Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Alestorm: More Storm Than Ale
I feel compelled to write about the new Alestorm CD simply because, well, the band has “ale” in its name. And the fact that they are “Scottish pirate metal.” Talk about your narrow categories. Can’t be more than a couple bands willing to claim allegiance to that microgenre.
While I’ve definitely listened to some of the European bands of this ilk—the ones that dress funny and utilize folk instruments to augment the standard metal lineup—I can’t say that I’m a huge fan. (And, seriously, is this just my American bias, but who exactly is?)
Nonetheless, I hoist my, uh, flagon of ale in salute to these dudes for their jolly metal songs of drinking (“That Famous Ol’ Spiced”) and piracy (“Keelhauled”). The best part of this advance promo CD, graciously provided by Napalm Records, are the voiceovers done by the singer—“Yaarrr, you’re listening to the new Alestorm album, Black Sails at Midnight…remember, piracy is a crime”—at the beginning of several tracks to prevent the album from being "pirated" by unscrupulous journalists (and whoever else receives these) via the Interweb.
I can't help but feel like I’m getting mixed messages here. On the one hand Alestorm seem to be promoting piracy, and on the other they condemn it. Very confusing.
But seriously, Black Sails at Midnight is actually a good listen. Alestorm’s only nod to folk/pagan metal are keyboards (a keytar, no less!) that occasionally sound like an accordion or horns or strings. And after a few too many pints of Wee Heavy, I could actually see myself yo-ho-hoing along to “Wolves of the Sea.”