With their novel take on heavy metal, infused with straightforward rock and pop melodies, as well as a peculiar penchant for vintage ‘50s rock & roll, Denmark’s Volbeat brought a fresh perspective to a music scene normally dominated by American and British groups. Formed in 2001, by singer and guitarist Michael Poulsen (previously with death metal band Dominus), along with bassist Anders Kjølholm, drummer Jon Larsen and guitarist Franz Gottschalk (replaced in ’02 by Thomas Bredahl), Volbeat first gained popularity in their homeland, reaching the top of the Danish charts with both their sophomore album, ‘Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil’ (2007), and its successor, ‘Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood’ (2008). At the same time, the group distinguished itself on tour, including acclaimed appearances at many of the top European summer festivals; performances which gradually spread their fame internationally and led to U.S. runs (sometimes augmented by former Mercyful Fate guitarist Hank Sherman) with Iced Earth, Hellyeah and Gigantour, behind 2010’s ‘Beyond Hell / Above Heaven’ LP. Rob Caggiano, of Anthrax fame, officially joined the group after producing their fifth album, 2013’s ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies,’ which made Volbeat the first Danish act to crack the U.S. Top Ten since dance group Aqua in 1997. The album also boasted a guest vocal by Danish metal legend King Diamond in ‘Room 24,’ which was later nominated for a Grammy award in the ‘Best Metal performance’ category.
- Selected Discography: ‘Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil’ (2007),’ ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ (2013)
- Related Artists: King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Dominus
- Further Reading: 2014 Grammy Nominees for Best Metal Performance