Location: Perth, Scotland
Genre: Power/Pirate Metal
Released: August 1, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases
By: Kris Kotlarik
Alestorm’s latest release has all the markings of their past albums: A couple of fantastic long tracks, some good tracks that hit the mark, and a bunch of filler tracks that serve no purpose…or worse.
The early tracks would seem to mark a slight shift in direction; the opener, “Walk The Plank,” has a melodeath feel to it, while “Drink” just screams Sabaton. “Magnetic North” follows with a blend of the two in a rather effective mix. None of these songs are all that remarkable but make for good listens.
The two best short tracks are “Mead From Hell” and “Surf Squid Warfare.” Both songs are highly catchy and are worth multiple listens. On the other hand, “Quest For Ships” is a clear-cut filler, and “Wooden Leg!” is repetitive and, frankly, the most annoying song I can recall hearing in recent memory.
Or at least it was until the following song came on. Who wants to hear a cover of “Hangover?” Yes, that “Hangover.” The fact that the original even exists, much less actually became a summer anthem, is a true indicator of just how pathetic American pop culture can be. Alestorm then turned around and makes it their own (equally terrible) version, much like Children Of Bodom did with “Oops, I Did It Again.” Please, for the sake of my sanity, never do this again. I know this is Alestorm just being their cheesy selves, and I respect their process, but this just doesn’t work.
On the other hand, “1741 (The Battle Of Cartagena)” and the closing title track are both effective songs that average nearly 9:30 in length apiece. The former, aided by an unexpectedly awesome intro, is an especially spectacular track by Alestorm’s standards, and is their best song since “Chronicles Of Vengeance” off Black Sails At Midnight. The title track almost takes on a prog feel with some interesting riffs and time signatures.
Although much of this album is hit or miss, the production is solid and the use of real brass and string instruments, as evidenced on their Facebook page, is a nice touch. Also worth a listen are the bonus “Rumplugged” tracks if you acquire the limited edition version.
Overall: The only way the entire album can be replayed is if you’re drunk. Which I guess fits Alestorm’s mentality.