Back to the Noose

Upon receiving Swashbuckle’s album Back To The Noose for review I sharpened my best Jack Sparrow cutlass for the inevitable disembowlment of the latest in the growing list of pirate metal bands.

I have a general disdain for pirate metal. When I see an album I feel like I’m looking at an advertisement for a Disney ride. I noticed that the blokes in Swashbuckle (one of which plays in Viking death metallers Helcaraxe) were dressed like theme park pirates and marveled at song titles like “Cloudy With a Chance of Piracy.” There’s also the glaring fact that said “pirates” hail from New Jersey where the only piracy taking place is cable television theft. I was prepared to say here’s another band trying to ride Alestorm’s coattails and walk right off the plank.Shiver me timbers, I was wrong about this album, the follow-up to Crewed By The Damned. Take away the excessive trappings of piracy and there are plenty of little gems. The short musical opening “Hoist The Mainsail,” gives way to two compact thrashers “Scurvy Back,” and “Back From The Noose.” “Cruise Ship Terror” is one of the best tracks — the band is screaming “party boat!” behind a driving thrash riff. When Swashbuckle settles in and grinds out their tight two to three minute blasts about piracy and plunder you are happy to be along for the ride.

There are too many songs here (21) and you have to plow through too many goofy musical asides and pirate narratives to get to the meat (or should I say black pearl?) These stalls detract from the album’s strengths, although the band does have a sense of humor. Some judicious pruning would have made this album more direct and fierce, and the pirate theme would still be intact.
If you like pirate metal then Back To The Noose is for you. And if you hate it there’s enough to admire so you don’t let out a scratchy “argh” and toss the album into the ocean. In case you were counting, that’s five cheesy pirate references in one review.
Written by Justin M. Norton
Website: http://www.myspace.com/swashbuckle

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Justin M Norton
September 2nd, 2009


  1. Commented by: faust666

    hahaha.. great review .. i dont like this genre at all but corniness aside there is some decent thrash on this one.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    fun thrash but there’s nothing I’m hearing that screams PIRATES except for the songtitles and whatever lyrics I can pick out. these guys could be doing any theme, really.

  3. Commented by: Red

    I really like this album, in fact I don’t see why any real metal fan would not enjoy this. It is fun and wrecks your neck, what more could you want :)

  4. Commented by: Mark

    I’m a Alestorm fan, and I have to say, to me this was a complete ripoff. It’s ok, but it sure the hell ain’t Alestorm. I thought Swashbuckle’s songs lacked in song structure.

  5. Commented by: Longdeadgod

    bah with all the alestorm rip comments, these dudes have been a band longer, maybe its just because im from the northeast u.s. and know some bands from the jersey area, but i heard of swashbuckle long before alestorm, and the bands play fairly different styles. these dudes are thrash mixed with pirate, while alestorm play a poorly executed rip of ensiferum/finntroll styles.

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