Volbeat is a Danish metal band which was formed in Copenhagen. They play a fusion of rock and roll, heavy metal, schlager and rockabilly. They are inspired by classic rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, as well as modern hard rock, groove metal, alternative rock and hardcore groups. Their current line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Michael Poulsen, bassist Anders Kjølholm, guitarist Rob Caggiano, and drummer Jon Larsen. The band is signed to Dutch label Mascot Records and has released five studio albums and one DVD. All of their studio albums have been certified gold in Denmark. Their second album Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil received platinum status, and their 2010 release Beyond Hell/Above Heaven was subject to widespread international critical acclaim, receiving double platinum in Denmark, platinum in Finland and Germany, and gold in Sweden and Austria. Volbeat's fifth album entitled Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies was released worldwide on 9 April 2013.
Early years (2000–2004)
Singer Michael Poulsen's first band was death metal act Dominus. In 2000, Poulsen became fed up with the death metal music scene, causing Dominus to break up. In 2001, Poulsen went on to form a new band with some friends and other former Dominus members. This was the beginning of Volbeat.
The band name "Volbeat" was derived from Dominus's third album name, which was called Vol.Beat (read as: Volume Beat). After selling 1,000 copies of their "Beat the Meat" demo tape, Volbeat was signed to a record deal by Rebel Monster Records, a sub-label of Mascot Records.
The Strength / The Sound / The Songs (2005–2006)
Volbeat released their first album, The Strength/The Sound/The Songs in 2005. The lineup for the album consisted of Michael Poulsen (vocals), Jon Larsen (drums), Franz Gottschalk (guitar) and Anders Kjølholm (bass). The album was a huge success in Denmark achieving a spot at No. 18 in the charts. Critics were generally positive towards The Strength / The Sound / The Songs. The German hard rock magazine RockHard gave it 10/10 in a review. The Strength / The Sound / The Songs also received a handful of awards, including Best Album in the Danish Metal Musik Awards in 2005. Volbeat was praised for its live performances. Their concert at Roskilde Festival 2006 received a 6/6 stars review in the Danish newspaper BT.
Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil (2007)
In 2007, the band released their second album titled Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil. The band featured the same lineup as their first album. In week 8 of 2007, Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil debuted as No. 1 in the Danish Top 40 for CD-sales.
Volbeat opened the Roskilde Festival in 2007. Volbeat also supported Metallica together with Mnemic at their concert in Denmark 13 July of that year. They were to support Megadeth in Finland and in their home town, Copenhagen, and to make a few festival appearances for the summer 2008. Volbeat hired Thomas Bredahl following the recording of Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil as a replacement for Gottschalk on guitar.
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2008–2009)
In 2008, Volbeat released their third album, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood featuring guitarist Thomas Bredahl. Volbeat's album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2008) topped the Finnish Album Chart straight after its publication. In 2009, Volbeat supported the symphonic metal band Nightwish on their U.S tour in May. On 31 May 2009 they were on the main stage of the Pinkpop Festival. They also supported Metallica on the North American leg of Metallica's World Magnetic Tour from October to December 2009. In 2009 the band played at the biggest open-air festival in Europe (400,000–500,000 rock fans every year), Przystanek Woodstock in Poland.
Touring and Beyond Hell / Above Heaven (2010–2012)
Volbeat had announced they were working on a new album called Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. In regard to the album and its title in particular Poulsen said, “The album title refers to the overall theme of the album, and it continues the storyline from where "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood" left off…”. Gramercy Theater. He then went on to say, "We have fast, slow and mid-tempo songs. We still blend different styles of punk, rock’n’roll, rockabilly, metal, heavy metal, thrash metal, country – we still keep it very open, it’s just music! I cannot say too much about it right now, but we’re really excited about it and it’s going to be very, very cool." In an interview with EspyRock, Poulsen explained the title of the album stating "…it’s a way telling people that we don’t belong or believe in neither heaven nor hell. So if we go beyond hell, we will make heaven look like hell, and if we go above heaven, we will make hell look like heaven. Heaven and hell is something we create in our minds and personal self-created demons come out of that."
On 25 January 2010, it was confirmed that Volbeat would be performing at Download Festival in June 2010. It was also confirmed that Volbeat were to join Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and others in the "Big Four" show at Sonisphere Switzerland. On 28 January 2010, Volbeat signed with Primary Wave Talent Management. Primary Wave will represent the band in North America alluding to future U.S. tour plans, which have not yet been formally announced. On 30 March 2010, it was announced that Volbeat would again be joining Metallica on their European leg. The band also joined Metallica after they finished recording with their first date being 11 May in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was also announced that the new album, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven was to be released on 10 September 2010. The band also announced their "Beyond Hell/Above Heaven Live 2010" tour.
Guest musicians on the album include:
- Mark “Barney” Greenway – Napalm Death
- Michael Denner – Mercyful Fate/King Diamond
- Miland “Mille” Petrozza – Kreator
- Henrik Hall – Love shop (mouth harp)
- Jakob Oelund – Grumpynators / Taggy Tones (slap bass)
Volbeat announced that lead guitarist Thomas Bredahl would miss the first few shows on the US leg of the Beyond Hell/Above Heaven tour citing US Government visa issues. The band went on to say that the issues were a result of "an incident concerning theft of a barstool back in the day. He wasn’t exactly a juvenile delinquent or anything, but to Homeland security it’s all the same." On 19 August 2010 it was announced that Bredahl had received visa clearance and travelled to Chicago to play with the band. For the shows missed by Bredahl, the band's drum technician, Casper, filled in on rhythm guitar while Poulsen switched to lead guitar duties.
In 2011, Volbeat announced their Grand Summer Tour across North America. The tour began in Toronto, Ontario on 24 July at Heavy T.O., and concluded with a two-night stand on 3 & 4 September at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA. Volbeat co-headlined this tour with rock powerhouse Cold on all U.S. dates, but not in Canada. On 28 November 2011, Volbeat announced the departure of Bredahl via their website, stating "Volbeat has decided to part ways with Thomas Bredahl. Being in a band is in many ways similar to a marriage with ups and downs. At times you can work it out and sometimes you need to go separate ways... We want to thank him for the work he has put in for Volbeat and we wish him all the best in the future." Volbeat committed to playing all 2011-2012 as scheduled either as a trio, or with a replacement guitarist.
On 26 January 2012, Volbeat joined Megadeth, Motörhead, and Lacuna Coil on Gigantour. The tour started in Camden, New Jersey and culminated on 28 February 2012 in Denver, CO at The Fillmore Auditorium. On the tour, Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate) filled in as the guitarist for Volbeat.
On their North American Summer tour, which began in June 2012, Iced Earth and Hellyeah were the supporting acts. The tour included dates in Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit, Billings, Boston, Tempe, San Francisco, and Weyburn and Lazerfest in Boone, IA. In June 2012, Volbeat played at the Orion Music Festival, headlined by Metallica, at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Volbeat were confirmed to be playing Download festival June 2013. Volbeat announced in December that their new album would be released during 2013. A spring tour with Danko Jones and Spoken was announced in December.
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (2013-present)
In January 2013, Volbeat revealed the name of the new album, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, and that it is going to be released in the spring of 2013.
On 4 February 2013, it was announced that Rob Caggiano, formerly of Anthrax, had officially joined the band as second guitarist. He had been producing and recording guest solos on the band's upcoming album, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies, which the band also announced will be released on 8 April 2013 (GSA on 5 April and US on 9 April), before being asked to join as a full-time member. Singer and guitarist Michael Poulsen said of the chemistry between Caggiano and the rest of the band "The collaboration with Rob in the studio was so inspiring and in good spirit that we the decided to keep him. Basically we went into the studio as a three piece and came out as a whole band!"
In an interview on 11 February 2013, Poulsen told Metal Hammer magazine “One of the things I’m most happy about this time is the contrast in the material, the range of the music; on the one side, you have the western motifs, the rockabilly / country songs, and the real emotional melodies, and on the other, some of the heaviest – actually, THE heaviest – songs we have ever recorded. There was a record company guy in the studio the other day, and he was absolutely blown away by the ultra-heavy stuff. He said he wasn’t even sure he was listening to Volbeat!".
- The Strength / The Sound / The Songs won the award for the best debut album at the Danish Metal Music Awards 2005.
- Volbeat won the award Steppeulven for hope of the year 2006.
- Volbeat won the award for the best live band at the Danish Metal Music Awards 2006 voted by fans.
- Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil won the award for best album at the Danish Metal Music Awards 2007.
- Volbeat won the Danish radio award for P3 listener hit at the P3 Guld-show voted by listeners of P3.
- Volbeat were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for "Room 24".
- Current members
- Michael Poulsen – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2001–present)
- Anders Kjølholm – bass guitar, backing vocals (2001–present)
- Jon Larsen – drums, percussion (2001–present)
- Rob Caggiano – lead guitar (2013–present)
- Former members
- Teddy Vang – lead guitar (2001–2002)
- Franz "Hellboss" Gottschalk – lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–2006)
- Thomas Bredahl - lead guitar, backing vocals (2006–2011)
- Touring members
- Hank Shermann – lead guitar (2011–2013)
Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil was released during Bredahl's tenure, but was recorded with Gottschalk on guitar.
- The Strength / The Sound / The Songs (2005)
- Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil (2007)
- Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2008)
- Beyond Hell/Above Heaven (2010)
- Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (2013)
- Live: Sold Out (2007)
- Live from Beyond Hell/Above Heaven (2011)
- Official website
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Image from Discogs