Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie, the newest album by Danish rockabilly-metal band Volbeat steps away from the western element they’re known for to focus more on voodoo and magic, along with two excellent covers. This album has everything I’ve come to expect from Volbeat: excellent lyricism, catchy rhythms, nice guitar work (both acoustic and electric), well-written songs, cool vocal lines, and at least a bit of a sense of humor.
The album begins with the first leading single, “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”, a song that I have loved since the first time I heard it, mostly due to vocalist Michael Poulson’s pronunciations and vocal riffs. The second track is about (and named after) Marie Laveau, a prominent practitioner of Voodoo in New Orleans in the 1800s. “The Bliss” is the next track, and along with having a very soothing and fun melody to sing along with, it has a banjo breakdown around halfway through, which leads into a driving guitar riff. “The Gates of Babylon” just rocks. Poulson’s voice soars over pulsing, spiky guitars and steady drums. The track recounts the tale how the goddess Ishtar was trapped within the seven gates of the underworld in Mesopotamian myth. To be quite honest, “Let it Burn” is one of those songs that you forget is on an album, but when it plays, you’re like OH DAMN I LOVE THIS SONG, like Coheed and Cambria’s “Away We Go”. You get some really classic Volbeat sound with this one. It feels really open and the vocals jump all around mid-syllable. There’s also a sweet guitar solo that I can’t stop myself from rocking out to. Oh and a nice key change toward the end.
“Black Rose” features Danko Jones, I assume just the lead singer of the Canadian band, but seeing as the band is also called Danko Jones, I’m not certain. It’s fun and different from standard Volbeat until right at the end which is CLASSIC. The next track, “Rebound” is the first cover on the album. It’s a cover of a Teenage Bottlerockets song and it’s goofy and fun as hell. It’s all about flirting and sports metaphors. I wish it were longer, but that might take away from the magic. “Mary Jane Kelly” is about the woman who was supposedly Jack the Ripper’s final victim, but decides to look at her not as a dead body, but rather to look at her life as a person (and a mystery, as her origins, life, and demise are all unknown or unclear), and to memorialize her. The next track, “Goodbye Forever” is a lot less depressing in tone than one would expect from the title, though a certain sense of longing does come through at times. Its triumphant feel is carried further by the choir that appears later into the song.
“Seal the Deal”, the title track and second single from the album really kicks into gear right away, making you realize that the previous track was a lot slower than you thought. I love that he says “let’s get groovy” in the chorus. It’s kinda funny to me. The next track is the other cover on the album. It’s a cover of a song made popular by the Georgia Satellites, “Battleship Chains”. It’s SO GOOD. The song is very fitting for their style and it rocks so hard and his voice is so beautiful; it’s just the best. “You Will Know” is really pretty and has some nice vocal runs. “The Loa’s Crossroad” SHREDS, DUDE. It is again about Haitian Voudou, being about the place where humans are judged to meet the spirits, or loa, by a loa known as Papa Legba. There’s a sweet bagpipe solo in there too.