With a cover straight from one of those classic fifties American detective films and a title like Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood, Denmark’s Volbeat really know how to create an impression.
When one of Denmark’s leading metal bands Dominus, folded former member Michael Poulsen set about heading up a new band, and formed Volbeat. Their style successfully meshes metallic, melodic, and good old rock ‘n’ roll. They often get called ‘Elvis-metal’. Yes, it confused me too. The only way to make any sense of it all was to listen to Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood.
Their first eponymous album was released in 2002. However it wasn’t until the 2003 Beat The Meat demo, that Volbeat really began to take off. By 2004 they were being nominated for the best live Danish metal band. Their song “Pool Of Booze” was used in the movie Frost. As more and more awards flooded in it was clear that Volbeat were onto something.
In Volbeat founding member, guitarist, and singer Poulsen is joined by drummer Jon Larsen, bass player Anders Kjolholm, and guitarist Thomas Bredahl. Their style is neither straight on metal nor melodic, but a mix that will have you scratching your head trying to pinpoint the sound. It certainly is a unique approach.
I have tried desperately to give a better analysis than this and I am relieved to see that most other reviewers have struggled too. One thing the album does do, is grow on you. Once you stop trying to nail the sound you suddenly find it really works; just as suddenly as the metal, or a wall of a riff, blasts out of the speakers, crashing above the catchy rhythms.
Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood is an album that could divide opinion. If, like me, you liked it on first play, you will grow to love it. Opening with the misleading and brief Americana blues of “End Of The Road”, it leads into the rocking foot stomping, feel good, rollicking, title track , “Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood.” “Back To Prom” keeps you right in that bouncing-around-the-room zone.