Reviewed: July, 2020
Released: 2020, Napalm Records
As Alestorm’s career has advanced I’ve seen more and more division among the fans. Some supporters love everything the band has ever done and they are on board for the sing-along party quest. A second vocal group, smaller but growing in size, feels the band has gone too far with the comedy element and wish they would get more ‘serious’. I know inherently it might sound ludicrous to talk about ‘Pirate Metal’ being serious but I do understand and to a degree, agree with the sentiment. The new album THE CURSE OF THE CRYSTAL COCONUT is not a serious album.
As the band worked really hard, toured, plundered and pillaged, they seemed to get more and more reaction, positive reaction, to the funny, fun, drinking jig type songs. Those songs had always been a part of the bands identity but as time went on the balance of fun-to-serious songs tipped. I don’t begrudge the band at all, in fact I love the goofy sing-along songs, but I also do fully understand that some fans feel the band could become (if it hasn’t already) be a novelty/comedy act, at the expense of the Metal.
This is the bands sixth album, recorded this time in Tailand of all places. The band have continued on where NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA left off with lots of whirling drinking jig type songs with silly (but fun) lyrics about zombies and crocodiles and video game song cover tunes. The tracks range from the usual, fast, fun, loose and lethal drinking songs, ‘Treasure Chest, Party Quest’ and ‘Pirate Metal Drinking Crew’ to just all out weirdness like ‘Zombies Ate My Pirateship’. Comedic element aside, here are some highlights such as the very fast and heavy, ‘Wooden Leg Part 2’ and the speedy and melodic ‘Call Of The Waves, which might be the best song they ever written, in my opinion. There is also some accursed crap infesting this voyage as well, such as the horrible ‘Tortuga’ which is basically rap and techno videogame metal nonsense. The album ends on a quieter note with an acoustic cut called ‘Henry Martin’ which is actually quite a heartfelt, traditional Scottish ballad dating way back to the 17th century. CURSE OF THE CRYSTAL COCONUT is a dynamic album with some of the best (and worst) stuff they have ever done, making it for an uneven listen, if you really wanted to over-analyze it.
In the past the ratio seemed to be three-quarters serious to one-quarter goofy songs and the ratio has now flipped to three-quarters comedy songs to one-quarter serious songs. I’m on board with this crew and they have the benefit of the doubt but as a listener, you may want to approach with caution.
1. Treasure Chest Party Quest
3. Chomp Chomp
5. Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship
6. Call of the Waves
7. Pirate’s Scorn (Donkey Kong Country cover)
8. Shit Boat (No Fans)
9. Pirate Metal Drinking Crew
10. Wooden Leg Part 2 (The Woodening)
11. Henry Martin
Christopher Bowes-Keyboards, Vocals