Alestorm – Sunset On The Golden Age

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Review by Gary Cordwell

Napalm Records

Release date: 4 August 2014

Gather round boys, and let me tell ye a tale of a time when rock pirates sailed the seas, a time when men wore keytars and did battle with alien, sea farin’ cephalopods. Who knows how it began… ‘Leviathan’ by Mastodon mayhaps, or The Pistols and their ‘Friggin in the Riggin’, or maybe even further back to the time of The Monkees (Davy Jones was in the band, geddit? (Ed: yes, sadly)). All I knows is that in the year of twenty and fourteen our heroes cast anchor and set off to plunder the world, armed only with plentiful supplies of rum and their fourth album… no word of a lie has passed my lips, I swear to ye!

Who would have thought they’d get to album four but they have, and they’ve even brought a few new tricks to the table. Things kick off predictably enough with barrelling riffs, shouty choruses, much rolling of r’s (no sniggering) and tales of piraty stuff – drinking, plank walking, more drinking etc. But then things get serious… well, as serious as things get in Alestorm’s alternate universe. ‘1741 (The Battle Of Cartagena)’ begins with an odd, Pacman electronic intro and we’re off into a mini epic which includes ‘movements’, huge portentious riffs, brief growly death metal vocals and quotes from ‘Gladiator’. Impressively bonkers stuff!

Silliness then returns with ‘Mead From Hell’ which features yet more pillaging of alcohol – honestly, do they ever buy a round? And then things get really weird. You may remember the Pirates vs. Vikings epic of ‘Back Through Time’ from their last album? Well this time they’re travelling into the future to save us from undead squids from space who will, ahem, “smash our face”. Then we gallop into the punky thrash of ‘Wooden Leg’ which manages to gleefully offend Spaniards and, erm… ninjas and thence, the masterstroke! A band already known for their interesting cover versions tackle – no, honestly they do – ‘Hangover’ by Taio Cruz. It’s genius! And the pirate rapping is truly a thing of greatness. The band then change course and head into deeper, darker waters for the 11 and a half minute title track, a paean to the dying days of pirating’s golden age which manages to rock like a beast and be quite moving at the same time. Let’s hope these rogues aren’t planning on sailing off into that sunset quite yet.

I knew they had it in them! Being this daft takes smarts and underneath the floppy shirts and mounds of empty rum bottles is a bloody good folk metal band! You don’t need me to tell you whether or not you should buy an Alestorm album and although it won’t quite make my list of Desert Island Dics (or should that be Treasure Island discs, geddit? (Ed: okay, enough now) it’s tremendous fun and a ticket for this Octobers ‘Pirate  Fest’ gigs has got to be worth a few pieces of eight. Sorry, I have to do this… ah haaaarr!!

Alestorm – Sunset On The Golden Age7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Walk The Plank
  2. Drink
  3. Magnetic North
  4. 1741 (The Battle Of Cartagena)
  5. Mead From Hell
  6. Surf Squid Warfare
  7. Quest For Ships
  8. Wooden Leg!
  9. Hangover
  10. Sunset On The Golden Age