Alestorm have risen to become giants of their sub-genre, with their unique style of folk metal combining elements of party-metal and piracy to provide us all with some dance-worthy lighthearted tunes. Following on from their album ‘Sunset on the Golden Age’ which was a massive success featuring tracks such as ‘Drink’ and even a party metal cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Hangover’, I didn’t think there was much they could do to top it.
But then I heard ‘No Grave But The Sea’.
Alestorm stand out from the other pirate themed folk metal bands. They break the standardised sound associated with the sub-genre and create music which I think sounds more true to the original ideas of shanties, modernising them and creating catchy, themed songs that you can’t help but sing, dance and drink along to.
Which brings us to the first track on the album, the title track – ‘No Grave But The Sea’. Remaining true to the Alestorm many of us are hoping to hear, you can expect the great tales of pirates questing with a catchy chorus, heavy guitars and catchy pirate-folk tunes. They’ve definitely remained in their comfort zone for this track and I have to admit, after hearing the two demos I was relieved to hear something that was more of how I remember them.
Track two – ‘Mexico’, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now. It features a catchy 8 bit intro, replaced with heavy guitars and shortly a polka tune where the vocals kick in. the theme continues throughout and after hearing the chorus a few times you can’t help but sing along. Mexico has to be my favourite track on the album overall.
Track three – ‘To The End Of The World’. Another track typical to what we’d expect from Alestorm generally. Featuring some folky breakdown and even some clean group vocals that I can’t help but hear as a Wintersun influence – Maybe they weren’t joking about building a sauna on their boat?
And onto Track four – ‘Alestorm’. Another song everyone has probably already heard. This track takes more hardcore approach to Alestorm as we know them. Still containing the lyrical themes and catchy folk metal elements, however led much more by Elliot Vernon with his metalcore style vocals. I personally am not a fan, and I’ve seen a lot of controversy over it. As I can hear; they’ve tried to do something a little different and this track doesn’t highlight a theme for the rest of the album – and regardless of what people are saying, nobody can deny the catchiness of that chorus – “Rum, Beer, Quests and Mead…”
Track five – ‘Bar und Imbiss’. This track brings ‘The Sunk’n Norwegian’ and ‘Nancy The Tavern Wench’ to mind, and perfectly sums both up in an enjoyable new ballad. I can’t help but find myself swaying along, another great track from this album.
Track six – ‘Fucked With An Anchor’. The name of this track honestly made me question how it would sound, there is no amount you can prepare for this song. After hearing it once I’ve had to play it on loop and after hearing the chorus thrice you’ll find yourself singing along just as I was. It shows exactly what Alestorm resemble, fun, humorous, pirate themed folk metal, who don’t take themselves too seriously at all. ‘Fucked With An Anchor’ is the hidden gem this album needed and possibly that one track we were always waiting to hear from Alestorm. The lyrics may be stupid, the idea may be dumb, the profanity as a selling point may turn a few away, but this track really is just a lot of fun and I can’t help but keep listening to it. The fact they went and added a guitar solo, even a few sweeps really completes this track.
Track seven – ‘Pegleg Potion’. This is a track that I wouldn’t say particularly stands out in the album musically. It follows the same pattern as most Alestorm songs, and I do particularly like the chorus. A few points of interest are that it is of a faster tempo than the other tracks on the album, and it even features a recipe to the brew in question, which I’m sure one of you crazy fans may want to try as a toast to how great this album is, with your new rubber ducks!
Track eight – ‘Man The Pumps’. Another slower track which doesn’t particularly stand out to me, it still features the catchy accordion that seems to dominate most Alestorm tracks and contains a catchy chorus, but it’s very average overall.
Track nine – ‘Rage of the Pentahook’. This track puts the later half of the album back in business! Picking up with some upbeat accordion and kicking back into that traditional Alestorm style. It’s exciting, catchy and I can see a crowd raising their hooks to the sky and dancing along to this track at gigs to come!
Finally we have track ten – ‘Treasure Island’. This track is significantly longer than the other tracks on the album. It’s an average song overall, in fact, a little too long for my liking. It is let down by a generic chorus, perhaps the most boring chorus on the album. It struggles to live up to the previous “epics” Alestorm have released in the form of ‘Throes of the Terrorsquid’ and ‘Sunset on the Golden Age’. That said overall it does have the typical theme we expect from Alestorm throughout and up against the aforementioned contenders, they’re not easy tracks to match, let alone beat.
Alestorm have shown us that they are capable of bringing fun, pirate themed, party/folk metal to us time and time again, and this album may well be among my favourites they’ve ever released in terms of a whole album. It follows up ‘Sunset On The Golden Age’ well and provides some great new Alestorm classics that we just won’t be able to forget.