Volbeat's Michael Poulsen: 5 Great Non-Metal Albums for Metalheads | Revolver

Volbeat's Michael Poulsen: 5 Great Non-Metal Albums for Metalheads

From Elvis' "raw" late-60s gem to Brit-pop act Suede's "darkest" LP
volbeat-michael solo - ross halfin -web-crop.jpg, Ross Halfin
photograph by Ross Halfin

It's no big surprise that Michael Poulsen enjoys music that extends beyond the boundaries of heavy metal. After all, he and his Volbeat bandmates have been successfully melding metal with elements of punk, psychobilly and straight-up 1950s rock & roll for over 15 years, creating a unique sound that's still very much in evidence on the Danish band's upcoming album Servant of the Mind.

But Poulsen's tastes also range far into pop rock and alternative rock, which is why he admits it was difficult to come up with a selection of five favorite non-metal albums that Revolver readers might dig.  "This was not an easy list to do, because the list of albums I love is humongous," he laughs. "So I tried to mix it up with some new stuff and old stuff." Check out his picks below.

Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance

The first thing I heard by them was in the soundtrack of Peaky Blinders. I was like, Who the fuck are these guys? And then I started digging into their material, and it was that magical stuff that happens now and then where life becomes good because you've found something that just speaks to you. Joy as an Act of Resistance is such an amazing album; and just when you think you've heard every detail on that album, you put it on and you hear new things. They're amazing guys, amazing musicians, and they've really mastered their instruments. And I like the idea that they're not trying to be perfect; it's very unpolished, but at the same time they really know what they're doing. I love it!

Elvis Presley - From Elvis in Memphis

That's always among my absolute favorite Elvis records. My father always said, "I've got everything by Elvis!" But when I started buying CDs, there were some Elvis albums that he didn't have. And just when I thought I had it all, I found From Elvis in Memphis. I put in on and said "Wow!" It was kind of a different sound, his voice is more raw; it has that '68 comeback special feeling, and he carries that voice on to this record. And I was just blown away by it; I went home and said to my father, "You have got to listen to these songs!" He said, "I've got everything!" I said, "No you don't!" I put it on, and he was blown away too. Amazing album!

Suede - The Blue Hour

Honestly, I've always been aware of Suede's existence, but I never in a million years thought I would become a humongous fan of Suede; it was just a band I knew. But for some reason, I was going through iTunes to see what new releases were out there, and I saw The Blue Hour. I said, "Whoa, are these guys still making records? I wonder how they sound like today?" I was just curious, but I listened to the record and became so obsessed with it; I couldn't sleep, because those melodies just kept running through my head! It's such an amazing album; the songwriting is so strong, and the melodies and the atmosphere, and [Brett Anderson's] lyrics… I started going back through their older material, and I started to understand what they were trying to do in the past. Sometimes an album just takes off for you like that. It's probably the darkest album they've made, which is probably also why I really love it!

Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers

Manic Street Preachers are my all-time favorite band. I remember the first time I heard [their 1992 single] "Motorcycle Emptiness," and I thought, "Wow, what a great song!" I've been following them ever since. The talent of this band is unreachable. James Dean Bradfield is a very underrated guitarist, if you ask me, and he has such a way with melodies. I really love all of their albums, but when Send Away the Tigers came out, I was just blown away by how every song was just a big song; it has definitely given me some inspiration over the years. They really know how to get to a chorus at the right point in the song!

A-Ha - Cast in Steel

Cast In Steel is one of my favorite albums right now. It's not like I was a huge fan of A-Ha's old material; certainly those hits that we all know are good, but I never went out of my way to listen to them. But again, it just happened out of curiosity; when they released Lifelines [in 2002], I heard it in a record store, and I thought it had some really beautiful songs. I was blown away by how Morten Harket is able to control his voice; it's very unique what he does. So I became an A-Ha fan at that point, and then they released a few more records after that which are also pretty good albums. And then I'd heard they'd broke up, but then out of the blue came Cast in Steel, which at first I thought was a best-of because of the terrible cover art. [Laughs] But I saw the song titles and realized, "This has to be a new album!" And I am so attached to this album, because the songwriting is so extremely beautiful, and I connect so well with the melodies and emotions. I never thought they could top Lifelines, but this is the best album A-Ha have ever done, and I will say that it is definitely my number one favorite pop-rock album of all.