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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Thanks to metalbaswee for the addition and Stooge, adg211288, Time Signature for the updates

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Sunset On The Golden Age (2CD Digi Pak)Sunset On The Golden Age (2CD Digi Pak)
Napalm Records 2014
Audio CD$17.98
Captain Morgan's RevengeCaptain Morgan's Revenge
Napalm Records 2008
Audio CD$9.05
$7.74 (used)
Black Sails at MidnightBlack Sails at Midnight
Napalm 2009
Audio CD$10.48
$10.99 (used)
Back Through TimeBack Through Time
Napalm Records 2011
Audio CD$9.97
$9.96 (used)
Live at the End of the WorldLive at the End of the World
Napalm Records 2013
Audio CD$8.78
$12.91 (used)
LeviathanLeviathan
EP
Napalm Records 2009
Audio CD$5.98
$4.97 (used)
Back Through TimeBack Through Time
Import
Rubicon Japan 2011
Audio CD$37.00
$29.44 (used)
BLACK SAILS AT MIDNIGHTBLACK SAILS AT MIDNIGHT
BOUNDEE
Audio CD$30.01
$31.12 (used)
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ALESTORM Discography

ALESTORM albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.23 | 10 ratings
Captain Morgan's Revenge
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 12 ratings
Black Sails At Midnight
Folk Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.08 | 10 ratings
Back Through Time
Folk Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sunset on the Golden Age
Folk Metal 2014

ALESTORM EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 7 ratings
Leviathan
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Sails Over Europe
Folk Metal 2009

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 boxset & compilations

ALESTORM singles (2)

.. Album Cover
4.45 | 2 ratings
Heavy Metal Pirates
Folk Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
In The Navy
Folk Metal 2013

ALESTORM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

ALESTORM Reviews

ALESTORM Back Through Time

Album · 2011 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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

ALESTORM Back Through Time

Album · 2011 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Back Through Time is the third album from pirate themed folk/power metal band Alestorm, released in 2011. Alestorm have caused a bit of a stir in the past, particular with their 2008 debut Captain Morgan’s Revenge due to the association with so called ‘pirate metal’. Back then my voice was one of the one’s in support of them and the genre and while I wouldn’t say I am in support of the term itself these days, I still hold that out of all so called bands, Alestorm is the only one who gives it any sort of credibility, although when it boils down to it they’re a folk metal act, and the pirate metal term is as much a misnomer as ‘viking metal’ or ‘djent’. The question I was facing when it came to reviewing the band’s third effort though is if they could silence their critics and continue to produce some top quality folk/power metal that retains the element that makes Alestorm great, that element being the comedic value, obviously.

In short yes they can, in fact they do it pretty good style on one track in particular, the aptly titled Scraping the Barrel. Written with seemingly no other intent than to answer those critics in true Alestorm style, namely by telling them if they don’t like it to start their own band, and quoting their critics favourite lines such as ‘Running Wild did it back in ‘84’, the song seems to be good natured acknowledgement that they are something of a one trick pony.

Or are they? Back Through Time does actually break new ground for Alestorm. Not much, but enough to raise some eyebrows and even make their established fans sit up and wonder what in the seven seas is going on. I’m of course referring to the epic closing track, Death Throes of the Terrorsquid. This is the album’s longest song (and the band’s longest overall to date) and when I first saw the track time I was concerned that it would be too drawn out and spoilt. The concern was needless however as Death Throes of the Terrorsquid is easily one of the best things Alestorm has ever done. What seems to be lyrically a sequel to the previous album’s Leviathan, the song starts as typical Alestorm like much of the album, then as we get a way in things get really thrown up into the air and suddenly we’re listening to a symphonic black metal section, with vocals provided by guest vocalist Ken Sorceron (from Abigail Williams).

Of course the rest of the album is very typical Alestorm, and to be honest if you were convinced by either of their first two albums then I guess it’s a fair to say that typical Alestorm is what you’ll be looking for when coming to Back Through Time. A good thing as well that the album itself stands as a really strong offering. The opening title track is particularly good. With lyrics about going back through time to fight Vikings, the song seems almost a retort aimed towards Finnish act Turisas who including a song called Hunting Pirates on their recent album Stand Up and Fight. I’m probably reading too much into that, although Alestorm was quoted once in Metal Hammer magazine saying that Turisas thought they were completely childish. Other really strong tracks include Shipwrecked and The Sunk'n Norwegian. Another enjoyable piece is their cover of Stan Roger’s Barrett's Privateers, which features some guest guitar from Týr’s Heri Joensen.

In fact the only pointless moment on the whole album is the six second track Rumpelkombo. Yeah, just six seconds long. Well it’s not even that really, being mostly silence and all after a brief outburst of the song’s title. In reality it’s only one, maybe two seconds at most. Perhaps its Alestorm’s answer to Napalm Death’s You Suffer or something. Totally pointless in any case, blink and you’ll miss it, so to speak. But other than that, Back Through Time stands as the most solid Alestorm album to date, and this one track is over so fast it’s pretty much ignorable. I laugh at the pointlessness of it but I presume that was the desired result, to laugh, like everything else Alestorm have touched.

With Back Through Time Alestorm have done something that I personally didn’t think possible, making an album of better quality to their debut. Personally I was always of the opinion that the debut would be the benchmark and then there’d be diminishing returns thereafter, something that the group’s second album Black Sails at Midnight did nothing to change my mind about. Back Through Time proves me wrong though. There’s a good reason for that other than that shock black metal section in Death Throes of the Terrorsquid and consistently strong and funny material; it’s because on the folk side of things the album is a gigantic improvement on the two previous efforts. Although Alestorm can’t currently be considered as a completely authentic folk metal act with the melodies being delivered by frontman Christopher Bowes’ keyboard as opposed to real folk instruments (the album does feature use of tin whistles however), those melodies a lot better than on past works. The album, while not necessarily the sound of a band reaching maturity (this is Alestorm after all), sounds a lot more polished and professional for it. The release comes highly recommended.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 9.3/10)

ALESTORM Captain Morgan's Revenge

Album · 2008 · Folk Metal
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This album is simply epic. Pirate themed, and pirate sounding folk/power metal. It’s very easy to hear why its called pirate metal, because aside from the lyrics, frontman Christopher Bowes does actually sound like I would imagine a pirate to sound if he was singing while working onboard his ship. Take out the metal and think about it, and I can see pirates sitting around a campfire on a beach, or in some grotty tavern, singing these very entertaining songs. The Pirates of the Caribbean films could have been sound tracked by this band had they been around when the first film came out.

There is hardly any power loss through these ten songs, not even with the slower paced Nancy the Tavern Wench and the acoustic Of Treasure. The only real down point is closing track Flower of Scotland, which I found to, after a few listens of Captain Morgan’s Revenge, become boring. It’s a cover song though so I can safely safe that all the original material gets full marks. I think that they only did this song because they are a Scottish band so it’s sort of a tribute. It’s the only song on this album which doesn’t actually sound very much like a pirate singing it though, which is something of a disappointment, since it's the entertainment value what makes Alestorm really great. If you want to talk technical then it would be a fair assessment to say that the vocals here are really bad by any other standards. But within this band, they rock!

The best songs here are easily the title track, Captain Morgan’s Revenge, which is one of the most epic metal songs that I’ve heard in a long time. The lyrics to this are the sort that just need a music video going with them although sadly there’s no sign of one on the horizon yet (pun intended). I can also imagine that it would be good music to drink to, given the common reference to beer or rum in the album. Over the Seas, Terror on the High Seas and Set Sail and Conquer are all just as good as the title track. The music is really infectious, as was evident when I went to see Opeth and Arch Enemy live some time back people were singing these songs in the venue bar.

To describe Captain Morgan’s Revenge in just a single word I would have to choose ‘fun.’ This is simply one of the best metal albums written in years. As said before it has only one downer in Flower of Scotland, for which I’m forced to deduct a point from the final score of this album. But in all honestly you can just ignore that song, it’s the other nine tracks that matter. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a metal album that offers up something a bit different from the norm, or indeed an excuse to drink or go plunder.

Will Alestorm last however? Standing the test of time is only one of the ways things could go from here, just two years on (at the time of writing) from the release of Captain Morgan’s Revenge. Already there are more bands that have the pirate theme but so far Alestorm remains, for me at least, the only one that brings any some sort of credibility to this pirate metal tag that's started floating around. The other way this whole thing could go would be to fade into obscurity, which I sometimes feel may be for the best before it gets overdone and spoilt.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

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