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Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie

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Volbeat 6/3/2016

Review

Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie may be the album that finally makes Volbeat rock & roll superstars in the U.S -- they are everywhere else. That said, the follow-up to 2013's brilliant Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies may seem, at least for longtime fans, a surprising choice for a breakthrough. Ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano joined the band after producing and playing on the 2013 date, and he cements his position here. He co-produced this with vocalist Michael Poulson and Jacob Hansen. His original riffs and mad shredding have made the band's sound -- already unique -- iconic. While the record's title -- as wonderfully strange and catchy as its predecessors -- signifies a hard-partying set, there is something else afoot here. The album is divided into distinct halves. The first is darker and moodier, though infectious melodies and dynamics abound. Song topics often refer to historical characters who have an unshakable belief in the powers and principalities of the spiritual world. The opening single, "The Devil's Bleeding Crown," hit the top spot on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. Poulsen remains one of rock's most charismatic frontmen. He soars above the swaggering, streetwise boogying riff and clattering drum swing. He teases the melody out of this powerful attack and brings it home. The shredding solo by Caggiano is an added plus. It segues into "Marie Laveau," which inverts the first tune's riff and delivers a different compulsively catchy melodic refrain. "The Bliss," a midtempo hooky rocker, offers a banjo breakdown in the bridge before chugging back to its catchy lyric. Danko Jones guests on "Black Rose." His rougher, edgier vocals contrast with the smoother ones of Poulsen as edgy '70s glam metal meets early-'60s "oooohhhh--ahhhhh--oooooo" pop in the backing chorus. The tight guitar break and crackling riff make it irresistible. The second half is looser. It commences with a cover of the Ramones-worshiping Teenage Bottlerocket's "Rebound." It's faithful but nonetheless has been remade in Volbeat's hard-rocking retro image. Poulsen's declarative sincerity in the lyric of "Goodbye Forever" contains a surprise. A tight, anthemic hook pairs acoustic guitars and the bells of ride cymbals to color the middle of the mix. Already a great song, after a swirling bridge the Harlem Gospel Choir enters, delivers the fist-pumping chorus, and accompanies Poulsen for the duration. The title track is a real showcase for Caggiano and a certain candidate to open shows. Unfortunately, the reading of the Georgia Satellites' "Battleship Chains" is too reverential and feels out of place. Set closer "The Loa's Crossroad" is a rager, though it contains a bagpipe breakdown that only adds to its ferocity. Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie possesses all the elements that make Volbeat impossible to compare or pigeonhole. That said, while it delivers on the ambition of its predecessor, it lacks its acute focus. But for its missteps as well as its strengths, it doesn't disappoint. It rocks. Hopefully, it will transition them to top of the pile where they belong. ~ Thom Jurek
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 The Devil's Bleeding Crown Volbeat 3:54
  3. 2 Marie Laveau Volbeat 3:10
  4. 3 The Bliss Volbeat 4:42
  5. 4 The Gates of Babylon Volbeat 4:33
  6. 5 Let It Burn Volbeat 3:35
  7. 6 Black Rose Volbeat 3:51
  8. 7 Rebound Volbeat 2:25
  9. 8 Mary Jane Kelly Volbeat 5:38
  10. 9 Goodbye Forever Volbeat 4:28
  11. 10 Seal the Deal Volbeat 4:4
  12. 11 Battleship Chains Volbeat 3:18
  13. 12 You Will Know Volbeat 4:28
  14. 13 The Loa's Crossroad Volbeat 4:17

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