Coming to a new Alestorm album reminds me of an episode of the American reality television show Bar Rescue, where bar specialist John Taffer saves a family bar from imminent financial destruction. In "Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Dumb," the first episode of the second season, Taffer attempts to rescue a pirate themed bar called Piratz. It doesn't go well. The food and drink are shit, and the owners and employees dress up in pirate clothing, but look more like cheap Renaissance Fair rejects. One employee, when asked about Piratz, states that, "This isn't just a bar", and then growls, "It's a baarrgh!"
Well, Alestorm is not merely a power metal band, they're a pirate power metal band, and damn proud of it. Tales of high and stormy seas, ships and battles, one-legged ornery sea captains with a parrot on his shoulder, and massive alcohol consumption await your ears on their fourth album, Sunset on the Golden Age.
With the melodic power metal they throw in enough folk and symphonic elements and gang vocals to make a every song sound like a drinking song. You can just see them standing around a chest of booty, with their loyal fans, hoisting wooden mugs of of hellish mead, foamy beer, and rusty rum. A hangover awaits every performance as many songs involve drinking including the appropriate Drink, Mead From Hell, and Hangover.
But here's the thing: whatever you may think of the pirate theme, cheesy or just plain dumb, Alestorm are quite good at what they do. The power metal is swift and melodic, the groove self-evident, the vocal harmony buccaneer raspy yet clean, the refrains catchy, and the guitar leads sharp. What more could you ask for, except that Alestorm doesn't allow it to get old or redundant. There's the rub. For fans, who likely dress for a concert in their own pirate gear, this will never get old. Others may find it a novelty, something transitory and of passing appeal. Whatever. It is some fun though.
Here's the thing: whatever you may think of the pirate theme of their power metal, cheesy or just plain dumb, Alestorm are quite good at what they do.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]