Volbeat are a band with a long backstory and have a massive mix of opinions throughout the heavy metal community. What started as a death metal band named Dominus molded into a more groove-oriented project, which translated heavily over to Volbeat’s first record The Strength / The Sound / The Songs. Since the 2005 outing, this Danish metal band evolved towards the hard rock sound, with each album implementing slightly more melody and radio-friendly vibes. Here in 2019, we’ve received their seventh offering titled Rewind, Replay, Rebound, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound very different.
Despite fitting in with the modern-day rockers, Volbeat have always had a distinctive and original sound that can be picked out of the crowd easily. This one doesn’t lose that, but there are a few big shifts that one can find immediately. The first one is how much deeper into the rock ‘n roll roots they go. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Poulson has always shown clear love for that, but songs like “Die To Love” and “Awakening Of Bonnie Parker” bring this to a new light. The former adds piano rhythms with a saxophone solo thrown in and yields many layers of music. The latter is an emotional, tragic sounding number that achieves the mood with spoken words and sad melodies, comparable to a modern-day version of “Leader Of The Pack.”
“Pelvis On Fire,” as ridiculous as the title is, actually rips super hard by combining booming riffs with Elvis-esque speed. The chorus adds tons of grooves with the legato vocals, and the whole thing throws back to their classic “Sad Man’s Tongue.” To complement these classic-built songs are some beautiful melodic softees. “When We Were Kids” rides on acoustic guitars, delivering somber passages under different vocal styles. On the flip side, there’s the occasional fuming banger like “The Everlasting,” easily the heaviest tune on the disc.
Rewind, Replay, Rebound has its weirder moments too, such as “Sorry Sack Of Bones.” This one combines darker undertones with a western aura, generating some suspense. To be honest, it reminded me of Frankenchrist era Dead Kennedys. And of course, what everyone would predict, there are tons of pop hooks. The single and album opener “Last Day Under The Sun” brings on alternative rock licks and melodies that are very easy to get into. “Leviathan” also has a lot of this in its chorus thanks to all of the chants, which are very pleasant.
My only complaint here is the fact that there’s just a couple of songs that seem like obvious filler. Seeing that the album almost reaches an hour, there wasn’t any need for that, and those that fit the shoe should have been cut out. Thankfully they fall right in the middle (see “Cheapside Sloggers”) preventing this record from being too loaded on either end. But in any case, shaving off maybe ten minutes could have made this just about perfect.
Save for that, this is an incredible listen, and I really didn’t think that Volbeat was ever gonna reach the level they did with Seal The Deal And Let’s Boogie. There’s a lot of accessibility and pop here, but what matters is that they did something new without abandoning their core values. I’m sure that many will still bitch about this record’s existence, but I say with the utmost sincerity that this is worth checking out whether you’re a fan or not.
Rewind, Replay, Rebound came out on August 2nd, 2019 through Vertigo/Republic/Universal, and can be found just about anywhere that music is sold. It’s available on CD and double vinyl. There are also special editions with a handful of extra tracks.