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Volbeat: The Story So Far
Posted by B_Raw14        9:38AM CST 6/28/17​

Most of us are familiar with Danish modern rock band Volbeat. They have been filling stadiums and carving out a name for themselves on the global rock scene for over a decade now and it’s no accident that their unique sound has caught on everywhere. Let’s take a brief look at how they developed their signature sound.

Volbeat rose to European stardom early in their career when their sound was heavier, but undoubtedly less refined than it is now. What many don't know, is that vocalist Michael Poulsen and original guitarist Franz Gottschalk preceded Volbeat with death metal band Dominus. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that Volbeat’s earlier sound was much heavier and more simplistic; like that of Dominus. What is a surprise is that Poulsen will cite Elvis and Johnny Cash as heavily influencing his music.

​As you listen to Dominus below, you will notice an almost total absence of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash influence within Michael’s vocals and the band’s sound. 

I’m not one to speculate, but it would seem that if Elvis and Johnny Cash are two of your major influences, Dominus might not be the right fit for you. This couldn’t be clearer in hindsight with Dominus’ 1997 release, literally titled Vol.Beat.

As a vocalist, it is hard to quickly change the vocal style and sound that you have created
for yourself. Not only did Poulsen originally create an uninspiring vocal style with Dominus that he couldn’t relate to, but he also distanced himself from the music that he really wanted to be making.

This early period of musical limbo for Volbeat that ended after Rock the Rebel/ Metal the Devil created sounds that were as much Dominus as they were Volbeat, and gave us unique jams such as “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza“ and “I Only Wanna Be With You.”

Despite 5 years between Dominus’ last effort, Godfallows, and Volbeat’s first full length album, The Strength/The Sounds/The Songs, you can still hear parallels between his harsh, guttural vocal style with Dominus and his soulful wailing with early Volbeat.

If you watch below, you can catch a great Dominus-like scream from Poulsen in 2007 at the beginning of “I Only Wanna Be With You.”
Perhaps the biggest contributor to early Volbeat sounding significantly different than today’s Volbeat, is the change in guitarists. The guitarist on The Strength/The Sounds/The Songs and Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil, Franz Gottschalk, was the bassist for Dominus. This explains the largely rhythm based guitar riffs at this time that tended to be void of the blues.

To me, the best way to describe Volbeat’s earlier sound is ‘metal meets punk.’ This early sound was unique in itself, but when the bluesy stylings of Thomas Bredahl, and current guitarist Rob Caggiano took over lead, Poulsen started to feel more at home.

​Since the release of Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood, the band as a whole also seems to be more at home. Poulsen and company have found a comfortable niche where they can crank out hit after hit. They have found a niche where Poulsen, as the main writer, can infuse his Elvis-inspired vocals over a unique blend of metal, hard rock, blues, and rockabilly to create a mainstream sound that is still, aggressive, melodic, bluesy, and fresh. Some diehard Volbeat critics may state that today’s Volbeat sound is too ‘mainstream,’ but there is no doubt that Vobeat is at their best when they can crank out music that is comfortable to them.

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