(CD, Napalm Records 2020)
Music is a wonderful thing as it can pretty much fit whatever mood you find yourself in. On top of this, it can easily turn tables for you when you’re feeling down. For me, Metal has been a constant companion and has never left my side, no matter the occasion. I’m aware that this is a strange way to start an album presentation, but some decades ago, I may have discredited ALESTORM for ‘making fun of my favorite music’. You see, back in the day, I used to be extremely defensive (or offensive for that matter) against anything that felt hostile to my Metal. Anyways, my thinking has evolved since then (my taste for music hasn’t though), and now, I am free to enjoy the funnier side of Metal without feeling guilty... During these strange and often dark days, spinning “Curse Of The Crystal Coconut” kept my smile on throughout its 44 minutes.
“Treasure Chest Party Quest” can be considered as a ALESTORM-characteristic groovy song with captain Bowes’ Scottish singing on the helm (or on the ship’s wheel), serving the humoristic Pirate lyrics that have on the same sentence the words ‘Lamborghini’ and flintlock... Interestingly enough, the album opener reminded of two bands; ANVIL with Christopher’s singing style carrying a Lips style, and then the dancing-along side of SKYCLAD the moment the violin kicks in. Weird combination, right? And it will get weirder because I will add DROPKICK MURPHYS on the mix, and this reference gains traction through the accordion mood-lifting melodies. In fewer words, this song will get your mood up, no matter how hard you are willing to resist. In fact, the MURPHYS elements drop anchor with “Fannybaws” and I can already imagine the mosh-pit shifting gears into dancing. The first song that gained more air-time during the first album spins is “Chomp Chomp” with the nice guitar riff and the faster tempo that will get you headbanging-hungry. FINNTROLL’s Vreth does some co-singing in this one as ALESTORM set sail for Folk waters. I am sure the song sequence was chosen carefully to throw the listener off-balance; I mean, after the heavier “Chomp Chomp” it is time for “Tortuga” to go… Rap / Hip Hop on you… Well, almost, but the sure thing is that this number is strange at first because the more you listen to it, the more you find yourself singing / rapping along “tortuuuuuga...” and note the ALESTORM let RUMAHOY’s Captain Yarrface to board the weather beaten ship for additional fun. You may spot some SLIPKNOT riff / electronic bits to make the mix more challenging for your Metal taste. Hold your horses though and do not get anxious to make ALESTORM walk the plank because the Metal elements quickly return with fair winds and following seas along the band’s Scottish course, with “Call Of The Waves” giving some air-time to the bass before turning the spotlight on the nice guitar leads and an awesome guitar solo. In case you did not have enough of my extensive use or references, then the Punk-ish “Shit Boat (No Fans)” with some GWAR-like lyrics will definitely seal the deal. Of course, there can be no pirate with the appropriate drinking song, and “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew” doing exactly this, is a strong candidate for live shows, especially close to the end where sweat and beer cannot be told apart... In fact, a live setting is the natural habitat for ALESTORM and this album has the proper ingredients to make a concert go down like cold ale after a long sea storm to wash away the salt.
Following the ALESTORM tradition, “Wooden Leg Pt. 2 (The Woodening)” checks the box for the longest track on the record; brace yourself because the Black Metal start may throw you overboard... aside from being the longest song, it is also the heaviest one with the guitars and the fast tempo on the forefront. Of course, there is some Keytar action too, but overall this is a real headbanger although it does feel strange when you start noticing what the lyrics are talking about... A Spaniard from Japan? Why not? After all, hearing Kaelhakase and Tatsuguchi doing the narration, makes (some) sense.
Will you drop the anchor or will you set sail for another spin of “Curse Of The Crystal Coconut”? I am gravitating towards the second option and, in fact, this will be my choice any time I start feeling blue and yearn some concert action that for the time being has been lost into the horizon. I wonder when will we shout ‘concert ahoy’ to warn our fellow metalheads?
PS: I wonder; how zombies can eat a pirate ship?
01. Treasure Chest Party Quest
03. Chomp Chomp
05. Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship
06. Call Of The Waves
07. Pirate’s Scorn
08. Shit Boat (No Fans)
09. Pirate Metal Drinking Crew
10. Wooden Leg Pt. 2 (The Woodening)
11. Henry Martin
Christopher Bowes - Vocals, Keytar
Gareth Murdock - Bass
Mate Bodor - Guitar
Peter Alcorn - Drums
Elliot Vernon - Keyboards