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Roundhouse, London

Words: Johnny Churchill

jonathan churchill

Volbeat were back in London on Monday night headlining the Roundhouse which was totally sold out and bursting at the seams with fervent fans.

It was just over a year ago when they were last here, playing Brixton. Since then they have been pretty much on the road non-stop. Current album, 'Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies' was actually released back in early 2013 but it is such a sensational record they are still touring it and are heading out to the US again in early 2015.

It would be hard to top the Brixton show and Volbeat, who are clearly a well-drilled precision touring machine, present a largely similar set-list but keep a few surprises up their sleeve.

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One thing is clear though: Volbeat are very heavy indeed. It's easy to get swept away by the rockabilly Johnny Cash element to their sound, which kicks off the show, from the epic 'Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood' to the melodic, radio-friendly 'Maybellene/Hofteholder'.

Ultimately though, it's the powerful new material from 'Outlaw Gentlemen' which brings the set alive and the first major highlight comes when they ease into 'Lola Montez'. This song is an instant classic; a salacious saloon bar singalong and Rob Caggiano simply nails the solo. He's on fantastic form tonight, especially on the amazing 'Lonesome Rider', which is one of the stand-out tracks in a stunning performance by the whole band.

'Lola Montez' is the calm before the storm however and within minutes we're being being pummelled into submission by the monster riffs of 'Dead But Rising' with drummer, Jon Larsen, delivering an incredible range of power drumming with no shortage of double-bass pedal work.

Michael Poulsen works the crowd like a proper old-fashioned showman, and although the band delivers night after night, he still makes it feel personal. Aside from pitch-perfect vocals, and a ton of energy, he even finds time to crowd surf, all the way to the sound-deck at the rear and then back to the stage again.

The extraordinary heaviness continues with 'The Mirror And Ripper' which seems even harder and faster than you'd expect – it's a stunning tour-de-force – and totally captivating. But it's overshadowed by yet more from the 'Outlaw Gentlemen' album, in particular 'The Hangman's Body Count'. More Metallica than Metallica, it's melodic, heavy as hell and the solo from Rob Caggiano is sheer perfection.

The (not so surprising) surprise guest appearance of Napalm Death's Barney for 'Evelyn' is a fantastic treat for all Metal fans. Truly a genuine Heavy Metal highlight, this track is pure evil genius and a testament to Volbeat's uniqueness. Roaring grindcore vocals and brutal riffs blend into a melodic radio-friendly chorus with Poulsen sounding at his emotional best. It's such a distinctive track and was just awesome hear it played live.

Rounding off the set is the final magic moment of the night, 'Doc Holliday' which is yet another bone crushing uber-heavy riff-fest, preceded by a surprise snippet of a new track which seems to maintain the Metallica-esque Metal sound.

The pace drops significantly for a more relaxed encore, ending in the entertaining 'Still Counting', before the lights come up on a fantastic gig. If you haven't discovered Volbeat yet, you're missing out. Their magpie approach to different sounds and styles has come together with devastatingly brilliant effect on the 'Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies' album and there's not much out there that will top this. Roll on the new album.

Big thanks to Scott at Scream Promotions for the hospitality. Support on the night came from Hatebreed who have been supporting Volbeat on their UK tour.

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Johnny Churchill: \m/
Twitter: @metalmeltdown55

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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