Released: 2011, Napalm Records
I just love this Pirate Metal stuff. Verbal Deception, Swashbuckle, you name it, it’s all really fun. Naturally, I was excited to hear the new Alestorm, BACK THROUGH TIME. This is their third full-length and 4th release overall including an EP. The new sees the motley crew sailing on a steady course with a few changes. They are still on Napalm, they still have same style cover art, but with a different logo, and that little skeleton-rat guy is back. The privateers have added a new crew-member in the form of drummer Peter Alcorn.
The 11 cuts on BACK THROGUH TIME are pieces of gold to be treasured. The bands signature sound is full intact with all sorts of traditional instruments like accordion, tin whistle are still at the fore. The horns seem a bit more prominent on their third musical voyage. Alestorm have perfected the thrashy-shanty, mosh-jig sound. It’s furious, fast and fun! The band mix everything into their brew, speed, thrash, power, traditional songs and even the occasional blast-beat!
Being a Canadian I appreciate the cover of Bareet’s Privateers. It’s always nice when your hometown (in my case Halifax, Nova Scotia) gets a mention on a Metal album. Lyrically, Alestorm are ahead of the fleet. The title song is a very clever tale of pirates sailing the Caribbean Seas and finding a hole in the space/time continuum (presumable in the Bermuda Triangle) and off they sail 600 years in the past to meet, fight (and kill!) some vikings. Pirates vs. Vikings=awesome. ‘Rum’ is another great tune, ya can’t go wrong with a drinking song. Alestorm fire a (friendly) shot across the bow of fellow Pirate Metal band, Swashbuckle band in the song 'Swashbuckled'.
My personal favourite, lyrically speaking, is ‘Scraping The Barrel’. It’s one of the slower songs with a bit of a melancholy lyrical and musical theme but also very witty and clever. In the lyrics Alestorm again pay homage to the Pirate Metal genre, with a self-depreciating sense of humour laced with a bit of classic metal defiance. For example,
“You may think you've heard all this music before
That Running Wild did it back in ’84.
But times are a changin' and we don't give a damn
So if you don't like it, go start your own band!
Many have told us that we can't go on
That one day we'll run out of lyrics for songs.
But when the time comes to write album four
We'll scrape out the barrel once more!”
At least 20 Pirate Metal bands have emerged from the depth in the past half-decade, and since Running wild scuttled their own vessel, Alestorm are now the flagship for the rapidly growing Pirate Metal sub-genre. Follow or be damned.