Volbeat – Rewind, Replay, Rebound review

Well crafted and radio-friendly, Volbeat’ s exploratory rock should have mass appeal 8/10Volbeat band members. Stood in line in front of a black background.

Good time, psychobilly punk ‘n roll ambassadors Volbeat return with their seventh album, Rewind, Replay, Rebound and the first to introduce bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen. More mature, less rockabilly –thrash the band seem to have rewound to their roots, to replay in a more stadium rock vibe from which they hope to rebound. Last year their live sound was immortalized as a live album and concert film, Let’s Boogie! Live From Telia Parken, in Copenhagen where they performed to over 48,000, the largest ever headline show by a native, Danish band.

As much as I enjoyed their earlier incarnation, after twenty years there has been an evolution and Michael Poulsen (guitars/vocals), Rob Caggiano (guitars), Kaspar Boye Larsen (bass), and Jon Larsen (drums) have embraced this.

There is an overarching theme of childhood revisited, encompassing both the good and the bad:

“when you were really struggling, but you found your way through to the other side and continued being inspired by life and the challenges therein. The songs are personal but they are relatable.”

In turn, this relates also to the album title: how you replay your youth as you grow up, rebound from the difficult times and how also some of the tracks could have appeared on the first few records (rewind). “Now, in 2019, we replay it, and we even become stronger.”

With guest appearances from Neil Fallon  (Clutch), Gary Holt  (Slayer/ Exodus), backing vocalist Mia Maja and the return of the Harlem Gospel Choir there is sufficient variety for most tastes.

Opening with the euphoric and 80’s tinged Last Day Under the Sun with its lyrics inspired by the late, great Johnny Cash to produce a stadium sing-along of a track. Michael Poulsen, states  “he went through tough times with alcohol and drugs… He walked into a cave to lay down to die. But he wakes up and feels like he has been given a second chance… You can hear it in his music — something very strong happened to him in that cave when he came out. That’s something every one of us goes through in life — we struggle with depression and demons. Every one of us steps into that cave and comes out a new person with a new mindset or new hope or new meaning.”

The addition of the Harlem Gospel Choir enhances its celebratory and anthemic feel.

Pelvis on Fire is an absolute bouncer of a frivolous retro-tinged rock and roll number. Almost, but not quite an Elvis pastiche, but with plenty of swagger and raunch. Rewind the Exit continues with a down and dirty rocker, with an emotional tilt and uplift in its exploration of how pursuit of perfection can be a hollow goal and one that can ultimately be self destructive.

Die to Live featuring Neil Fallon (Clutch) and also Raynir Jacob Jacildo (piano) and Doug Corocran (sax) of fellow retro/ rockabilly aficionado JD McPherson’s band elevates  an upbeat party tune into something truly special! Of course I would have appreciated more Fallon, but this is a guest spot after all! Embrace it!

It’s 7:02
Breaking all the rules
Dance the boogie-woogie
And let’s fire up the booze

When We Were Kids has a golden innocence, bright, clean guitars and the empowerment of youth and naivety; before picking up the pace, incorporating a harder edge. Strings an exhilarating guitar solo and some of the greatest vocals yet invoke an almost Deep Purple ambience.

Sorry Sack of Bones
is dark, with a surf-punk- new- wave-esque quality, poppy hooks and a hint of creepiness. Which may describe either the hangover of doom or awakening in a horror movie!

The mood lightens for the classically AOR inspired Cloud 9 in which its sweet harmonising inspires the listener to keep the alive memories of loved ones .

Cheapside Sloggers with its Peaky Blinders nod and additional guitar wizardry by Gary Holt has a somewhat tougher edge, but is still intrinsically accessible and invigorating. The music video is actually almost as engaging as the track (watch out for Holt!)

Maybe I Believe
is about learning to trust in yourself and others to achieve great things in an inspirational and optimistic Killers influenced epic. Parasite changes direction with 39 seconds of pop-punk which would make the Ramones proud.

Cause you’re just one little parasite who don’t know your time is up
It’s hammer time today

It’s fun, but is it necessary? I think so!

Leviathan the first full length single, is a mysterious beast tinged with power metal and horns! Infectiously danceable with a driving rhythm and sweet riffs harking back to a golden age of rock (or perhaps a time when the monsters were your friends and could make everything better). With its Ronettes style opening and its full Phil Spector ‘wall of sound’ The Awakening of Bonnie Parker is the band’s fictional evolution of the Bonnie and Clyde adventure.

 “Bonnie had a great desire to be a movie star and she wrote tons of letters to the movie studios, who would always write back saying they couldn’t use her. Clyde was also a saxophone player who carried around a sax in the back seat of the car while they were robbing banks. In our story, Bonnie wakes up from the dead and is convinced that Columbia Pictures has been calling and she is the next big thing. She picks up Clyde’s saxophone and brings it to his grave and tries to convince him to join her on her trip to Hollywood, but he is content and has found peace in his coffin.”

Told through the medium of rock ‘n roll complete with a pensive voice over, it is sure to become a classic.The Everlasting takes us in a somewhat heavier direction (perhaps a little Metallica-lite) with an ode to the afterlife. Closer 7:24  is a tender and autobiographical celebration of Poulsen becoming a father, a tribute to his daughter.

In all, this is a great album. Classically Volbeat, but with a somewhat softer and more pensive edge. The title is most appropriate with its incorporation of the past while bounding into the future.
“The whole point for us, and a lot of other bands, going into the studio, is because you still have something to prove — not just for the fans, but mostly for yourself,” says Poulsen. “You are still eager and have that desire when it comes to music and lyrics. As long as you are inspired and you are satisfied with what you come up with… I will say this is our best work because it has to be our best work until the next records comes. But we would not be able to do this record if it wasn’t for the work we have done in the past. No matter how old the band gets or how many records we do, there is always going to be that signature sound.” Ultimately, Volbeat have not lost the musical fire in their veins or their passion to create and progress. They strive to outdo themselves and their previous output. It’s that which keeps them hungry — and musically honest — on Rewind, Replay, Rebound.

Rewind, Replay, Rebound is available to purchase now

  1. Last Day Under the Sun
    2.            Pelvis on Fire
    3.            Rewind the Exit
    4.            Die to Live (featuring Neil Fallon)
    5.            When We Were Kids
    6.            Sorry Sack of Bones
    7.            Cloud 9
    8.            Cheapside Sloggers (featuring Gary Holt)
    9.            Maybe I Believe
    10.          Parasite
    11.          Leviathan
    12.          The Awakening of Bonnie Parker
    13.          The Everlasting
    14.          7:24

The band recently announced the first leg in Europe of the Rewind, Replay, Rebound world tour, with support from Baroness and Danko Jones.

September 23 /// Newcastle, UK /// O2 Academy
September 24 /// Glasgow, UK /// O2 Academy
September 26 /// London, UK /// O2 Academy Brixton
September 28 /// Bristol, UK /// O2 Academy
September 30 /// Birmingham, UK /// O2 Academy
October 1 /// Manchester, UK /// O2 Apollo
October 3 /// Belfast, UK /// Ulster Hall
October 4 /// Dublin, IE /// Olympia Theatre

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