Captain Morgan's Revenge

Often the press and promo sheets that come with albums for review are the greatest work of literary fiction since “A History of Great French Military Victories” came out. However in the case of Alestorm it simply says this:

‘Scottish Pirate Metal.’

I’d say that about covers it.

Formerly known as Battleheart, Scotland’s Alestorm (arguably the best moniker I’ve seen in ages- I literally picture a storm of Ale and smile endlessly) embrace the fun of metal that bands like Korpiklaani, Turisas, 3 Inches of Blood and to some extent older Finntroll imbue. Throw in the Pirate themed lyrics and a general ‘Arrrrrrrr matey!’ (I’m often reminded of the Blackadder II episode where Tom Baker plays a legless pirate captain) atmosphere of Running Wild and some truly solid songwriting, and the recipe is here for a swashbuckling good time.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you have thrown in a Bal-Sagoth album when the synths and bombastic salvo of opener “Over The Seas” kicks off the album, but a more traditional heavy metal meets thrash mix soons settles in with a galloping, rollicking and at times stupidly catchy delivery. Trust me, if my wife says “Hey, this is pretty catchy”-it is). The trio of opening tracks is the albums main highlight as “Over the Seas”, sing along chorus of “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” and rousing “The Huntmaster”(with my funeral eulogy its lyrics: Up from the bowels of hell he sailed. Wielding a tankard of freshley brewed ale. Slaying all those in his path. Those who might hinder his god-given task. To bring back beer to the lands of the free. This is his quest, his true destiny. Legends shall speak of his name Hail the Huntmaster, with honour and fame. With the power of ale – He could not fail!)

You get the idea.

The gravelly vocals of Christopher Bowes (kinda like the Spongebob Squarepants theme), much like Korpiklaani’s Jonne Järvelä are a prefect fit for the album’s maritime, ale swilling, wench taking, pillaging themes, and though the synths are never full on Pirate-y, they do add a Jig like nature to many of the tracks such as “Nancy, the Tavern Wench”, and to be truthful this could be a Viking metal album, were it not for the actual Pirate-ness of the themes.

Now after “Nancy the Tavern Wench” I’ll admit, things level out a bit as “Death Before the Mast” and “Terror on the High Seas” focus more on slightly forced Bay area thrashing than overboard high jinks. However, “Set Sail and Conquer”, jig-like “Of Treasure” and personal favorite, the raucous “Wenches and Mead” return to the more over the top Johnny Depp styled wackiness.

Much like some of the other bands mentioned above, Alestorm are going to be a love it or hate it band that will either bring a huge grin to your face or make you grimace in true metal seriousness at its silliness. Me personally? I’m still fucking grinning.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 26th, 2008


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