Volbeat - Beyond Hell/Above Heaven

Album cover
Metal, Rockabilly
Rebel Monster Records
Volbeat
Beyond Hell/Above Heaven
Volbeat - Beyond Hell/Above Heaven Review rating:
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Average: 4.9 (7 votes)

 

Volbeat is a rock band from Copenhagen who, despite being established since shortly after the turn of the century, you probably haven’t heard of until recently. The band’s commercial success has largely been relegated to their homeland of Denmark, where all of their albums have achieved at least gold status. Volbeat received their biggest exposure in 2009 as the openers for the first leg of Metallica’s World Magnetic tour, whose inclusion was no doubt influenced by a shared heritage with fellow countryman Lars Ulrich as well as James Hetfield’s “secret hillbilly,” post-rehab preponderance with the greaser aesthetic.

Speaking of the rustic persuasion, despite their Danish origins, Volbeat harbor their own inner-yokel. The band employs an eclectic melange of musical styles, sticking mostly to a rockabilly base while melding and transitioning between alternative rock, modern metal, and some punk. The majority of the time is spent with a radio friendly, almost Foo Fighters-esque approach to hard rock, with big gang shouted sections that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Misfits song. Vocally, singer Michael Poulsen sounds strikingly similar to Scooter Ward, the frontman of one-hit-wonder nu-metal band Cold, channeled through something of a Glenn Danzig delivery.

Although Volbeat offers a relatively wide pallet of styles, it is often to their detriment. This is most evident when the band attempts to worship at the throne of their aforementioned one-time tour hosts, with songs such as “Evelyn” and “Who They Are,” that awkwardly transition from palm-muted chugging and a double-kick backbone to the huge, poppy choruses that permeate the majority of songs on the record.

Still, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven is able to gain momentum when the band sticks to doing what they do well; that is: simple, catchy song structures with a rockabilly swagger. If you don’t mind the processed vocals and fat-sounding drums of a slick, radio-ready production with equally commercial stylistic sensibilities, then you may just find yourself getting caught in the country groove of Volbeat’s brand of rock. Recommended for fans of Social Distortion, later-era Misfits, and AC/DC.
1. The Mirror and the Ripper
2. Heaven Nor Hell
3. Who They Are
4. Fallen
5. A Better Believer
6. 7 Shots
7. A New Day
8. 16 Dollars
9. A Warrior's Call
10. Magic Zone
11. Evelyn
12. Being 1
13. Thanks

Volbeat is a heavy metal band from Denmark, founded in 2001. They released their first album, The Strength/The Sound/The Songs, in 2005 and the follow up, Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil, was released in Denmark on February 19, 2007, and in the rest of Europe on February 26, 2007. In March 2007, it topped the Danish album chart as the best selling album, the first metal album ever to do so.

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