Contrary to what fellow self-proclaimed “Pirate Metal” band Alestorm do with their music, Swashbuckle take an entirely tongue-in-cheek approach to the concept of plundering, drinking ale, and murdering unsuspecting cruise ship vacationers. Their music itself is serious enough, blending comical interludes with a melodic, heavy, and oh-so satisfying thrash metal sound complete with raspy, yelled vocals and almost punk-like shouting. However, the beauty in New Jersey thrash band Swashbuckle’s second album Back To The Noose
is its ability to make you have fun with their music, regardless of how serious you approach it.
Heavy, crushing power chords meets tropical, upbeat acoustic tracks, melted with a little bit of satire really make this album so downright enjoyable. This 21-track romp through all things pirate is certainly laughable, there is no doubt in that, but when you put all that aside the music is surprisingly good. There are epic moments, such as the last minute to “Scurvy Back” when a melodic guitar lead backs chanting and some downright awesome harsh vocals courtesy of their vocalist Admiral Nobeard, who looks a hell of a lot like film producer Peter Jackson. There are also plenty of heavier, more serious moments: there are multiple guitar solos throughout the album, a few breakdowns, and lots of heavy, chord-laden riffs which gets you up and headbanging.
In between the legitimate metal tracks there are numerous instrumentals and skits which set the mood, however goofy that may be, for the next track. The most memorable one is “Rime Of The Haggard Mariner”, an obvious play on the Iron Maiden song “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”. It sets the stage for the single, “Cruise Ship Terror”, in a hilarious way, containing narrative which everyone should hear just for the laugh value. On the contrary, some instrumentals such as “The Tradewinds” take themselves rather seriously with respect to the rest of the album, and provide an enjoyable experience with an altogether different theme than any other metal you’ll listen to.
You can’t really talk about pretentiousness when you talk about Back To The Noose
, because there simply is none. These guys aren’t really taking themselves seriously in the first place, and are just out to have some fun. They certainly achieve that and more with their latest album, which is an undeniably entertaining album. It’s musically solid, the atmosphere is about is awesome as it’s ever going to get with “Pirate Metal”, and it just a great album to put on with your buddies before subsequently getting drunk and causing mayhem.
When a band does a thrash metal cover of the Spongebob Sqaurepants theme (these guy really did on their last album “Crewed By The Damned”), you know that you’re in for something unique.