Volbeat: Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

High-rising rockabillies gain some weight

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Volbeat have always embraced their metal roots, but now they’re really letting them shine through with album five. It’s their heaviest to date, and the addition of former Anthrax member Rob Caggiano to their ranks is clearly a factor. His full-on licks perfectly complement the band’s twisted rockabilly gangster style in ways that shouldn’t possibly work... but they do.

It all opens up with the acoustic strum of Let’s Shake Some Dust, which comes complete with harmonica and blues-soaked harp. The laidback ditty gently lulls the listener in before ripping into the metal grind of Dead But Rising, with devilish riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Slayer album.

More heaviness can be found on the bonkers Doc Holliday (with added banjo) and there’s a guest appearance from the legend that is King Diamond. His falsetto vocals place the doom-driven Room 24 in a sonic stranglehold.

The biggest problem with Volbeat’s previous studio albums is that they didn’t always capture the band’s live energy, but that’s in the past now as Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies does just that. It’s anthemic, raucous, catchy and absolutely guaranteed to silence any critics who still think the band aren’t metal enough.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.