Denmark's Volbeat are currently my favorite hard rock/metal group going right now (sidenote: when the legendary original Black Sabbath (minus Bill Ward - still pissed over that) return with their new album on June 11th, all the current whipper-snappers of hard rock/metal will "kneel before Zod"!...just saying). What I like about Volbeat is that they're not your run-of-the-mill rock band...they take some of their favorite genres of old music and give it a new, metallic, twist. They're sometimes referred to as "Elvis Metal" - not sure I agree with that (I hear more Johnny Cash at times), but then again, I'm a super (duper!) Elvis nerd so I refuse any dilution or twisting of The King. Anyway, Volbeat's entire catalog is great, though I must admit each of their previous albums are a bit uneven - there will be a few really kickass numbers, then a few "fillers", then a few more kickass numbers.
However, their latest Spaghetti Western-inspired album is fantastic from the opening track to the finale! Perhaps their inspiration for this album is why I like it so much:
A. I'm a big fan of Spaghetti Westerns
B. I'm a big fan of spaghetti (ah-ha-ha-ha...aha...ha...ha...*ahem*...but anyway)
C. Mix that with wicked guitar riffs, thundering drums, and cool vocals/lyrics = get that ol' neck limbered up for some serious "headbanging"!
Lets Shake Some Dust: Cool minute-and-a-half instrumental opening really sets the Spaghetti Western vibe...love the harmonica.
Pearl Hart: Lyrically, kind of a rockin' version of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain".
The Nameless One: This could be a song that Doc Holliday would sing to his lady...if he were also shredding on his axe!
Dead but Rising: This song fucking rocks! All that needs to be said.
Cape of Our Hero: Borderline generic rocker, but great lyrics and song title.
Room 24: Hands down, one of the best metal songs I've heard in years. This song gets the blood pumping!!! Great mix of old Black Sabbath and Metallica thundering, galloping, guitar riffage...and when the cymbal crashes, marking a tempo change - fuuuuuuuuuuudge (only I didn't say "Fudge", Ralphie)!
The Hangman's Body Count: With a title like that, you know it's gonna be good - and it's great! Favorite part of the song is the chorus - chilling lyrics and chilling sound: "Put on the rope, you knew the day was coming. Say your prayers once more, you're part of the hangman's body count". I'd be ski-daddlin' outta there, partner!!!
My Body: Again, bit of a generic rocker - but like the whole album - really neat lyrics.
Lola Montez: Generic rocker once more, but damn, the lyrics about this hot temptress are really neat.
Black Bart: Kicking it back up a notch with Iron Maiden-esque guitar riffs with subtle dashes of slide guitar thrown in. "You fine-haired sons of bitches!" haha
Lonesome Rider: Love this song. Not metal, but a unique rocker - great sound, great vocals. Really cool duet with a gal named Sarah Blackwood (I think?). If I understand the lyrics correctly, it sounds as if a guy is coming back from a war to his home and lady love - or so he thinks...he's actually been killed and is a ghost, but doesn't know it.
The Sinner is You: Gonna sound like a broken record here, but - generic rocker with really neat lyrics.
Doc Holliday: Remember how cool Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday was in the movie Tombstone? Well, this song is your fucking huckleberry! This song is so badass! If you're not tapping your foot, bobbing your head, and throwing up "devil horns" during this song, then you just don't have a pulse. Has a very early Metallica "Seek and Destroy" vibe to it, with dashes of classic Spaghetti Western sounds thrown in. Seriously, this song is so gloriously 80's metal, I want to throw on a pair of tattered jeans (or even parachute pants); Kaepa shoes; a jean jacket (or a rad satin jacket - c'mon, if you played little league baseball in the 80's, you remember satin jackets); grow a Cliff Burton dirt 'stache; and throw a big ol' Chachi comb in my back pocket to comb my non-existent feathered hair. Metal!!!
Our Loved Ones: Features a great harmonica ditty, sounding very much like what was played by Charles Bronson in Once Upon a Time in the West. Great half-ballad, half-rockin', end to the album (*cue slow drift into the sunset*). Well done, Volbeat!!!
This album gets better with each successive listen, it really does.