Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood

Written by: MR on 17/09/2008 14:52:49

Volbeat has quickly become the biggest rock music-export that the Danish music scene has had for over a decade. The new album, "Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood", has already entered the number one slot on the charts and is doing quite well in Norway, Germany, Belgium and Holland as well. It'd be fair to say they have become a household name in Denmark, considering the huge fuzz surrounding this band. So no matter what critics say, it's for sure that this album is already a big success when looking at its sales and visibility.

To get back to the review I'll start off by saying that this album has less guitar then their last two records "Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil" and "The Strength/The Sound/The Songs". This makes most of the songs on the album digestive to the radio-stations around the country, which I think was Volbeat's purpose with this album. The production is clear and in no way as brutal as you would expect a metal album to be.

"Cadillac Gangsters And Cadillac Blood" is the first track on the album, and it offers a very promising start. Just like the title, the song is really cool, up there with previous Volbeat songs. But the next track - "Back to Prom", which is the worst Volbeat song ever made. In a weird balance between The Misfits and Green Day, the band is messing around some very dull and predictable melodies and chords. Oh my freaking god, I thought, but then comes "Mary Anns Place", a duet with the very beautiful but not so talented Pernille Rosendahl, and "Halleluja Goat" both of which are solid tracks, without a doubt the best ones on this album and maybe the best they've ever written.

As you can read between the lines, I've become quite schizophrenic about this album. That feeling continues throughout the whole album, alternating between loving and hating Volbeat. Michael Poulsen's love for Metallica and Elvis Presley is still shining through, and maybe it is time for Volbeat (or just Michael) to extend his personal expression cause the bottom-line is that it's just not his. His "auchhh" endings as we know it from James Hetfield and his Elvis-esque twists on the melody-lines aren't original nor that exiting anymore - the novelty has worn off already.

Additionally, the band is has two cover songs on the album. They are more or less with no deeper meaning and one is left wondering if it wouldn't have been more appropriate to put in two Volbeat songs instead? You would think after two successful records Volbeat would stop playing it safe, but that's not the case. The problem is that in some songs, Volbeat isn't being Volbeat but simply a band with remarkable influences. Oh and just a quick remark: Michael's pronunciation is still poor and I can't seem to comprehend how it got through the final mix. Volbeat hopes to break through the mythical American market, but this is not going to happen with such bad English, or the fact that some of the songs have danish phrases - Hofteholder??? why!?

Volbeat as a band can still improve if they want. Question is if they feel like it. Having already conquered the Nordic scene, they sit comfortably on their throne with no contenders, they have a formula that works. They mix it up on this album with some strings and on some songs, a countryish feel, but it's nothing that makes the ground shake on your perception of Volbeat.

So let me finish off by making a dangerous statement that probably will meet much criticism: "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood" is not a metal album (except for one or two songs). Some of the songs are good but you'd have to be bending the truth to fully recognize it as metal. Overall though, the album has some really good songs, but as you might say in soccer - you don't always win the game by only playing well in the first half.


Download: Mary Anns Place, Halleluja Goat, Still Counting
For the fans of: Metallica, D-A-D, Iron Maiden
Listen: MySpace

Release date 01.09.08
Mascot Records

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