volbeat create really should not work. However there’s no denying that the rocked up wall of riffs that has been produced on their fourth album ‘Beyond Hell / Above Heaven’ is not only a prime slab of metal, but is also catchy as hell. Maybe it is the fact that this Danish four piece bring much more to the party than a straight homage to ‘Black Album’ era Metallica that makes this an album that you are as likely to strain your neck muscles head banging along to, as you are belting out the words to some amazingly memorable choruses.

As you listen to ‘Beyond Hell / Above Heaven’, everything from Green Day to Queen and Disturbed to good old rock and roll comes to mind, with the song ‘Heaven Nor Hell’ sounding like a rockabilly inclusion from either of Green Day’s last two albums, while ’16 Dollars’ strongly reminds of Metallica’s cover version of the Queen classic ‘Stone Cold Crazy’. The Disturbed influences come through in more than one song with both the pummelling threat of ‘A Warrior’s Call’ and ‘Evelyn’ possessing the brooding ferocity that band are known for, the latter also sees Barney Greenway of Napalm Death put in a fantastic guest growl. As for the rock and roll, well every song is infused with the spirit of Elvis through Michael Poulsen’s deep and charismatic vocals, which I love, but others may not be so keen on. Musically however there are also a few moments where the true spirit of rock n roll also shines through, with it being easy to imagine the upbeat ‘Thanks’ or the sharp jangly punk riff of ‘A New Day’, being thumped out by The King if he had been born twenty five years ago.

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That really is still only half the story though, as there appears to be a confidence of experimentation on this album that Volbeat have not really had before, with the already mentioned styles also being augmented with the more restrained tones of ‘Fallen’ and the almost bluegrass rock of ‘7 Shots’. It may sound like a confused mix, but the real surprise of this album is just how well all these eclectic threads come together to make a stunning patchwork of sounds. The guitar work across the whole album from Poulsen and Thomas Bredahl is hard hitting, but still crammed with bright hooks that really lift the album out of cookie cutter metal and into something altogether more accessible.

Volbeat’s previous album ‘Guitars Gangsters And Cadillac Blood’, really established the band as serious metal contenders, but with ‘Beyond Hell / Above Heaven’, they have really stepped up in terms of song writing and put together an album that, while possibly making their hardcore support worry about what may come next, will see Volbeat pick up new fans from a variety of genres.

Steven Reid

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