ALESTORM
Folk Metal • United Kingdom

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Alestorm is a folk/power metal band from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterized by a pirate theme which the band dubs of 'True Scottish Pirate Metal'.

The band formed under the name Battleheart in 2004. After releasing two EPs, they were signed by Napalm Records in 2007 and renamed themselves Alestorm since Napalm already had the similarly named Battlelore signed to their label. Their debut album, Captain Morgan's Revenge, was released on January 25, 2008.

Originally starting out as a two-member band consisting of Gavin Harper and Christopher Bowes, Battleheart recorded an independent EP in Mel's home studio in early 2006. The band was completed with the addition of bassist Dani Evans and drummer Doug Swierczek. Battleheart played their first live show only five days after the members had met for the first time.

A second EP was recorded the same year, with Evans now featuring in the recording line-up, although the drums
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No Grave But The Sea (Deluxe Edition)No Grave But The Sea (Deluxe Edition)
Napalm Records 2017
Audio CD$12.57
$12.56 (used)
Sunset on the Golden AgeSunset on the Golden Age
Napalm Records 2014
Audio CD$11.61
Black Sails at MidnightBlack Sails at Midnight
Napalm 2009
Audio CD$7.89
$6.79 (used)
Captain Morgan's RevengeCaptain Morgan's Revenge
Napalm Records 2008
Audio CD$7.89
$6.09 (used)
Back Through TimeBack Through Time
Napalm Records 2011
Audio CD$11.37
$7.19 (used)
Live at the End of the WorldLive at the End of the World
CD+DVD
Napalm Records 2013
Audio CD$8.49
$7.22 (used)
LeviathanLeviathan
EP
Napalm Records 2009
Audio CD$6.53
$5.99 (used)
Black Sails at Midnight by ALESTORM (2009-06-02)Black Sails at Midnight by ALESTORM (2009-06-02)
Napalm
Audio CD$34.22
Live At The End Of The World [CD + DVD] by AlestormLive At The End Of The World [CD + DVD] by Alestorm
Napalm Records
Audio CD$33.45
Leviathan by Alestorm (2009-01-27)Leviathan by Alestorm (2009-01-27)
Napalm Records
Audio CD$40.88
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Captain Morgan's Revenge by Alestorm (CD, Jan-2008, Napalm Records) Captain Morgan's Revenge by Alestorm (CD, Jan-2008, Napalm Records) USD $11.01 Buy It Now 3 days
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ALESTORM Discography

ALESTORM albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.27 | 16 ratings
Captain Morgan's Revenge
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.69 | 15 ratings
Black Sails At Midnight
Folk Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.34 | 13 ratings
Back Through Time
Folk Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.35 | 8 ratings
Sunset on the Golden Age
Folk Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 3.70 | 6 ratings
No Grave But The Sea
Folk Metal 2017

ALESTORM EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.38 | 8 ratings
Leviathan
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Sails Over Europe
Folk Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drink / Kvaðning
Folk Metal 2016

ALESTORM live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At The End Of The Road
Folk Metal 2013

ALESTORM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ALESTORM re-issues & compilations

ALESTORM singles (4)

.. Album Cover
4.17 | 3 ratings
Heavy Metal Pirates
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
In The Navy
Folk Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alestorm
Folk Metal 2017
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mexico
Folk Metal 2017

ALESTORM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

ALESTORM Reviews

ALESTORM No Grave But The Sea

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
A 12 year old boy can tell you anchor rhymes with wanker, but it took a swag of salty Scottish seamen to actually write a song about it. Celtic pirates singing sweary metal songs about drinking, pillaging, and sailing? It has to be Alestorm.

‘No Grave but the Sea’ carries straight on from where ‘Sunset on the Gold Age’ left off, in that it is an album chock full of tales of grog and girls and gallivanting, and the odd bit of pirating too. What is so surprising is that what a lot of people initially dismissed as a short lived novelty is still going. ‘No Grave but the Sea’ is Alestorm’s fifth album, and there is no sign of the It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. After all, Running Wild have been pumping out piratical power metal since the mid 80s.

Surely no one can keep churning out such melodies forever? Well, it seems like Alestorm’s sole remaining founding member, vocalist and keytarist Christopher Bowes, can. His croaky faux-buccaneer voice produces melody after melody, and his fingers dance across his keytar in an involuntary tarantella.

As ever, the songs are just a bit mad, with a fine twist of silly anachronism thrown in. First song, the title track “No Grave but the Sea” is actually a serious historical account of the Battle of the Saintes, a naval encounter fought in the Caribbean, which forced France and Spain to give up any plans of invading Jamaica. Admiral Sir George Rodney smashed the French fleet through superior tactics, technology, and a little help from the weather. His fleet sent an estimated 3,000 of Admiral Comte de Grasse’s men to Davy Jones’ locker, and captured another 5,000 whilst losing less than 250 British sailors.

So what’s a thirsty privateer to do after such a mission? Not sail back to grotty old Scotland, that’s for sure! No, the good ship Alestorm set sail for “Mexico”, where the cactus grows, ale is free, and er… donkeys provide the entertainment. While in Mexico, it seems Captain Bowes found an odd device called a timecube, which proved the world is not round as first supposed, so then set sail "To The End Of The World". More nautical nuttiness ensues with “Bar Ünd Imbiss", “Pegleg Potion”, and the self-titled “Alestorm”, all odes to the demon drink. “Rage of the Pentahook” is a cautionary tale of a Paraguayan pirate with five hooks on his hand. And speaking of hands, “Man The Pumps” is a double entendre laden elegy to the dangers of excessive masturbation. Hands off boys, it’ll kill ya!

And the anchor/wanker rhyme? It comes from “Fucked With an Anchor”, which sees the poor protagonist cursed with coprolalia, thanks to a witch doctor’s voodoo curse. It makes him a little cross, as the chorus to the songs demonstrates: “Fuck! You! You're a fucking wanker/We're gonna punch you right in the balls/Fuck! You! With a fucking anchor/You're all cunts, so fuck you all!” The solution? Rectally applying a large device usually employed to prevent a ship from drifting at sea to said doctor. Sounds painful, but the song is more dangerous still. See, the melody and chorus of “Mexico” and “Alestorm” are as infectious as bubonic plague at a fifteenth century rat-fanciers convention, but there is no known cure for the “Fucked With an Anchor” earworm. The simple, expletive-laden refrain will still be banging around in your head days later, as the odd whimpered “fuck” or “wanker” inadvertently slips from your uncontrollable lips.

Alestorm’s brand of melodic folk/thrash metal is too lightweight for many purists, but fuck ‘em. Metal doesn’t always have to be about being the fastest or heaviest. Sometimes, the most scatterbrained story tellers are the most entertaining. Long may Alestorm sail the seas of silliness.

ALESTORM No Grave But The Sea

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
It's been almost a decade since the self-described True Scottish Pirate Metal band known as Alestorm first made waves upon the seven seas of metal to exact some Captain Morgan's Revenge (2008). The waters have been perilous as they sailed their Black Sails at Midnight (2009) and many of Captain Christopher Bowes crew have gone overboard on their quest to bring their scurvy brand of metal to unsuspecting listeners everywhere. Wait, I may have that wrong, their quest may just be to drink all our beer and steal our rum and sing a few songs along the way. With long time member Dani Evans having jumped off the black ship Alestorm in 2015, the year 2017 has them sailing with a completely rotated crew except the captain, but he at least seems as set in his course as ever.

Through their many stops along to way to No Grave But the Sea (2017) the band have brandished their own brand of metal comedy across four albums, most recently going Back Through Time (2011) to observe a Sunset on the Golden Age (2014) where they walked the plank, drank a lot of mead from hell (and got a hangover), got hit in both knees by cannonballs and had both arms cut off by Samurai. Alestorm are a hard bunch to take seriously and with each album it becomes clearer that they don't really want anyone to, because this time they're off to Mexico for three margaritas and a taco, kick a wanker in the balls and fuck him with an anchor, brew some pegleg potion and oh yes, they drink a lot. Again. They also got a dog who challenged Bowes for the captaincy, won and deleted all the vocals on the album and replaced them with barking which is why there's also a version of the album with a No Grave But the Sea for Dogs bonus disc also included.

So, business as usual then!

Well perhaps not quite. Alestorm are an easy band to laugh at which can lead to not really paying attention to them as musicians, but they're not actually the bunch of swabs they appear to be and their sound underneath all the pirate and otherwise tongue-in-cheek lyrics has actually been evolving and skill as musicians improving this past ten years at sea. No Grave But the Sea feels even more different to their past work since there's less power metal guitar in there and even less of the thrashy riffs they'd had previously. It that sense it feels to be quite a stripped back album, though a new element I feel they have on this one is the addition of some metalcore style screams, which can be heard in their self-titled song, something which I'm surprised it's taken this band this long to do, a self-titled song that is. Of course this is all neither here nor there where an Alestorm album is concerned, because that's clearly not the point of their music. The point is for it to be fun and yep, it is. My point however is that despite their apparent efforts towards complete and utter pirate buffoonery, they're not actually one trick ponies. Maybe that should be monkeys.

With that said, I didn't personally enjoy this particular Alestorm voyage as much as some of their past ones. It's easy to sit and snigger at their (admittedly often immature) brand of humour and they can certainly write a good drinking song for when it's time to down a few flagons of ale (though none as good as the previous album's Drink), but they're five albums in now and the joke seems like it might be getting a bit past it's sell-by date. They're not becalmed just yet because tracks such as the title track, Mexico and Rage of the Pentahook are still pretty decent, but the title of their previous album may end up being prophetic. Maybe the sun has set on the Golden Age of Alestorm. One thing's for sure though, they won't be going quietly.

ALESTORM No Grave But The Sea

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
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Kev Rowland


Somehow these guys have made it to their fifth studio album, still portraying ‘True Scottish Pirate Metal'. I was once asked by a mate if I wanted to go and see them play live, but I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it, and I’ve been to see Gwar! The frustrating thing for me is that there are some interesting songs on the album, but do you really want to sit through ten songs about being a pirate? I love folk in all its forms, but there are only so many shanty-style numbers that one can sit through at one time. Someone also needs to have a conversation with keyboard player Elliot Vernon and suggest that not only he update the patches he is using, but also to never repeat the sounds he uses at the beginning of “Mexico” as they sound as if they have come from an Atari that someone has dragged up from somewhere.

These guys are having a laugh, of that there is no doubt, and they are making a career of it, but although I can see the appeal this really isn’t for me. That they know what they are doing, and that this has been well produced is never in doubt, it’s just that there are many more albums I would prefer to listen to.

ALESTORM Sunset on the Golden Age

Album · 2014 · Folk Metal
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adg211288
Sunset on the Golden Age (2014) is the fourth full-length album by Scottish pirates Alestorm. For this album the band have extended their line-up to a five piece with the addition of Elliot Vernon (Windrider) on keyboards. Previously that role was held by vocalist Christopher Bowes. The documentation that accompanies my promo copy of the album is unclear if Bowes plays any keyboards on the album or sticks exclusively to vocals now but I presume he does as that was the situation on their Live at the End of the World (2013) release.

Alestorm are well known as one of those bands who aren't meant to be taken 100% serious. They're comedic, gimmicky and a bit bonkers too. That's exactly why they're such a great band. But also one that I had to wonder about the longevity of, back when they released their first album Captain Morgan's Revenge (2008). Just how many songs about pirates and drinking can you write and still do what they do so well? This was a subject that they themselves successfully parodied on their previous album Back Through Time (2011) on the song Scraping the Barrel. And here we are with their fourth voyage Sunset on the Golden Age, an album that brings more drunken pirates and eyebrow raising ideas, not least the decision to cover the song Hangover which was originally by Taio Cruz, complete with Christopher Bowes doing a rap section in that distinctive pirate voice of his. If you're like me and don't stay in touch with mainstream music you may not know who Taio Cruz is...he seems to be some sort of dance/pop/r'n'b artist...not the most obviously compatible artist for a folk/power metal band to cover. But it's Alestorm so that may be why it not only works but ends up being an album highlight.

I think that Sunset on the Golden Age contains two of the funniest songs that Alestorm have ever written. The first of these is the lead promo track Drink. I love the way Christopher Bowes throws in references to the band's older songs like he's retelling the tales of the band's various misadventures on their quest for booze. The chorus is pretty addictive too. I can easily see this one becoming an essential staple of the band's live show for as long as they keep making music, which if Sunset on the Golden Age is anything to go by isn't something they should be stopping any time soon. The other song I want to mention here is Wooden Leg!. At first this one seemed a bit too repetitive but as I took in the story like lyrics I began to appreciate it a whole lot more. Another song I can imagine crowds going absolutely nuts to in the live environment.

I think that Back Through Time started to show a more mature side to Alestorm though in terms of their compositional skills. I think the reason that they've been able to keep going as long as they have is that their music is not as throwaway as one might initially expect. At their core the band usually combines folk metal and power metal ideas but they also have plenty of symphonic elements and even some thrash metal bits as well. But the different elements aren't so important here it's more what they do with them and the album's title track is easily the most adventurous piece that the band has written so far. An all too brief keyboard lead was even downright progressive. Unfortunately at nearly eleven and a half minutes it's just a bit too long so the band doesn't quite pull off what they seem to have been going for. The same is true of the album's other longer track 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena). Death Throes of the Terrorsquid from Back Through Time will serve as the standard for longer songs that they have to live up to now and neither of these is as strong as that one. But the point is they do give more musically than you might expect, even if the songs on Sunset on the Golden Age don't have as high a consistency as either Back Through Time or Captain Morgan's Revenge.

Sticking to the shorter humorous songs is clearly Alestorm's strength on Sunset on the Golden Age and as I've stated, they've made some of their best and funniest songs on this one. Likewise they maintain a great energy with their music and have some great folk melodies in there too. There may come a day when Alestorm release something that sounds stale and uninspired but despite the title of the album I don't think the band's golden age is anywhere near over yet. This one is well worth a plunder. 4 Stars.

83/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/alestorm-sunset-on-the-golden-age-t3682.html)

ALESTORM Back Through Time

Album · 2011 · Folk Metal
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cennsor
[review originally published on http://thecennsor.wordpress.com/]

Aye, the fearsome Scots are back. With the third album in four years, and lots of ideas less than in the past. It may well be such a “haste” accounts for the lack thereof, but be it as it may, that’s a fact.

What’s funny, they actually unashamedly and blatantly admit it, making a whole song out of it (not by chance titled Scraping the Barrel), where they go so far as to advice that “if you don’t like it [the fact they've run out of creative gas], go start your own band”. What’s funnier, the song itself is a pretty nice piece, catchy as can be, and the album just gets better and better in the second half (the song is placed more or less in the middle).

But let’s try and go with order. Back Through Time is named after the first song, the idea behind which is pirates going back through time (you would’ve never guessed it, would you?..) to fight none less than those who used to wreck havoc on the seas centuries before them: the vikings. Yes, you can already tell by now they’re out of ideas. The song actually runs smoothly enough, as do the following; it’s nothing but the same old piratey folk-heavy metal – with a brief hint at blackish tones by the end of Death Throes of the Terrorsquid, the longest track of the lot which somehow reminds me of Finnish viking metallers Turisas.

Folk undertones (though it’s not like they really are confined to the background… but anyway) are massively to be heard on The Sunk’n Norwegian and on the drinking song (another obvious non-surprise) Rum, arguably the catchiest of all.

Rum raises the whole tone and tempo of the album, coming straight after the aforementioned Scraping the Barrel, on which a few words more ought to be spent. Other than displaying a rascal attitude which no doubt fits the pirate monicker perfectly, Alestorm admit they’re, well, quite literaly scraping the barrel. In doing so though, they also take the time to pay due to their legitimate and, so to say, most prestigious predecessors: “you may think you’ve heard all this music before / that Running Wild did it back in ’84″. To me, such a tribute amends the fault (but is it so in this genre, really?) of lacking fresh ideas and earns the album a positive review. There might be nothing “genial” about it, but it’s nonetheless clever and funny – and what else is this kind of music about? As a side note, it made me think of what they did on the promo copies of their previous album, where a piraty voiceover warned you in a not-so-piraty fashion that “argh, piracy is a crime”.

Midget Saw and Buckfast Powermash, closing the first half of the album, are perhaps the most blatant example of Alestorm reaching their creative boundaries. But there’s still some good energy left, and like I said that shows on Rum and the following. Swashbuckled also has a nice folky scent to it, and the melody does flow pretty well. Then comes the utterly useless (and pretty idiotic, if you like) six seconds of Rumpelkombo, which must have been intended as a homage (?) of some sorts. Not only didn’t I get it, but I find it an annoying (or just plain stupid) break right in the middle of the music flow. Of course you can just leave it out of your mp3 playlists, but on a CD that’s just an extra annoyance.

Anyway, the following Barrett’s Privateers kind of compensates for that questionable idea. It’s arguably the best track on the album, with a traditional folky melody and a bit of a pirate narrative which at least doesn’t meddle with minimum-quality fantasy or revels in overused concepts and repetitive rhyming. Death Throes of the Terrorsquid cuts quite a figure as the album’s finale, with a slower epic-scented tempo, before taking off towards the end to venture into black metal territory (not too long though, and in my humble opinion that’s just good); all in all a very good piece, with which Alestorm prove they can actually take that one step further, in spite of being stuck at the same old… same old, on the rest of the album.

The limited edition features two bonus tracks, both covers, the first being George Baker Selection‘s Paloma Blanca (renamed I Am a Cider Drinker on the ablum), and the second the infamous “pirate” hit You Are a Pirate. Not that they were much needed, but they grant an already short album some extra lenght, and they add to the fun all in all.

THUS SPAKE THE CENNSOR: Back Through Time does indeed take you back, though not much further than to Alestorm‘s previous chapter of their own pirate saga; even those claimed echoes of Running Wild‘s are but to be heard in the lyrics and not much else. Which is actually good; as Alestorm themselves sing, “the times are a’changing” and it would make no sense to try and copy the German pioneers of the genre nowadays. Pitifully though, there’s not much of a change to Alestorm‘s inspiration, and that might hurt them in the long run. But as for now, Back Through Time is a nice addition to your collection if you like what these Scots did so far, and the lack of freshness isn’t necessarily that much of a downside within this genre. 7/10

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