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Volbeat Aren’t Just ‘Elvis Metal’ — They’re “Johnny Cash Metal,’ Too

Bernd Mueller, Redferns

On paper and in words, the term ‘Elvis metal’ might seem like something that doesn’t and shouldn’t work. But Volbeat, one of the most buzzing bands in hard rock, make it work. They even turned Metallica‘s head, who promptly took the band on tour. But while ‘Elvis metal’ is a phrase dumped on their doorstep by critics, Volbeat’s music is much more expansive than the limited terminology they’ve been saddled with.

“We play rock music and we blend everything,” guitarist Thomas Bredahl told Noisecreep. “Back when no one knew the band, journalists were writing about our demo and they’d say it’s metal meets Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley. It’s got those ’50s-era melodies, metallic kick drums, distorted guitars and riffs and it’s old fashioned.”

Actually, Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe had a better, albeit simpler, way to describe Volbeat. “We toured with Lamb of God when we toured with Metallica, and Randy said, ‘I dunno how to explain it, so when people ask me why I like your music, I just say it’s just awesome!’” Bredahl said. “It’s hard for us to have a definition. It has the ’50s rock ‘n’ rollers with lots of metal and punk, like the Misfits, Green Day and even Manic Street Preachers. Those influences all show up in our music.”

But is Volbeat’s music more the King or more the Man in Black? “Ahhh, that is a hard one,” Bredahl said. “That is an entire era that we are inspired by. Michael, our singer, is a huge Elvis fan and he got married at Graceland. So he is into all that stuff. However, our song ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’ was inspired by ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ So if you hear that, you hear Johnny Cash more.” Let’s just call it a draw.

Volbeat’s ‘Beyond Hell/Above Heaven’ is out Dec. 14.

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