VOLBEAT REVEAL OUTLAW GENTLEMEN & SHADY LADIES DETAIL
IN FRONT OF APRIL 9TH ALBUM RELEASE
New Album Features King Diamond, Paul Lamb, Sarah Blackwood and New Band Member, Rob Caggiano
Volbeat has recorded an album that seamlessly brings together all of the band’s influences and reshapes them into something gleaming and new. Planned for release on April 9 Worldwide, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies is a record that’s rich with stories and characters woven throughout its lyrics. Some are real – like the noble lady outlaw Pearl Hart, who held up a stagecoach to buy medicine for her dying mother, or Lola Montez, the erotic dancer with her infamous ‘Spider Dance,’ or Black Bart, the gentleman highwayman who wrote poems for the people he robbed. Others are entirely fictional. “The Nameless One” is a cautionary tale of dabbling in the dark arts, featuring the mysterious and sinister character of the title. Elsewhere, “Room 24,” featuring King Diamond, was inspired by a terrifying experience in a hotel room somewhere in the heart of America.
Since forming in Copenhagen in 2000, Volbeat has released four studio albums, and two live offerings, that have turned the band into superstars, collecting platinum discs and prestigious awards making them one of the most talked about bands around the world. Distilling the rebel spirits of metal, rockabilly, country & western and rock’n’roll into a gas-guzzling beast of a sound, they’ve drawn huge acclaim from music fans worldwide, and earned them the respect and admiration of such iconic musicians as James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica (who invited them on tour in 2009), Lemmy and Danish metal legend King Diamond, Dave Mustaine, Hank III, Jon Schaefer, Social Distortion and Scott Ian. And now Volbeat’s electrifying fifth album, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, is about to secure them a seat at rock’s top table alongside those very same legends. It finds the core trio of Michael Poulsen (vocals/guitar), Anders Kjølholm (bass) and Jon Larsen (drums) joined by former Anthrax/The Damned Things guitarist Rob Caggiano, who produced the album with longtime Volbeat co-producer Jacob Hansen.
“It’s a new vibe for Volbeat,” says Volbeat main man Michael Poulsen. “You’ve got everything – the rockabilly stuff, the melodies, the ultra-heavy stuff, the Western motifs and the big rock songs. It’s everything that Volbeat are all about, but taken even further.” The album title is a phrase that evokes another time, an era when elegant lawbreakers were the rock stars of the day. It tips its fedora to everything from the bad men (and women) of the old west to the old school metal bands who influenced the young Michael Poulsen to form his first band, Dominus, back in the early 90s.
As with so many classic albums, the seeds of Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies were sown on the road in Europe and the US. That’s where Poulsen began playing around with ideas and riffs, recording them on his mobile phone and directly to an amp. “Melody, lyrics, everything – it’s just working non-stop in my head,” he shares. When the band eventually returned to Denmark, it was time to go to work. The band leader recalls, “We came back from the U.S. after touring a lot over there, and isolated ourselves in our own homes for six months to finish off the album. That peace was something I needed. Even though it’s very inspiring to write on the road, it’s more comfortable to write at home.”
It was there that the album truly began to take shape. Poulsen would close the curtains, turn off the light and draw inspiration from the old Western movies he’d watched as a child with his father. Watching the old spaghetti westerns he’s watched with his father provided a catalyst for inspiration. He offers, “Sometimes it’s just about the right feeling – the scenery, the lines, the dusty look. I have my own soundtrack when I see those kind of pictures.”
You can hear the influence of the Old West right from the start in “Let’s Shake Some Dust,” an evocative intro track that features harmonica from acclaimed blues harp player Paul Lamb. You can hear it again in the rampaging “Black Bart,” which Poulsen describes as “our country-Motörhead song,” and in the banjos that pepper the chorus of the hard-as-steel “Doc Holliday,” a tribute to the legendary lawman and associate of the Wyatt Earp gang. But Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies is no country & western record. If it was a car, it would be a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk with monster truck wheels – vintage and modern, stylish and muscular.
You can hear echoes of classic 50s rock’n’roll in the soaring “Pearl Hart,” and the live classic-in-waiting “Lola Montez.” The band’s metal roots come to the fore via the heavy riffage of “Dead But Rising” and “The Nameless One,” while the ghostly “The Lonesome Rider” – which finds Michael duetting with Sarah Blackwood of Canadian band Walk Off The Earth like a modern day Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – beats with a rockabilly heart. Elsewhere, they bring some greased-back energy to “My Body,” a cover of the hit song by US pop-punk outfit Young The Giant, while the brooding album closer “Our Loved Ones” is the nearest thing they’ve ever written to a ballad. Poulsen offers, “When I was growing up, my dad and mother played a lot of old records – Elvis, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. I love that stuff – it’s a drug somehow. My own record collection growing up was metal. But I listen to a lot of different styles of music. If something moves you, I don’t care what it is.”
The track “Room 24” features a massive coup for Volbeat with the guest appearance from King Diamond, the legendary front man of Danish metal pioneers Mercyful Fate, and one of Poulsen’s musical idols. He reveals, “I’m a huge fan of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. Having King on the record is a huge privilege. Normally, it’s not something he does. He wrote his own lines, and it is half my lyrics and half his. It’s a weird, scary story, and he’s the perfect person for it.” Additional guests include Anders Pedersen on slide guitar, Rod Sinclair on banjo and Jakob Øelund on double bass.
The album itself was recorded in the legendary PUK Studios, in Randers, Denmark. With Jacob Hansen and Rob Caggiano sharing production duties, which brought a new dynamic to proceedings. Poulsen reflects, “I love Jacob Hansen’s work. He’s part of Volbeat, and we worked together on all the albums so far. I started flirting with the idea of bringing Rob in as a producer too because he produced Anthrax and The Damned Things, and I like the sound of what he did there. I thought, ‘That could be a really cool combination,’ as both are quality guys with really high standards.”
In closing, Poulsen sums it up in sharing, “I chose this way of living because I love playing music and I love touring. We wanted to write, we wanted to be inspired by our idols, we just wanted to rock out. That, for me, is what music is all about.” Volbeat returns to the road launching a North American tour on March 6 in Dallas, TX. All dates can be found on www.volbeat.dk.
BAND FEATURES MEMBERS OF FUEL AND SMILE EMPTY SOUL
New hard rock supergroup World Fire Brigade have signed to FrostByte Media to release their debut album, SPREADING MY WINGS, worldwide on August 28th. World Fire Brigade at its core is veteran songwriting trio Brett Scallions (frontman of Fuel, as well as lead vocalist with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors), Sean Danielsen (lead singer/guitarist of Smile Empty Soul) and Eddie Wohl (producer/mixer for Anthax, Ill Nino, Smile Empty Soul, Jesse Malin, 36 Crazyfists and more). Of SPREADING MY WINGS, Scallions commented, “This is a record filled with all emotions, songs that fall back and forth from major to minor. I love that it’s a heavy record with sing-a-long melodies. You don’t hear that too much in this style of music.” Please see below for the album’s track listing.
The members of World Fire Brigade have sold upwards of 10 million albums worldwide between Fuel, Smile Empty Soul and the production work of Eddie Wohl. Originally conceived as a songwriting vehicle for delivering world-class hard rock songs to other artists, World Fire Brigade evolved into its own group when it became clear that their powerful material was meant to be performed by Scallions, Danielsen and Wohl themselves. Ken Schalk (Fuel, Candiria) provides all the drums on SPREADING MY WINGS and the album also features guest appearances by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Anthrax’s Rob Caggiano, and Andy Andersson (Fuel, Black Robot). World Fire Brigade is: Brett Scallions (vocals), Sean Danielsen (vocals/lead guitar) and Eddie Wohl (keyboards).
About FrostByte Media
FrostByte Media Inc. is a full service media and entertainment company based in Toronto. With worldwide physical and digital distribution via eOne Entertainment, FrostByte is committed to breaking its diverse roster of artists onto the world stage. In addition to traditional music services, the aggressive newly-founded organization and its international partners can also provide song-writing collaboration, production and engineering, sponsorships and video production, as well as film and television licensing.
SPREADING MY WINGS track listing:
1. The End Of Silence
2. Spreading My Wings
3. All You Know
4. Weight Of The World
5. Shell Of Me (featuring Mike McCready)
7. Don’t Walk Away
8. Take Me Away (featuring Rob Caggiano)
9. Shot Down
10. All My Demands
11. The Beginning Of Madness
12. Never Saw The Wall (featuring Rob Caggiano)
13. Free And Sane (featuring Andy Andersson)
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When listening through some of the releases for my top 10 of 2011, one CD that I keep gravitating back to is Worship Music from Anthrax. It is a great injustice that I have not reviewed this CD before now.
Worship Music is the first CD Anthrax has recorded with Joey Belladonna in twenty-one years. Not since 1990’s awesome Persistence of Time record has Belladonna recorded with Anthrax. I am not sure what has been missing with Anthrax, but the band has recaptured the magic with Belladonna on the microphone. Worship Music is one of the strongest Anthrax CD’s to date. From a musical standpoint, the incredible riffs of Rob Caggiano and Scott Ian, the amazing drums of Charlie Benante and killer bass riffs from Frank Bello, are amongst the best Anthrax has ever recorded. Belladonna’s range may have diminished a little over the years, but he still sounds awesome!
Anthrax has never been radio darlings, but a couple of tunes that seem tailor-made for radio play would be “Crawl”, or “In The End” (with a few minor edits for expletives). “The Devil You Know” or “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” are two outstanding slabs of molten metal that are going to make a lot of headbangers happy (self included). I am a sucker for anything that has to do with zombies, so I absolutely loved the intro on “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t”. I can only imaging the mosh pit craziness that ensues when Anthrax plays this tune live.
If the Big 4 shows with Metallica, Megadeth & Slayer didn’t return Anthrax to the top of the metal mountain, Worship Music will certainly help them get there. Anthrax has outdone their Big 4 peers by releasing what is easily the best metal album of 2011. I highly recommend it!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Worship (Intro)
02. Earth On Hell
03. The Devil You Know
04. Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
05. I’m Alive
06. Hymn 1
07. In The End
08. The Giant
09. Hymn 2
10. Judas Priest
12. The Constant
13. Revolution Screams
Joey Belladonna – vocals
Scott Ian – rhythm guitar
Frank Bello – bass
Rob Caggiano – lead guitar
Charlie Benante – drums
The Damned Things is a new heavy metal band consisting of Antrax members Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano, with Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die, and Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy. Their debut album, Ironoclast is coming December 14th. Check out the band’s awesome new video, “We’ve Got A Situation Here”!