Volbeat feat. Johan Olsen – For Evigt

“This song just confuses me no end.”

Tim: Unusual for a number of reasons, this, not least that it’s metal and we’re normally some form of pop, but then what’s life without a bit of variety every now and again?

Adam: Oh how exciting!

Tim: Volbeat are Danish, been going about 15 years, while Johan is the lead singer of another Danish metal band, Magtens Korridorer (or, in English, The Corridors of Power). So with the intros done, here’s the song, and please don’t read ahead until it’s all played out – you’ll see why.

Tim: Two languages in a track – different, but no biggie. A weird “pre-chorus/wait this instrumental sounds like a post-chorus was that the chorus?/oh no wait this Danish bit is the chorus” structure format – a bit more unusual and a tad unsettling, but we’ve heard stranger.

Adam: Now that description would really pique my interest but having heard the track I’m afraid heavy metal and rockabilly fused together isn’t really doing it for me.

Tim: No. A banjo in a hefty rock song? That just doesn’t sit right with me at all, particularly because yet again we’re losing half the beats.

Adam: I actually quite like the banjo breakdown. I think this is another example of two ideas being squashed together needlessly. I think a shorter but full on heavy song would’ve worked better or have the whole track stripped back like in the breakdown.

Tim: Then the song drops dead and fades back in, the banjo’s nowhere to be seen and we’re back in full on thrashing around mode.

Adam: Yeah the whole track does feel to me like it’s stopping and starting throughout. There were certainly some strange choices made in the writing process.

Tim: In essence, this song just confuses me no end, it really does.

Adam: I feel a bit let down. Although it may proclaim to be another genre, I would still call this pop at the end of the day.

Tim: Oh, mate, just no.

Within Temptation – Skyfall

“Perhaps better than Adele’s?”

Tim: I was going to throw in a track from these guys as a Saturday Flashback at some point, because I quite like them and I found out recently that my mum had become a fan thanks to my leaving a CD at her place, which I thought might be vaguely enough of an anecdote to satisfy our not-remotely-strict guidelines. But no need! This Dutch metal band have released a cover of Skyfall, which is current. So let’s have a listen!

Tom: They’re brave to try and cover something like that: Skyfall’s theme tune is one of the strongest tracks of the year.

Tim: Brace yourself for something I’m about to say, because I’m aware it’ll be contentious, but: I think this is, possibly, better than Adele’s?

Tom: No. It’s not better than Adele’s. I can categorically say that. Adele’s is a classic Bond theme – an astonishing, diva voice belting out over a full orchestral backing. This is good, don’t get me wrong, but the original is better.

Tim: Or if not, then at least more fit for purpose. Because having seen the film, and while I didn’t think it at the time, it kind of deserves a heavier opening theme than it was given.

Tom: Are you stark raving mad? This wouldn’t fit the mood at all. This is way too harsh, too powerful: it never lets up. It’s not a bad metal track, by any means, but it’s not a Bond theme.

Tim: Actually, that’s true – it wouldn’t have fitted that opening scene very well. But while I know we said that Adele’s one was a return to proper Bond theme, brass and strings and all that, I think the explosions in the film, the destruction, the emphasis of everything that happens just seems to sound, well, better when accompanied by the electric guitar and the heavy drums. I really think this works.

Tom: As a metal track, it works. As a Bond theme? Not a chance.

Saturday Reject: Dead by April – Mystery

Keep the drummer in a metal cage.

Tim: This year, Melodifestivalen had two metal entrants. There was Dynazty with Land of Broken Dreams, which was to all intents and purposes a schlager song dressed up with heavy instruments. Very much worth a listen, but for a review you can pretty much head back to last year’s review of Nicke Borg, because it fulfils a fairly similar role – a song that’ll appeal to mainstream people and will be described by the fans as ‘selling out’, and as far as I’m concerned is very enjoyable.

Then there’s this.

Tom: Sure, keep the drummer in a metal cage. Just in case he’s a bit too visible.

Tim: Well, this is about the singers. We don’t want the instrument players getting aspirations above their stations now, do we?

Tim: This song was in the first heat, and (possibly due to the low quality of that week) got further in the competition than Dynazty did, which I think is a shame as I enjoyed that track a lot. This, I’m not sure about. The unintelligible screaming, I hate. I can’t wait for it to finish every time it starts and I wish I could get rid of the bloke in the baseball cap entirely.

Tom: Ah, but that’s how you do “Proper Metal Vocals”, isn’t it? Growl unintelligible vocals from your diaphragm.

Tim: It is, yes – but the other singing, though? I think it’s great. You can hear the key change coming a mile off, for starters, and that’s often an indication of great pop, which the decent stuff actually is – change the backing and it could be sung by any Charlotte Perrelli or Linda Bengtzing who cares to jump up on stage, really.

Tom: Which means it sits in an uncomfortable position – not a schlager song, not really a metal song. I’m surprised it got as far as it did – it’s not Lordi, after all.

Tim: Well, if you did replace it with a female singer and kept the screamy bit, you’d end up with something not unlike the closing part of the Casablanca/Malena Ernman collaboration from two years ago, which actually ended up being pretty brilliant, so that might explain it.

Tom: Casablanca’s lead singer isn’t metal-screaming there, though; it’s not that death-growl. That death-growl’s an acquired taste: for every person who goes ‘yes, proper metal in Eurovision!’ there’ll be two who go ‘ooh what’s wrong with his voice?’