Alestorm
Sunset On the Golden Age

Four albums into their career and Alestorm have outgrown and honed their ‘Scottish Pirate Metal’ sound and become arguably one of Scotland’s more famous metal acts. And the all important contract album, album number 4 certainly cements that with a larger than life collection of  drinking songs and Pirate-y raucous  rockers, but also a sense of impending closure as the bands seems to be teetering on the ‘big time’.

Those that disregard the band’s fun, humorous thrash tinged take on Pirate themed metal, will find nothing to sway their opinion here, but those that have loved the previous three albums will be more than satiated. The core of the sound is still catchy as all get out folk/thrash songs glossed with sea shanty sing alongs and a continued bigger exploration of more epic, orchestral elements that cement front man Christopher Bowe’s love of Bal-Sagoth (the band as a full time keyboard player now to complement Bowe’s keytar).

Big, boisterous riffs and Pirate-ish ho downs still dominate the the album even as Bowe and co spread their wings a little from pure rum and tits themed anthems to space squids, actual  history,  a little 8 bit sampling, yet another goofy cover song and even an 11 minute album closing ballad. It’s all incredible fun and silly, but also incredibly well written with addictive choruses abound. As with the last album or two, the  bigger Bal Sagoth influence is grander in scale as apparent on tracks like “Magnetic North”, “1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)” and the title track feature much more bombastic,  brass and string backing, as opposed to just jig driven violins and such. There’s even a more more harsher vocals scattered around those two tracks, adding even more to the overall tone.

But the heart of the album is just downright fun shanties such as opener “Walk the Plank”,  “Drink” (though a lead single, arguably the album’s weakest, if admittedly radio track), “Mead From Hell”, personal favorite “Quest For Ships” and the rollicking “Wooden Leg”- this album’s “Keelhauled” or “Rum”. Adding to the band’s collection of cover songs (“Wolves of the Sea”, “In the Navy”, “Barrett’s Privateers”, “You Are a Pirate”, “I am a Cider Drinker”), is a cover of British pop hit “Hangover” by Taio Cruz, featuring a downright fun rap vocal break from MC Immobilizer from Aussie pirate metal boozers Lagerstein.

The 11 minute  title track ends the album, and I can’t help but feel a sense a mood of closure that’s suggested by the title itself or the somber mood the song imbues (i.e lyrics like “The final chapter, the end is close is at hand, time to turn the page, etc“). Whether the band is getting ready to move on thematically, label wise or something else. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, and I hope I’m wrong as Alestorm  has become one of my very favorite metal acts, despite pirate metal becoming a ‘thing’ now, and this album, whatever the future holds ensures the band is the very best of bunch and one of my favorite releases of the year.

It should be noted that there is a limited edition media book version of the album that comes with a second CD called “Rumplugged”, and features acoustic versions of Alestorm songs ‘Over the Seas”, “Shipwrecked”, “Keelhauled”, “Nancy the Tavern Wench” and “The Sunken Norwegian”  and a cheeky little extra called “Questing on the Poop Deck”.  Its a fun little add on that’s worth the few extra bucks to hear these already catchy enjoyable numbers given a different acoustic perspective.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 11th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: ikillednoe

    a man has needs, and that need is booze”
    haha fk yes


  2. Commented by: hebus

    Horrible horrible joke rock band.only they dont make me laugh like gwar as there is a distinct lack of talent here.


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