Album Review: Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies

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Volbeat have seriously been smashing out the albums; they are onto their 5th studio since 2007. The Danish rockers are some of the most hard-working guys in the metal genre. Well, I say the metal genre in a loose term, as to be perfectly honest, judging from this album it's difficult to judge where this band lay in the musical spectrum. Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies somehow manages to create some wonderfully old-school metal sounds, while also fusing in country elements to create a head-banging version of Mumford and Sons. This album is by far one of the most unique albums I have ever sat down and listened to.

Now, I say that the album is unique. It is a good thing... but only at times. Half of the time I spent listening to this album I was mightily confused as to what the hell was going on. As I stated above, the album fuses metal and country pretty well. These are two of the most contrasting sounds in music, so that alone is pretty impressive - I have never really heard it done before. But there is a reason for it.


With songs like 'Doc Holliday', the contrast is so prolific that it is essentially music schizophrenia  - one minute the acoustic guitar is working it's magic, soothing you into a false sense of security; then, literally seconds later, the drums and heavy metal vocals kick in and it just leaves you disorientated. The most surreal thing is that both aspects of the songs are faultlessly produced and sound really good - but together it just leaves me befuddled.


This album though has some supremely good songs. With songs like 'Pearl Heart' and 'Black Bart', Volbeat truly flex their muscles and show the world why they are such an impressive force in the metal world. The drum beats and guitars are perfectly complimentary for the incredible vocals that Michael Poulsen seems to create with such ease. This is when this album is at its best: when the band hide the country influences that seem to flow through some of these songs, and allow their metal credentials take charge. Volbeat become a completely different machine when they ditch the acoustic guitar and replace it with drum beats that could break a man's rib cage. 


A confusing and perplexing album that shows signs of brilliance, but seemingly gets lost musically, due to its concept of fusing two completely different genres. 

Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.


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