Ahoy! Once again, our adventurous pirate brothers from the “dirty” seas of Scotland, ALESTORM are back! A successfully weird band that made me an instant fan just a few months ago after checking them out for the first time on tour, No Grave But the Sea is their new album (out now, Napalm Records), and it’s full of fun stories, lots of alcohol, tons of partying, a couple of gross hits and some clean singing (ugh!). Regardless of the experimental style that these pirates are known for, this album will make you smile or laugh at least two times per song. It’s sensational material to have when stupid things happen! Savvy?
ALESTORM delighted us with ten tracks for this release, totaling almost 50 minutes of completely useless brain time, but it’s fun… really fun! The opening track “No Grave But the Sea” is like a marching hymn, with a solid rocking riff and a tremendous chorus that’ll make you sail away to the blue horizon. “Mexico” is one of my favorite songs; apart from myself being Mexican, this track was featured in their past tour in North America, and describes the stereotype that my country holds. A song full of donkeys, alcohol and fiesta! “To the End of the World” brings back the keyboard effects simulating the entrance of a conqueror of the seas. I love how Christopher Bowes (lead singer, keyboards) makes his instrument sound like an accordion. It looks like it doesn’t require a lot of technique, but that’s precisely what differentiates ALESTORM from other heavier bands.
“Alestorm” is perfect for their gimmick, where they describe what a pirate needs to live. This song keeps the same mood going, and it’s also great for parties and other special occasions. “Bar und Imbiss” sounds like a raw and rotten pirate song, it slows down the rhythm a little bit, but it gives me the feeling of being abandoned in a port somewhere in Europe around the nineteenth century. “Fucked With an Anchor” is somehow a childish song, something that’s apart from the usual music that we’re used to get from ALESTORM, I can’t wait to hear this one live, but I wouldn’t deal with the metaphorical pain of being fucked with an anchor from cruel drunken pirates.
All these tracks have been very sweet so far, “Pegleg Potion” accelerates the rhythm and it makes me think of how the epic pirate battles happened back in time. One of my favorite songs from the record. “Man the Pumps” starts off with a bunch of men singing a powerful chorus, and it contains a fake portion of a violin that is very melodic. Even though it’s a slower song, it keeps the same essence of ALESTORM that I identified with and fell in love with since the first second.
“Rage of the Pentahook” sounds like a typical bar song, one of those that are only danced among men, hooked from their arms jumping around in circles forever with their beers falling on the floor. “Treasure Island” is the perfect ending for the album. I’ve always stated that all these longer epic songs that end records are amazing, they give a different touch to the entire work itself, and they basically help the release to be consolidated as a concept album, which is much better than just another record. So many ups and downs for this last song, but it’s worth to keep as a short pirate story.
ALESTORM has been one of the bands that I’ve been most impressed with since I first listened to them. With a solid spot among the ten best shows that I saw in 2016, this album doesn’t necessarily land in the top ten yet, but it’s one that I’ll make sure I carry around whenever I want to laugh out loud with dumb stuff from the everyday life. The musical creativity from this band fits perfectly with the members’ personalities and that’s what makes it special. No Grave But the Sea, give it a fair listen and I hope you can enjoy it just as much as I did… oh, and make sure you also catch ALESTORM this year during the Warped Tour. Bring an anchor and use it with the kids that will be there to kick you in the face for no reason with their morse code music. Aaaarrrrrr!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “No Grave But The Sea”, “Mexico”, “Alestorm”, “Pegleg Potion”, “Rage of the Pentahook”, “Treasure Island”