Volbeat began in 2001 when vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen became disenchanted with the Death Metal scene in Copenhagen and dissolved his band Dominus to form Volbeat as a Metal repository for his varied songwriting influences. Poulsen assembled the new band from scene friends and former bandmates, taking the name from Dominus’ third album, Vol Beat (the “Vol” stands for “Volume”). On the strength of selling out its initial demo tape, Volbeat signed with an imprint of Denmark’s Mascot Records, but its first album, The Strength/The Sound/The Songs, wouldn’t appear until 2005. Even at home, the debut Volbeat album stiffed upon its original release, but 10 months later it finally hit the Danish charts, eventually cracking the Top 20 and remaining on the chart for 21 weeks.
Because Mascot was distributed sporadically in the U.S., Volbeat was known primarily to Metal cultists. But in 2010, the band released Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, which became a global sensation; it went on to earn gold certification in the U.S. and has sold over a million copies worldwide. The follow-up, 2013’s Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s album chart and scored a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance for the track “Room 24,” which included vocals from underground Metal giant King Diamond.
Volbeat’s most recent album, last year’s Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie, debuted at No. 1 in Denmark and No. 4 in the U.S. The album’s third single, “Black Rose,” featuring vocals from Danko Jones, topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. After 16 years, minimal lineup changes and a mercurial sound that embraces volume and nuance in surprising ways, one thing is abundantly clear — Volbeat is built fjord tough.