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Skull Branded Pirates
The Legend of Salty Jim
Released: 2009, Self released
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Ship Ahoy! From the Northwest side of Leeds, England comes THE LEGEND OF SALTY JIM, the latest offering from the five scallywags who comprise Skull Branded Pirates. The nine song effort is made up of uptempo melodic metal and vocals that range from gruff lows and mids to the shallower side of the higher register. There is also pirate gang backing vocals really giving this disc the extra "Yo ho ho".
Any comparisons to fellow pirate metal groups such as the genre's original forefathers Running Wild or more recently Alestorm carry little weight as SBP have more in common with traditional heavy metal than their Euro Power metal counterparts. Though the band does play up the gimmick-like stance of the band, going so far as to incorporate a proper pirate dress code (eye patch included) into the group's imagery, as far as I can tell by reading through the lyrics, the band is not going for a tongue-in-cheek, pirate mock-up. The songs are all swashbuckling stories interwoven into the band's metal music.
THE LEGEND OF SALTY JIM also encompasses many cinematic elements via synthesizers, sampling and dramatic snare rolls making this album a great task for any band to pull off live, let alone piece together in the studio. So props to the band for being able to do both.
The CD booklet houses a boatload of graphic novel-esque pirate imagery courtesy of Amy Cocks and David Preston. The booklet is meant to resemble a faded treasure map and all of the cornerstones of piratedom are represented, such as a treasure chest, skull and crossbones and of course a drunken monkey sitting on a barrel.
This is a strong debut effort from Skull Branded Pirates. One thing I think they could improve on in the future is adding a little pina colada mix to their spiced rum; after a while it is hard to differentiate tracks on the album, as they blend together being a little too interchangeable. Adding some dynamics and tempo changes between songs would help to develop their craft.
1. Sail To War
2. Cross-Skull Branded Thieves
3. Hempen Jig
4. Far Beyond Forever
5. The Stormed and Cursed Seas
6. The Legend of Salty Jim
7. Blackbeard's Last Stand
8. Sea Doggin'
9. Inside The Inn
One Ayed Wilson - Vocals
Fradders the Cabin Boy - Lead & Rhytm Guitars
Scare-V-Knave - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
The Dread Pirate Duncan - Bass, Backing Vocals
Davey Blast Bastard - Drums
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