"Sunset On the Golden Age"

By Professor Jocko

I seldom come across a band these days that has combined any possible mix of one thing or the other to come up with their own style of music. In almost every occasion, it has been done before, so I was slightly amazed when I heard the first track by Alestorm which has combined what seems to be pirate folk-lore with hard rock music. The old world feel is reminiscent of an Irish drinking song (although the band hails from Scotland), but goes deeper than that with a heavier rhythm which carries each song with a huge punch that is sure to entertain any metal fan. There aren’t as many guttural growls and speedy drumlins and shredding guitar solos here as you may expect; just heavy, good-time party tunes!

Yes the song titles are definitely a cliché pastiche of a pirate tale, with titles such as “Walk the Plank” and “Wooden Leg”, but each song has a very large sound, complimented and supported by orchestral keyboards to carry the vibe of the music. There is just so much more here than just synchronized noise, as seen with other heavier bands, but Alestorm really strives to bring in several other musical features which differ from one song to the next, as seen with the classical guitar and other miscellaneous songwriting effects.

As a singer myself, I am always more critical of the vocals first, and then other components of the band. Although the vocals don’t have much variation as far as the range is concerned, there are some very notable similarities to a punk-rock style, that goes just a little bit heavier in which lead singer Christopher Bowes reminds me of Cronos from Venom’s earlier albums that has an overall evil vibe to them.

Although this is my first experience with this particular band, I can certainly understand the huge draw of their fan base, as they are currently on a headlining tour through Europe with this, their fourth album on the appropriately titled “Pirate fest” tour. Songs such as “Drink”, “Mead From Hell” and “Hangover” will certainly appeal to the rougher metal crowds that appreciate the alcoholic element,  I would think that although this type of music does have an entertainment value, making you want to drink rum from an old leather boot, perhaps would have to be an acquired taste.