Volbeat, a Danish metal band begun by former Dominus leader Michael Poulsen in October of 2001, became a dominant force not only in Danish metal, but in Danish rock as a whole, charting albums and singles on a regular basis. Poulsen's earlier group, Dominus, was a giant in Danish metal, releasing four albums in ten years, and making a lasting impression on the scene. Poulsen felt it was time to start over, and his concept of giving straight-up heavy metal a more trad rock flourish (Poulsen was a big Elvis fan, if that is any indication) was at the heart of Volbeat.
Bringing together members Franz Gottschalk on guitar (he would be replaced by Thomas Bredahl in 2006), Jon Larsen on drums, and Anders Kjølholm on bass, vocalist and guitarist Poulsen was able to release the band's first demo, Volbeat, in 2002. Reception was lukewarm to the initial release, but the group's second demo, Beat the Meat, was an instant success, getting airplay on European radio. Volbeat consolidated this early win with a semifinal appearance on the Danish talent show competition Live Contest. From then on, Volbeat began an almost constant work schedule, including performances with Europe and America's biggest metal acts, as well as winning a number of genre and industry awards for their music.
The band soon landed a record deal with Rebel Monster, and released The Strength/The Sound/The Songs. That first "official" release was a relative monster in the band's home nation, and beyond brisk sales, the album won a handful of awards, including Best Album in the Danish Metal Musik Awards in 2005. Volbeat had further reason to celebrate, as 2006 saw the group playing most of the Continent's best-known rock festivals, including Roskilde and Summer Breeze. They followed up these appearances with a Danish tour. A follow-up to their best-selling debut finally appeared in shops in 2007. Titled Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil, the album debuted at number one in Denmark, and later that year Volbeat made a repeat appearance at Roskilde, opened for Metallica and Megadeth, and once again toured Europe.
They followed that chart-topper with Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood in 2008, which also hit the top spot in Denmark, and once more toured festivals worldwide, seeing their brand of metal, hard rock, and punk cross over into the pop market without a concession in their sound. In 2010 Volbeat released Above Heaven/Beyond Hell with guest appearances from Mercyful Fate/King Diamond guitarist Michael Denner, Napalm Death's Mark "Barney" Greenway, Kreator's Mille Petrozza, and Jacob Øelund of rockabilly crew Taggy Tones. They toured relentlessly for the next year and a half on their own and played many festivals.
In 2012 Volbeat reentered the studio and emerged in April 2013 with their sixth proper album, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, which introduced a new member of the group, former Anthrax guitarist Robert Caggiano, who was brought in to co-produce and add guitar solos for the project and ended up joining the band. One of Volbeat's most stylistically diverse offerings to date, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies also became a major international success; it went to number one in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland, while making the Top Ten in the United States, Sweden, Holland, and Belgium. ~ Chris True