Reuniting heavy metal with its long-missing sense of melody is no mean feat. From the mid-1990s forward, metal as a medium underwent a serious transformation. Dense guitar harmonies, memorable post-blues riffs and strong chorus hooks were largely abandoned in favor of a more thrash-based approach to composition and arrangement, as the low, guttural vocal cord shredding common to most death metal became de rigueur.
It was inevitable that metal would eventually seek to marry the many disparate stylistic elements at its disposal, and Danish outfit Volbeat has become one of the leading lights in the movement to do just that. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Michael Poulsen, and now featuring recently recruited former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, Volbeat marries classic metal riffing to Thin Lizzy-like guitar harmonies, Ennio Morricone-inspired “spaghetti western” motifs, punk-country, Black Sabbath-like sludge and Metallica-esque prog-thrash. The resulting in a thrillingly ambitious, forward-looking hybrid. The band’s latest, “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies,” has been widely – and rightly – hailed as one of the strongest metal albums to see release in recent years.
Volbeat’s “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies” tour brings the group to the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls) at 7 p.m. Monday. Volbeat will be joined by Trivium and Digital Summer. Tickets are $37.50 advance, $40 day of the show (www.rapidstheatre.com).
– Jeff Miers