Over the course of seven albums previous to this newest release, Volbeat have managed to meld some pretty varied influences into something unique and heavy. If you still aren’t familiar, the mix is best covered as 50s rock n roll with a slathering of metal, creating a mix of music that is better heard than described.
Jumping straight into the hard rock end of their musical scale Temple of Ekur kicks proceedings off with a tribal thudding drum and clean guitars that throw a sneaky nod towards the reverb-drenched era of rock the band love, while also having a modern heavy crunch. Keen to show that they aren’t a one trick pony, follow up tracks Wait A Minute My Girl and The Sacred Stones continue to show off different talents or eras of the same band, the former being a full 50s rager complete with rockabilly piano and sax trading musical blows creating a party that makes me feel like I missed great time. The follow up has the band darkening their sound and leaning heavily into a more Black Sabbath traditional form of heavy. This is a side of Volbeat that hasn’t really had much exposure, as they usually play up the poppier side of their sound.
From here the album continues in this unfocused manner, but is its strongest point. Vocalist and band mastermind Michael Poulsen has stated more than once that this album came together very quickly because the band was forced to cool their heels and sit at home. This time has allowed a greater focus on each song, rather than their usual full album focus, and it is all the better for it.
Some of the best tracks come where the band really digs into their love of traditional rock, adding their twist on The Devil Rages On with an almost surf rock feel underpinning and holding together what is a traditional metal song in every other aspect, but its all about the guitar tone here. The same can be said for Step Into the Light as it expands on the same formula just a little more.
Those who prefer straight up heavy tracks haven’t been left out. Say No More and Becoming allow guitarist Rob Caggiano to flex his muscles, playing some great thrash riffs on a couple of the shining moments.
The variation is so great that even when we get to the sugary ballad rock of Dagen For, it feels like it needs to be nestled in the middle of this album. Never hitting the brake completely, the addition of Danish pop singer Stine Bramsen is far better suited here than some guests that the band have had on previous albums.
With all of the variation on show, this will become the album to show your mates that still don’t get why you like heavy music, or suggest it is all the same racket. I have always been a fan of Volbeat, but the last couple of albums missed a certain something. Whatever that something was, it is here in spades. Every track is memorable in its own way and will have you humming riffs for a while to come yet.
Far from resting on their laurels and coasting through with another album that will just sell, Volbeat have put in the extra effort to please fans of every era.
1. Temple of Ekur
2. Wait A Minute My Girl
3. The Sacred Stones
4. Shotgun Blues
5. The Devil Rages On
6. Say No More
7. Heavens Descent
8. Dagen For
9. The Passenger
10. Step Into Light
12. Mind Lock
13. Lasse’s Birgitta