Review Summary: AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRe these guys serious?
Pirates have become hot again. Certain films starring one Johnny Depp have rekindled the interest in the forgotten genre some time ago, and law-breaking marauders were suddenly all over the place. The annual Talk like a Pirate Day, for example, which was founded almost 40 years ago, became popular as hell in recent years. People started associating pirates with only positive images. The lads consume copious amounts of rum, sing lots of ‘yo oh oh’s, sail the endless oceans as free men, not bound by law, and can plunder and pillage as they wish. Being a pirate, therefore, is awesome.
It is not difficult to see then, why Scottish band Alestorm
would so very much like to be pirates. The reason is simply the above paragraph. This band is hopping on the piracy bandwagon and hope to achieve some success by pirating away through the form of music. While it is quite possible they may have thought they were the first ones to do it, their musical concept is not quite original. Our German friends Running Wild
already recorded a piraty concept album called Black Hand Inn
more than 15 years ago (1994, to be exact), so yes, they may have ripped off Ze Germans. But really, do we care? After all, pirates are awesome. Therefore, music about pirates is equally awesome.
Especially when that music comes in the form of power/folk metal. ARRRRRR! It is difficult, these days, finding any sense of originality in the mostly chewed-out power and folk metal subgenres. Black Sails at Midnight
is prime proof of this issue. The record, and the band as a whole, comes off as one big hoax. The idea of ‘pirate metal’ is already too silly too work in theory, but Alestorm doesn’t seem to be putting in any actual effort. Every aspect of the band’s music is flawed. The so-called ‘folk’ melodies sound incredibly fake. The album’s material sounds more like a half-assed, soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean
than anything else. The typical power metal riffs are both dated and repetitive, and only worsened by a annoyingly present keyboard section that tries so hard to be epic but ends up being the epitome of cheese instead. With such an awful instrumental backing, you will pray for the vocals to be better off, but no. Front figure and creative leader Christopher Bowes (who is already responsible for the horrible keyboard section) has got neither power nor charisma in his voice. Obviously trying to live up to the Jari Mäenpää’s of our generation, his weak Scottish-accented squabble is a bore to list to. The question remains simply: can Alestorm get anything
Sadly enough, no, they cannot. I bet there is hundreds of pirate-obsessed kids who might love this kind of thing, but any well-respected music fan will give this an immediate pass. This whole failure of an album doesn’t detract anyhow from the reputation of pirates, of course. Pirates are still, indeed, very awesome. Alestorm just isn’t.