Rockers Volbeat first appeared on the scene in 2005 with the release of their first album The Strength/The Sound/The Songs. While that album failed initially failed to chart, it did eventually make its way onto the Danish rock charts. As for the US, Volbeat didn’t make their first real US breakthrough until 2010 with the release of their fourth album, Beyond Heaven/Above Hell. It was this album that would finally garner the attention of Rock fans in the States and help the band launch into another category of stardom, opening for bands like Metallica and Slipknot.
Now, with their seventh studio album, Rewind, Replay,Rebound due out on Friday, August 2nd via Republic Records, the band is looking to show that they still have more to give. With their current lineup of Michael Poulsen (vocals/guitar), Rob Caggiano (guitars), Boye Larsen (bass), and Jon Larsen (drums), the guys have set about rousing fans from the three year rest they have been in between albums.
The whole album has their signature fusion of Metal and Rockabilly with the occasional pop intonation. The first song on Rewind, Replay, Rebound “Last Day Under the Sun” is no different. This track features a Metal riff as its base and is then layered with uptempo beats and a happy, almost jaunty and repetitive chorus. It is not something you will rage or riot to, but it makes for a nice fluffy feel-good palate cleanser to start. Then, you drop into “Pelvis On Fire” which, before you get too concerned with the safety hazards there, is more thematic than literal. It is more about Poulsen’s metaphorical pelvis being “on fire” for someone who really “shaking that thing.” This is where we dive heavily into that rockabilly thing they do with intense Elvis vibes here both in vocal execution and in the subject matter. If you are a fan of riffed up Elvis, this one is for you.
“Rewind the Exit” instrumentally gets into more traditional rock territory leans less heavily on highly affected vocals and reads as a smoother, cleaner listen than its predecessors. Its message is also that of simplicity, bolstering the benefits of leading a simple authentic life without the need to be someone else. The string work here by Caggiano in the bridge/solo is some of the most impressive at this point in the album. The band’s metal and Hard Rock roots are definitely on display with some inclination towards ballad work. “Die To Live” kicks the tempo back up and gives you that punk, speedball feel compared to “Rewind the Exit.” Featuring guest vocals from Neil Fallon of Clutch, this fast fusion frenzy makes for a bouncy romp that’s easy to dance to and a multilayered good time.
As we get further into the album, “Maybe I Believe” demonstrates the range of their sound and influences with the incorporation of multi-voice choral anthemic effects. The song itself goes from a simple rhythm and opens up into something a little more complex. While usually vocal effects can be easily abused by a lot of bands, Volbeat being no exception, this is one place where the echoic effect added to Poulsen’s vocals actually add ambiance and enhance the track. In “The Awakening of Bonnie Parker” the listener is treated to an intro reminiscent of the opening theme of a sitcom. From there it proceeds to give all the runaway romance vibes like a letter to the infamous other half of the Barrow bandits, Bonnie and Clyde.
From there, we begin our descent towards the end of the album. Here the tracks “The Everlasting” and “7-24” close things out. “7-24” is an ode to a newly born love, a child. It is here that Poulsen exalts his love for child and mother, proclaiming the child to be his ‘shining light’ with an upbeat and dreamy tune that makes for a nice way to ‘drift’ out of this album.
Overall, Rewind, Replay, Rebound is a solid Volbeat staple album that long-time fans should love as it stays the tried and true course of the band’s sound. Newer listeners may be confused by the mix of styles and sounds on the record, but there’s enough to at least make it interesting the first time through. Volbeat knows their audience and plays to those strengths well, but this album doesn’t do much beyond that in the way of reinventing themselves.
All of this is not necessarily a bad thing and not necessary for every band. These guys know they their strengths and make a point to play to them with just enough experimentation to make a ripple in their staple sound, but not a wave. With fans as loyal as theirs and after a three-year wait, it makes sense to give them what they love.
Volbeat “Rewind, Replay, Rebound” (Vertigo Berlin)