Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies review by Volbeat

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  • Released: Apr 5, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 8.6 (156 votes)
Volbeat: Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
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Sound — 6
Volbeat is a band of many genres and musical tastes, seen even just from a slight glance at their Wikipedia page. This can be seen on previous albums and even slightly on this one. Recently, Volbeat has added ex-Anthrax guitarist, Rob Caggiano, as their lead guitarist after only having had a lead guitarist for one, brief, early point in their career. In Caggiano's debut, Volbeat decidedly takes a turn towards hard rock and metal. And while this might be able to be inferred, this brand of hard rock is like neither alternative rock like that of Trapt nor the hard rock of blues-driven bands like KISS and AC/DC. When I hear the thrash-like chugging, I can relate to it more than some of the oddball songs that I can't imagine Caggiano actually played on. Songs like "Pearl Hart" or "Lola Montez" fit this odd mold. The songs aren't even that odd; they just seem odd compared to the overall vibe of the album, especially considering the role and background of Caggiano. While most of the album feels pretty bland, the more I listen to it, there are definitely moments that remind me of other popular bands. For example, in "Black Bart", there is a metal section that would fit perfectly in an Iron Maiden song, with a matching solo to boot. "Lola Montez", which is quickly becoming my pet peeve on the album, feels like a worse version of '80s bands like Poison that palm mute their chords (they might just be a single note) and use predictable chord progressions to appeal to wider audiences. To add to this, the first riff in "Dead But Rising" reminds me of the riff for the song "Black Sabbath". The one concession I can make is that Caggiano's melodic solos always add a nice touch to the songs. Of course, the problem remains that the songs are nothing special. Another positive about the album is that towards the end of it, the songs become fairly differentiated, though still nothing special or unique for the most part. Of the few bright spots on the album, "Doc Holliday" is my favorite because it blends the present genres in a more balanced manner; the non-metal parts weren't limited to the intro. In addition, the metal riff was catchy in its own right and the vocals were the best on the album here, reminding me of Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" for some reason. The bridge (I think) after the second verse when the mandolin returns provides a very druidic feeling. I don't even know how to fully explain that, but I got the same feeling as when I read about Druids or see documentaries about them on TV. As a side note, the punk drumbeat on "Black Bart" makes the song infective and enjoyable where it would scarcely be otherwise except for the vocals. Back to describing the blandness, most of the album sounds overused and old. What I mean by that is that the music isn't bad; it's just stuff that has been done hundreds of times already. The album doesn't possess the kind of star power uniqueness that good albums have. It sounds OK, just not good enough to the point that I would want to buy the album. Even the solos are compromised in this way. They actually sound really good, it's just that in the context of the whole album I am reminded how recycled the phrases really are. The only real time that the songs show songs of superior uniqueness is at the beginning of each song. Sometimes there is an acoustic opening only to be stifled by more metal. Considering what I know Volbeat for, this was surprising and disheartening, in my opinion. This was, I guess, one of the downsides to adding Rob Caggiano as a lead guitarist.

Lyrics — 6
Michael Poulsen's vocal performance on "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies" can be summed up with the rest of the music; above average, yet bland. Poulsen consistently delivers a vocal punch on this album; it's just eerily consistent. His vocal approach and delivery seldom change while the songs legitimately do. Again, the vocals sound good, it's just that with fourteen tracks and the reputation of Volbeat, I expected a little bit more. Don't get me wrong, his vocal performance is powerful. I've just heard it before. This, combined with his lack of change in delivery, leads me to rate it as bland.

Overall Impression — 4
When the opening instrumental, "Let's Shake Some Dust" played for the first time, the album artwork was justified and set into motion and I thought I knew what to expect from the rest of the album. I was wrong. With "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", Volbeat has less swung and missed than taken ball one. The Danes' addition of Rob Caggiano has added a new dynamic to their sound that thoroughly dominates this new album. The problem is that it lacks the star power uniqueness that could make this album, like any, great. This album can somewhat be described as a mash-up of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax. The problem is that many albums can be summed up like this. Yes, the riffs are heavy and yes, the vocals are powerful and yes, the songs are differentiated, but this album feels too generic anyway and fell short of my expectations. I believe that Volbeat's talent has existed in its ability to utilize other genres outside of the heavy metal that makes up the majority of this album. When these talents abound, like on "Black Bart", "Doc Holliday", and "The Hangman's Body Count", Volbeat sounds special. I don't believe that Caggiano was the wrong person for the band; I just think that his influence should be subtler than on here. To put the total conclusion in the fairest terms, I wouldn't say, "Oh, this is horrible", when asked about "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", I just wouldn't outright recommend it to a friend. As I said, this album is like taking ball one. I expect them to come back with something stronger; a double or a home run. This album didn't always work for me, but, since you're already here with links to the album right below this sentence, give it a listen, it might just be your home run.

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59 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    I kind of missed the 'Elvis metal' approach they had, this is a bit more homogenized to 'radio rock'. This album is really really dull in a lot of ways, especially the 'lead lines', like in the beginning of that single, like, what the hell is that.
    Breakingpoint56
    Not every lead has to have sweep picking or crazy fingerwork. As long as it compliments the rhythm, its all that matters.
    EpiExplorer
    Thats a huge generalization that isn't what I was pointing out. Even a band like The Killers has more memorable, better written lead lines that the ones presented in this song and album.
    Valgoroth
    Totally agreed. Sad Man's Tongue was awesome, I was hoping I found a unique new band, but they're getting more generic as time goes on.
    gensel88
    Radio Rock? they've only had two singles on the radio, and sometimes you have to change your ways.
    EpiExplorer
    ? The key is in the sound, not if they actually get played on radio or not. I use the term to describe bands that are part of the Nickleback branch of 'how to succeed in being average, grey and made of wallpaper paste'.
    hawksfan00
    The nickleback songs that get played on the radio suck, but if you actually listen to their albums, they have a lot of great songs
    vontuff
    This band is very weird for me. At first I didn't dig it at all. But after a while of listening, it definitely grew on me. I think this album is great but its a little soft for my taste.
    Fishmania
    Just another copy of a copy of a copy. Everything you need to know about the evolution of music you can learn from the movie Multiplicity- if you copy a copy, you get a retarded copy. And so we have modern rock, or whatever this generic band can be classified as. A retarded descendant of decades past. They're like a heavier version of Green Day with a vocalist channeling his inner Hetfield. As if Green Day doesn't recycle their own riffs enough. Blah. Blah I say!
    mlukeroberts222
    I've been a fan of Volbeat for several years now after seeing them in concert. This new album is disappointing and not up to the standard set by their previous work. They are an awesome live band, but this album is nothing more than their introduction into the mainstream.
    timonaga430
    Ok, so this album, I admit was disappointing at first... but I gave it some time, and now I enjoy this album a lot... I'll agree with you tho,Cape of our Hero was just terrible and unnecessary and whoever wrote this article is a complete douchebag for posting the worst song on the album. This album is new, and is a concept album, something more like VOLBEAT and not just Dominus (their old band)... if you want Metal go listen to Dominus, and if you want something new, and something you don't hear nowadays listen to Volbeat
    JaffWang
    The first one I heard of theirs was Mr and Mrs Ness. I wouldn't say this is better than Rock the Rebel but it's so catchy. I can understand why some of their older fans might be a bit more dissatisfied with this sound, Cape of our Hero is very radio rock, but you know what...I don't mind. There'll be more change in the next album I reckon, Caggiano only gradually came into the band, so I don't think you can make that much impact in that shorter time. I would like to hear more of Sad Man Tongue-esque songs though. Don't think this is enough to warrant 5/10 though. i'd give it 8.
    Wev70
    Remember the Black Album, then Load, Re-load, S&M oh yeah and everyone's favorite St Anger and then back to the beginning with Death Magnetic. That's what Volbeat is doing their growing as a band, evolving, changing. Yeah so what? cape of our hero is like Met's unforgiven. Every band does it. I saw Volbeat four times. Each time was awesome and everyshow was packed. Yes i agree, I have been playing the crap out of the new album and it grows on me each and everytime. Just like st anger. Im a metal head at heart, what I love about Volbeat is that their different a breath of fresh air. It's simple if you don't like don't listen to it. Oh lastly there is no way Poulsen sounds like Sully. Not one bit.
    saint_berzerker
    So Rob wanted to just focus on producing? Like giving Anthrax a big finger...ha. Quite a weird choice of a band to get mixed up with.
    Distortionx100
    Idk wtf half of you people are saying...poulsen sounds nothing like sully? the album ****in rocking the fact that it got a 6.5 rating is ridiculous i love it volbeat never fails to make a great album
    rogerdonald
    The review was a complete waste of time, I came here to read the comments. I'm not too surprised to see a generally negative reception to this new album. I was scared when I heard Rob Caggiano joined the band, I didn't want the sound to change too much. When I first listened to it I was certain that he had ruined Volbeat and this new album was mostly crap. However my stance has changed after listening to it more. This album isn't nearly as good as Guitar Gangsters and probably none of their albums will ever be, I still really like it however. I think the wild west theme has kept the writing fresh and Poulson's voice is still the best. I don't like the guitar solos at all but they don't occur too often. I'm a huge fan and hope they can keep this level of music up for a long time.
    timonaga430
    Okay, one other thing... Why does everybody think that he sounds like Sully from Godsmack? Seriously, a low, and awesome voice like Poulsen doesn't come around often. I love both Godsmack and Volbeat, but that wasn't at all what I thought. I thought James Hetfield, Johnny Cash, and Elvis had a baby, and that's what it was
    Shredder666
    There is auto tune in that track "Cape of our Hero." -100000
    K!!LsWiTcH
    dude its modern production. all vocals are going to be tuned even a little bit so that theyre perfect. dont even kid yourself by believing theres an artist your listening to with decent production values not using tuning software
    BuiltByGold
    Come on please! This album is just amazing, volbeat tries many diffrent sounds. Listen to Lonesome rider. Its like slap bass and country and then har rock!?!? Its just amazing. This is good man. Room 24 with King Diamond is just great.
    Lord.Yosef.Vonl
    This album is great, despite what everyone says. Opinions are one thing, but they aren't selling out. This album is reminiscent of their first two. The only "bad" or "bland" song imo is Cape of Our Heroes. I saw them live for the second time two weeks ago, and their new songs have added to an already stellar performance. This album isn't perfect by any means,and I have to agree with the above statements that Rob over produced it - HOWEVER, it's still a Volbeat album that anyone can play start to finish and enjoy.
    jonnie.farrow
    It's been puzzling me for a few days now but after reading some of the comments I think I understand. While its definitely a Volbeat album, its too polished and lacks anything gritty or original. Poulsen is a brilliant song writer, all the tracks are very catchy and it only took me a couple of days to really get into it. Songs like 'Lola Montez' and 'The Sinner is you' have the kind of hooks that get into your head for days to the point its almost irritating. While Caggiano's presence is certainly felt it, works without bringing too much change into the mix and while I personally liked the fact Volbeat never had to focus on solos, they fit the songs and aren't over the top. All this aside though, it just doesn't match up to the almost perfection of all the previous albums. I still like it, but I don't love it, and that makes me sad.
    test1cles
    I really liked their first two albums, but they've become more and more boring with time. Which is a shame, but they're still a good live band.
    mikklen
    I seriously don't get it.. I find this album amazing so melodic and catchy - for me it's the best volbeat album followed by guitar gangsters and cadillac blood.. And i really love the guitarsoli
    MasterOfKnot
    I was disappointed with this album as well. Don't get me wrong, there are still some good songs on there. Room 24, Doc Holiday, they're good songs. But the rest of the album is pretty generic in my opinion. They are slowly headed towards the mainstream metal/hard rock of today. Which sucks because these guys really stood out to me as being something new and unique.
    JuteJute
    i work at a record store and this one has played here for like a 6 days now. Not that special album. 2 Songs stand out very well for me. Others are good tho. Id say volbeat fans can enjoy this
    BuiltByGold
    I think anyway this album is very nice. And they havent change that much, Ecotone,Our loved ones and Lola Montez is still very,very volbeat sound. I think they have leaved their security zones on a good way
    gensel88
    oh, and who ever wrote the review is ****ing idiot.
    bradd101
    I like this album but people are entitled to their opinions. Chill out.
    Breakingpoint56
    I've never liked Volbeat. Vocalist sounds like Sully from Godsmack and I don't like his vocals either. Always change the station when they come on.
    bradd101
    So you came on to their review why?
    Breakingpoint56
    To give the band another shot, umadbro? I'm sorry did my negative opinion somehow lower the rating of this already low rated album? Maybe you believe that the only people who are entitled to their opinions are ones you agree with. I didn't say anything particularly nasty. Put on your big boy pants.
    wolf333
    chill... he's not really the one that needs to put on their big boy pants.
    CoolMcAwesome
    these guys used to be cool. wtf happened? this new album is trash, and the previous album was total garbage (had one good song).
    blinkdragonid
    It might be just me but I cant stand his voice!
    broken ipod
    I've been wondering if I were the only one who disliked the vocals also. Never really saw what all the hype was about with this band.
    CoolMcAwesome
    honestly, their first 2-3 albums were actually pretty good, and more metal. these last two are just utter trash, and the band should feel ashamed for releasing this shit. I am embarrassed to say I liked them now!
    Metal Head420
    Yeah couldnt agree much more, first 2-3 were pretty solid but these last two are just crap
    wolf333
    this was my first volbeat album I purchased. its kinda going out of my usual zone of death metal, but their all right. not my fave but all right.
    Delrico
    I've listened to Volbeat for a good few years now, and this album just hasn't done anything for me at all. I miss the Volbeat with riffs, and energy! That made me wanna run around and dance. This album feels so uninspired.
    malacyman
    This just sounds like another Volbeat album. i've only heard a few songs(working on finishing the album) but so far nothing stands out as over the top. The riffs sound a lot a like, kind of like FFDP's drumming sounds like, a lot of the same thing over and over again, not that it's a bad thing
    4String_Slinger
    NAH i couldnt disagree with this review any more, this is a KICK ASS cd (i also got the Itunes release for my CPU (some bonus tracks). and i have the whole discog. ok i mean guest spots. KING DIAMOND???? need you say more? Sarah Blackwood, damn good tune gettin down with em! to me a very country/hard rock collision. great tune. AND DUDE!!! come on, BARNEY FROM NAPALM DEATH?!??!?!? Evelyn is maybe one of may favorite songs by Volbeat Period. first one i heard on this album was ofcourse "the Hangmans Body Count" after that i HAD to hear more. and i WAS NOT disappointed. where i wouldnt quite call it a home run? it sure is no ball or swing and a miss. Stand up double....maybe a triple. jealous of Wev70 i got a kid so i dont get to go to shows much anymore, i wanna see Volbeat live SO BAD!
    Mainer
    I'd heard Lola Montez on the radio, and I'd heard the name Volbeat but never made the connection. I'm seeing Volbeat live this Saturday at a festival (along with Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage, Seether, Disturbed and ALTER BRIDGE) and bought this CD today to get a taste of what Volbeat sounded like. There are a few hits and a few misses. I liked it, I'm sure hearing them live will reinforce my liking. ...ALTER BRIDGE THOUGH! Ten years in the making, I've been waiting to see them...Sorry, train's a bit off-track, Volbeat's cool.