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Volbeat - Servant Of The Mind review


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Band: Volbeat
Album: Servant Of The Mind
Release date: December 2021

Disc I [CD1]
01. Temple Of Ekur
02. Wait A Minute My Girl
03. The Sacred Stones
04. Shotgun Blues
05. The Devil Rages On
06. Say No More
07. Heaven's Descent
08. Dagen Før [feat. Stine Bramsen]
09. The Passenger
10. Step Into Light
11. Becoming
12. Mindlock
13. Lasse's Birgitta

Disc II [CD2 bonus tracks]
01. Return To None [Wolfbrigade cover]
02. Domino [The Cramps/Roy Orbison cover]
03. Shotgun Blues [feat. Dave Matrise]
04. Dagen Før [Michael Vox Version]

Peace Of Mind.

Coming off the back of a few years where Volbeat were seeing their momentum starting to slow, with each successive album being a paler imitation of the style of Elvis aping hard rock that had brought the band to such heights, Servant Of The Mind is a mini-make or break album for the band, one that could signal whether the band’s best work was in the rear view mirror or if the band were capable of righting the ship.

With expectations launched extremely high with a slew of singles that preceded the album’s release in “Becoming”, “Wait A Minute My Girl” and “Shotgun Blues”, Volbeat had me more excited in the band than I had been in years and, wouldn’t you know it, they produce the needed record to give the boost in the arm fans have been waiting for. Alongside the aforementioned singles, which rank amongst some of the best work the band has produced, Servant Of The Mind is a consistent and packed album that plays out for much of its runtime. While some songs, like “Temple Of Ekur” and “Heaven’s Descent”, don’t reach the same heights as the singles, they’re still highly enjoyable tracks that help give this album the strength in depth that recent records have sorely lacked, with “The Passenger” and “Say No More” proving to be solid tracks slotted around some of the best work of the band's career in “Shotgun Blues”, “Mindlock” and “Wait A Minute My Girl”.

Perhaps the biggest surprises are “The Devil Rages On” and “Step Into Light”, which both feature a smoky 50’s rockabilly vibe on top of a groove metal underbelly, giving the album a subtle variation that helps lend it a strength in depth that has been lacking in the band’s more recent output. With their wistful guitar riffs and brooding atmospherics, these two songs are a welcome deviation from the band’s formula without detaching themselves from Volbeat's established sound.

While Volbeat albums have always had a solid production behind them, Servant Of The Mind ups the ante with a bass sound that is firm and powerful, sitting perfectly in its own pocket throughout the whole album. Everything sounds shimmering and well placed in the mix, allowing for each element to sit beside each to the benefit of the song as a whole, with “Shotgun Blues” in particular sounding firm and aggressive without sacrificing any of its melody.

Servant Of The Mind does see Poulsen’s Hetfield-come-Elvis vocal stylings wear on your ears as they do on most Volbeat albums; while no particular track sticks out, you will find on extended listens that it starts to grate somewhat. The only track that lacks enough redeemable features is “The Sacred Stones”, a slow, brooding song that only really has some interesting guitar work to sink your teeth into, with the rest being skippable. While it does derail the album’s early momentum, Servant Of The Mind does recover immediately with the following tracks.

If you are firmly in the camp of disliking Volbeat, then this album is unlikely to persuade you otherwise; while the album does feature several soon-to-be-classics in the band’s repertoire, they don’t extricate themselves enough from the band’s past output to likely convert you. If you were to give the band another chance or you’ve not listened to them before, then Servant Of The Mind is an ideal place to start.

With Volbeat righting course, Servant Of The Mind breathes new life into a career that had been floundering in recent years, giving fans not only hope that the band can continue to hit new heights but also producing a slew of solid tracks that make such a correction of course such an enjoyable listen.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written on 10.12.2021 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 109 users
12.12.2021 - 06:01
Rating: 7

Thanks for the review! Don't disagree but that's a generous rating. Definitely a better release than that Last Day Under The Sun blah blah blah pile of crap they released a few years ago. However it's still kind of a toothless effort for me after comparing the good and the bad from the album. I heard about 5 or 6 songs throughout the album that I really liked but there was a lot of somewhat forgettable filler in between. On the bright side, it's one album I can play in the car when the wife is with me.
12.12.2021 - 10:25
Rating: 4
Very talented musicians who are playing crap
12.12.2021 - 11:34
Rating: 7
Green Devil
I've read other reviews that I feel are a little too positive in their critique of this album too. For me no song really stands out from the rest. I'm not saying it's a bad album because it's not and I like Volbeat's sound but after a couple of spins nothing on here is memorable in any way. It's good background music at home, in the car or at the gym.
The last Volbeat song I really enjoyed was Goodbye Forever from 2016's Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie which has a strong melody and even stronger chorus. So if one is getting into Volbeat I would suggest to start at the beginning with The Strength / The Sound / The Songs instead and work their way up through the discography to find all the good songs.
"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
19.12.2021 - 00:14
Rating: 9

Good review and right on point. Great album by an outstanding band. I rate it as one of their best. It has risen to one of my most frequently spun albums. This is their first album I was able to buy in high definition format, 44 1/2 x 24 bit.

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