Volbeat – ‘Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie’ [Review]

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The intertwined histories of rock and metal are littered with countless thousands of bands proclaiming their own uniqueness. Most of them were (and many are) full of shit. Volbeat are not.

Before ex-Anthrax axe maestro Rob Caggiano joined Volbeat’s ranks while producing 2013’s Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies, Volbeat were already an established and undeniably idiosyncratic act. That now-three-year-old album saw Volbeat reinvigorated, juiced up like never before, ready and willing to play with all the toys they could get their hands on. Now, with Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie, it’s time to see what Volbeat MkII have hidden up their sleeves.

Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie is a slightly misleading title, in that it makes this album seem more carefree and playful than it actually is. Half-title track Seal The Deal is definitely an easy highlight, seeing Volbeat let loose a series of foaming-at-the-fingers guitar solos drenched in glorious washes of wah and proving a winning party metal tune. But for the most part, Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie is a dark album – a place where love, loss, and loneliness are recurring themes.

On this album, Volbeat juggle a wide range of emotions simultaneously. Wherever you are in its running time, you’re never far from a huge chorus hook or face-melting solo – especially when you’re talking about lead singles The Devil’s Bleeding Crown and For Evigt / The Bliss – but as uplifting and exciting as Volbeat’s music is, beneath the slick and commercially accessible surface lies plenty of gut-twisting substance.

At times, Volbeat take a light-hearted approach to darker lyrical themes, as on the punky-but-consistently-solid The Rebound and Southern-fried barroom drinking-song anthem Battleship Chains; at other points (the nostalgic Black Rose, commemorative Mary Jane Kelly, and vicious The Loa’s Crossroad) they turn up the dials marked “emotion” and “aggression” while keeping things under control as only world-class musicians can. Then you have a handful of songs that, while cool, don’t quite match the exceptional standards Volbeat set elsewhere (Marie Laveau, Let It Burn, and You Will Know), and a couple of stunning highlights in The Gates Of Babylon (seductively exotic) and Goodbye Forever (custom-made for live arenas and festival fields like the ones Volbeat are set to hit this summer). There’s a little less variety on show this time around, but at the same time Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie is obviously an album designed to be played live with maximum impact and as few frills as necessary.

Overall, Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie is another worthy addition to Volbeat’s back catalogue. Expect their festival dates to include a fair few future favourites from this very album. The live arena is, after all, what these tunes were made for.

TMMP RATING: 94% (Essential Listening!)

Click here to check out my interview with Rob Caggiano, discussing Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie and more…

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Posted on 30 May 2016

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