Album Review: Volbeat – Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie (Vertigo)

Volbeat’s mix of rockabilly & metal have seen them rise into one of the most beloved bands in the world. For a long time it seemed that only mainland Europe really ‘got them’ where they were headlining festivals but over the last few years they’ve been making steady progress in the UK. Consistently great albums & impressive live showings has seen their popularity spike, Volbeat are a great band.

As a fan myself, I’ve been hoping that this latest album might see them vary it up a bit. The previous album, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies was a good album but it had a deja-vu feel about it. It felt like we’d been here before & that was worrying.

The Devil’s Bleeding Crown is not a good opener for anyone hoping for anything different, it’s the most Volbeat song you’ll ever hear. It’s catchy with very listenable riffs & hooks, Michael Poulsen’s voice is as incredible as always but it just lacks ‘omph’.

It’s a bit of problem throughout the entire album, those wanting bite will disappointed. Here’s the thing though, it’s a damn fine album with some of Volbeats best work scattered throughout. Often mournful, beautiful & incredibly catchy…these are songs to sing along too. No more is that apparent with For Evigt with guest singer Johan Olsen. It’s a great little number with some of the best singing on the entire album. The drum beat is toe-tappingly good but it’s when the song throws out an eye-opening ‘hillbilly-esque’ banjo moment that the song really lights up.

The guitar work is so impressive throughout, Rob Caggiano has really brought the riffs to the Volbeat party & thanks to great production they beautifully clear. A great example is Let it Burn which would be so ‘by the numbers’ if it wasn’t for the fantastic guitar work. That & Poulsen’s constantly incredible voice. Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie (I hate that title) might be his best work. His combo with Danko Jones on Black Rose is fantastic & offers something slightly fresher. The ending really channels a rock and roll disco scene.

The shortest song on the album (2.29) is also one of the worst, Rebound is just so boring lacking energy that normally drips from every Volbeat song.

Thankfully it’s a rare miss with Mary Jane Kelly really taking me by surprise. Initially sounding like a standard Volbeat song it has a mind blowing mid-point with a wonderful riff & haunting echo effect that bleeds directly into a guitar solo that would make many of the thrash metal giants sit up and take notice.

This up-turn continues with the wonderfully surprising Goodbye Forever that really shows off just how much this band has grown over the years. It’s Volbeat turned up to 11 with every member of the band making their instruments work so hard. The use of a ‘gospel choir’ wouldn’t be something I’d expect to enjoy but here it makes a great song even better. One of the best songs on the album & one of the best Volbeat songs ever.

Seal the Deal is probably as close to heavy as you’re gonna get from these guys & it just feels odd coming after the gorgeous Goodbye Forever. The chorus does little to excite & it’s just the intense flashes of guitar riffery that makes it less forgettable.

Thankfully the final the two songs end the album on a high, the catchy as hell You Will Know and impressive The Loa’s Crossroad, the former having one of the guitar solo highlights of the album, while the latter is a piece of heaviness that is becoming a rarity on Volbeat albums.

The deluxe version comes with a few additional songs including a live version of The Devils Bleeding Crown and a version of Black Rose that doesn’t include Danko Jones. Slaytan comes in at less than a minute & is just Volbeat showing that they can drop heavy riffs on par with the likes of Slayer while The Bliss is a different version of For Evigt without Johan Olsen.

Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie is a great Volbeat album, one of their best. It’s filled with catchy & warming songs but is let down by a few ‘by the numbers’ songs. It’s not the best album of 2016 but will easily be in the top 10.

Full Track List:

1. The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
2. Marie Laveau
3. For Evigt (featuring Johan Olsen)
4. The Gates of Babylon
5. Let it Burn
6. Black Rose (featuring Danko Jones)
7. Rebound
8. Mary Jane Kelly
9. Goodbye Forever
10. Seal the Deal
11. Battleship Chains (The Woods Cover)
12. You Will Know
13. The Loa’s Crossroad

Deluxe Editon Extra Tracks:

14. Slaytan
15. The Bliss
16. Black Rose
17. The Devil’s Bleeding Crown

Volbeat - Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie (Vertigo)
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