Volbeat is a Danish rock band formed in Copenhagen in 2001. They play a fusion of early rock 'n' roll, heavy metal and rockabilly. They are inspired by the rock 'n' roll legends Metallica, Social Distortion, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Their line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Michael Poulsen, guitarist Thomas Bredahl, bassist Anders Kjølholm and drummer Jon Larsen. The band is signed to Dutch label Mascot Records and has released three studio albums and one DVD. All of their studio albums were certified gold in Denmark. Their second album Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil received platinum. According to Poulsen's stage banter in Ruisrock 2009 Volbeat has sold certified gold in two countries, Denmark and Finland. Their band name is taken from the album Vol. Beat by Michael Poulsen's former band Dominus. "Vol" stands for volume while "Beat" stands for beat.
Early Years (2000-2004)
Singer Michael Poulsen first started in death metal band "Dominus". In 2000, Poulsen became fed up with Death metal music and the Death metal scene. This resulted in the end of Dominus. In 2001, Poulsen went on to form a new band with some friends and other former Dominus members. This was the beginning of Volbeat.
The band name Volbeat originated from the name of a Dominus album, titled "Vol.Beat".
After selling 1,000 copies of their "Beat the Meat" demo tape, Volbeat was signed to a record deal by Rebel Monster Records, a sub-label of Mascot Records
The Strength / The Sound / The Songs (2005-2006)
Volbeat released their first album, The Strength/The Sound/The Songs in 2005. The lineup for the album consisted of Michael Poulsen (vocals), Jon Larsen (drums), Franz Gottschalk (guitar) and Anders Kjølholm (bass). The album was a huge success in Denmark achieving a spot at #18 in the charts.
Critics were generally been positive towards The Strength / The Sound / The Songs. The German hard rock magazine RockHard gave it 10/10 in a review.
The Strength / The Sound / The Songs also received a handful of awards, including Best Album in the Danish Metal Musik Awards in 2005.
Volbeat is also praised for its live performances. Their concert at Roskilde Festival 2006 received a 6/6 stars review in the Danish newspaper BT
Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil (2007)
In 2007, the band released their second album titled Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil. The band featured the same lineup as their first album. In week 8 of 2007, the record Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil debuted as #1 in the Danish Top 40 for CD-sales.
Volbeat opened the Roskilde Festival in 2007. Volbeat also supported Metallica together with Mnemic at their concert on Denmark July 13 of that year. They were to support Megadeth in Finland and in their home town, Copenhagen, and to make a few festival appearances for the summer 2008. Volbeat hired Thomas Bredahl following the recording of Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil as a replacement for Gottschalk on guitar.
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2008-2009)
In 2008, Volbeat released their third album and first album with guitarist Thomas Bredahl, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood. Volbeat's album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2008) topped the Finnish Album Chart straight after its publication.
In 2009, Volbeat supported the symphonic metal band Nightwish on their U.S tour in May.
On May 31 of 2009 they were on the main stage of the Pinkpop Festival. They also supported Metallica on the North American leg of Metallica's World Magnetic Tour from October to December 2009.
In 2009 the band played at the biggest open-air festival in Europe (400,000 - 500,000 rock fans every year), Przystanek Woodstock in Poland.
Touring and Beyond Hell/Above Heaven (2010-present)
olbeat has announced they are working on a new album called Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. In regards to the new album and its title in particular Poulsen said, “The Album title is “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven”
(no reference to religious beliefs).
The title refers to the overall theme of the album, and it continues the storyline from where “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” left off…”.
Michael Poulsen performs in 2010 in New York City's Gramercy Theater.
He then went on to say, "We have fast, slow and mid-tempo songs. We still blend different styles of punk, rock’n’roll, rockabilly, metal, heavy metal, thrash metal, country – we still keep it very open, it’s just music! I cannot say too much about it right now, but we’re really excited about it and it’s going to be very, very cool."
On January 25, 2010, it was confirmed that Volbeat will be performing at Download Festival in June 2010. It is also confirmed that Volbeat will join Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and others in the "Big Four" show at Sonisphere Switzerland.
On January 28, 2010, Volbeat signed with Primary Wave Talent Management. Primary Wave will represent the band in North America alluding to future U.S. tour plans, which have not yet been formally announced.
On March 30, 2010, it was announced that Volbeat will again be joining Metallica on their European leg. The band is set to join Metallica after they finish recording with their first date being May 11 in Belfast, Ireland.
It was announced that the new album, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven will be released on September 10, 2010. The band also announced their "Beyond Hell/Above Heaven Live 2010" tour.
In an interview with EspyRock, Michael Poulsen explained the title of the album stating "...it’s a way telling people that we don’t belong or believe in neither heaven nor hell. So if we go beyond hell, we will make heaven look like hell, and if we go above heaven, we will make hell look like heaven. Heaven and hell is something we create in our minds and personal self-created demons come out of that."
Michael Poulsen has also revealed several of the guest musicians on the album stating "I’m very very proud to have these fine gentlemen with me, since they inspired me a lot for a long time."