Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie
- The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
- Marie Laveau
- For Evigt (featuring Johan Olsen)
- The Gates of Babylon
- Let It Burn
- Black Rose (featuring Danko Jones)
- Mary Jane Kelly
- Goodbye Forever
- Seal the Deal
- Battleship Chains
- You Will Know
- The Loa’s Crossroad
- The Bliss
- Black Rose
- The Devil’s Bleeding Crown (Live at Tusindårsskoven, Odense 2015)
Volbeat released their latest offering “Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie” on June 3rd, and is the first album release since the departure of bassist Anders Kjølholm, who had been with the band since the beginning.
Not much deviates from the usual Volbeat sound, and I’m sure that can only be good if you’re a fan. The record kicks off with the catchy as all hell “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”, which was the first single, and it sure is a good opener; full of Volbeat attitude.
As the record moves on into the next couple of tracks, I find myself almost a little distracted by the vocal style. There seems to be more reverb than ever on this album, and at times – especially in the first few tracks – it’s almost a little Eurovision. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. For Evigt could have been an entry. It’s sing-a-long, and mixes English verses and a Danish chorus rather wonderfully, and mixes a banjo solo with harmonised voices in the middle 8. By no means is being “Euro” a bad thing, after all, it’s where they are from, but be prepared to have 1998-99 europop flashbacks at the vocal effects. It really is that strong.
“The Gates of Babylon” is slightly darker. The verses are brooding and full of expectation of something big just around the corner. It comes in the chorus, as a triumphant exhalation, and I love it. It’s backed up and completed by a rawkus metal middle 8. Recommended.
However, the album now takes a trip down a pop-punk avenue, with “Let It Burn” being the most ‘commercial’ sounding track on the whole album. There’s even a key change towards the end, and a chorus of voices singing a variety of notes but no words. You know, that “aaaah” thing. Again, it’s not a bad thing – I have all of Kids in Glass Houses’ albums for goodness sake – just a heads up if you’re not into that sort of thing.
“Black Rose” is a little more mature sounding – but not too much – featuring Danko Jones, who I am a fan of. The band play the sort of music that makes you want to put on that questionable black outfit and feel gods damn awesome in. It’s a McFly-esque back and forth between the two vocalists, full of opportunity to try and emulate. Karaoke is a serious passion of mine, so just you wait until I learn the words…
A cover of Teenage Bottlerocket’s “Rebound” comes up next. It was a hit for Volbeat during live shows, and ended up on this album. It’s a great halfway point, being full of Ramones-style honesty and humour. However, the commercial sound comes back for the next couple of songs, “Mary Jane Kelly” and “Goodbye Forever”. The latter has a really interesting gospel breakdown, which never occurs again in the record. It certainly stuck with me, whether it’s good or bad is a matter of opinion.
The next track gets right back to the metal sound, and is probably my favourite of the whole lot. “Seal the Deal” has elements of nu-metal or even funk metal, though the guitar is straight up classic metal. I think the whole “Seal the deal and let’s boogie,” line might be a euphemism for something a little more physical, and I’ll be honest here, most songs dripping with sex and groove licks will get a big green tick from me. This is going on that playlist.
Another cover in the form of “Battleship Chains” – originally by Georgia Satellites – takes the band right back to country rock, which is undoubtedly an influence on their overall sound. It’s a real homage to the 80s tune, and I’m glad it’s one I’ve not really heard of, thanks to the genre not being as popular as others in the UK. Rather than go for something obvious, they have picked a real pure Southern rock tune and payed great homage to it.
As the album draws to a close, we are treated to a track who’s title references Papa Legba – the Loa of Haitian Voodoo (or Vodou) who judges your character at the crossroads. It’s thought he was the inspiration behind the whole devil at the crossroads who takes your soul in exchange for talent or fame thing. This intrigues me straight away, thanks to my interest in religion and tradition. The lyrics are darker and more serious than anything before, and it’s darn cool.
“Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie” is a Volbeat album through and through, with a variety of genres blended together to create something which holds your interest, whatever you might be into. The effects on the vocals can be a little distracting at times, and sometimes I wish that the guitars (they have developed so much since earlier albums) sounded larger, but overall I enjoyed listening to the record, and can only imagine how popular these accessibly crowd-pleasing tracks are going to go down at the reams of festivals that Volbeat are hitting over the summer.