Review: Volbeat “Servant Of The Mind” [Republic Records]

Review: Volbeat “Servant Of The Mind” [Republic Records]

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The Danish Volbeat play their mix of Metal, Psychobilly and Punk ‘N’ Roll since 2001 and they do it great. Just look on a list of their awards and the bands Volbeat shared stages with: Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and many others. The band’s last album Rewind, Replay, Rebound was released in 2019 and now, two years later, the time has come for the new, eight album named Servant Of The Mind.

“I wrote the whole album in three months,” recalls vocalist and guitarist Michael Poulsen, “I was in a good place and mood while at home, and had a captive audience of myself… There are a lot of Volbeat signatures in it. If you go back to the first record and compare it to where we are now, you can hear how the band has developed its style, while keeping the signature sound.” Actually, the first single, mid-paced “Shotgun Blues” with solid riff (which aims to go almost Thrash in the end of the song) and melodic chorus with some 80s touches, is about Michael’s new house. “Every time you move into a house, you bring dead people with you,” he explains. “Weird stuff happens when I move into a [new] house… it’s very otherworldly.”

“The Sacred Stones” sounds heavy too: it starts from a typical 80s Metal riff but soon it gets some Dio era’s Black Sabbath vibes. Michael also tries to sound similar to Ronnie James Dio, not cloning his vocals but rather referring to it. At the same time, “Say No More” and “Becoming” are even heavier, something more like Speed Metal. However, the melody in choruses and technical solos are still present in these songs.

“The Devil Rages On” is probably the most outstanding song in Servant Of The Mind. Imagine Elvis in image of not the mawkish pretty boy but rather the charming devil with low voice. Add some Psychobilly guitars with Punk  here, a chorus catchy as hell, which will not get out of your head for weeks and then you’ll get this song. “Step Into Light” continues the Psychobilly music but this time it mixes with more mainstream, radio-friendly melodies, which can be catch easily when Volbeat will perform it live.

Talking about mainstream, two more songs need to be mentioned – “Wait A Minute My Girl” and “Dager Før”. If the first one combines Rock ‘N’ Roll, Pop Punk vibes, piano and saxophone, the other is a typical summer song (released in winter, do you see the irony?), cheesy enough to be in every 15 minutes rotation. Again, here we have some sticky melody in chorus, Michael sings with Stine Bramsen from Alphabeat and, well, just good vibes. Yeah, it’s mainstream. It’s Pop Rock. But this song doing its job, bringing smile to your face.

Servant Of The Mind ends with “Mindlock” and “Lasse’s Birgitta”, two songs that get the listeners back to heavy riffs and great drums’ territory, with lyrics about burning witches in XIII century Sweden. However, there are four more tracks in Deluxe version of the album: two covers – “Return To None” (Wolfbrigade) and “Domino” (Roy Orbison/The Cramps) and alternative versions of “Shotgun Blues” and “Dagen Før”. “Return To None” is a good piece of 80s Metal while “Domino” is a darky Psychobilly. These two songs fit the album great so don’t skip them, they really good.

Volbeat are consistent in their music. They improve and evolve, but their music always had their signature sound. And they did it again, as for me: combining genres, clearly pointing on musicians, which inspired them but without some imitating or plagiarism, the band release a good, cheerful album with various music (which can be too mainstream sometimes but its ok too). Good vibes included.

Servant Of The Mind will be released on December, 3 via Republic Records.

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