Volbeat is a band who manage to craft perfect pop melodies into rock songs. Throughout their career they've consistently delivered their own brand of tuneful singalong metal, and Beyond Heaven / Above Hell sees them on top form. The first track, "The Mirror and The Ripper" is a brilliant start, and its successor "Heaven Nor Hell" is even better, and wonderfully catchy, as singer Michael Poulsen's brusque vocal rings out over the power chords.
The folky intro of "Shots" leads into a guitar solo that carries the rest of the song into metal resplendence. Their rockabilly influence is present throughout the album, though perhaps most obviously in "16 Dollars." Leaving behind the radio-friendly composition momentarily, "Evelyn" steps firmly into the heavy metal category, featuring Napalm Death's Mark "Barney" Greenway, who provides a suitably taciturn growl to contrast with Poulsen's chorus.
The album ends with "Thanks," a hilariously tongue-in-cheek number that would pass for a completely acceptable song if it weren't for the lyrics: "we thank you people for being around, supporting Volbeat with love and hellfire." It's difficult to tell whether this is meant as a serious track or not; either way, it's funny, and still a perfect foot-tapper.
If there's one gripe about Volbeat songs, it's that they tend to get repetitive, and as they utilize similar chord progressions and major keys, it often takes a while to learn to tell the songs apart. In that respect, Volbeat could be regarded as something of a one trick pony. That said, even if it is repeated frequently, it's still a great trick, and Beyond Heaven / Above Hell makes for thoroughly enjoyable listening. [ END ]
01. The Mirror and The Ripper
02. Heaven Nor Hell
03. Who They Are
05. A Better Believer
06. 7 Shots (feat. Mille Petrozza of Kreator & Michael Denner of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond)
07. A New Day
08. 16 Dollars (feat. Jakob Oelund of Taggy Tones)
09. A Warrior's Call
10. Magic Zone
11. Evelyn (feat. Mark "Barney" Greenway of Napalm Death)
12. Being 1