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Black Sails at Midnight

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(6 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I wanted to be a pirate BEFORE it was cool!

    That said, when I first saw the words “Pirate Metal” I thought it was a joke. Then I groaned “here comes another dumb metal band that is trying to sell their inferior music by marketing to a particular class of people who will buy anything that is related to their fetish”. Well, being one of those people, I bought it thinking I would at least get a good laugh out of it. I was pleasantly surprised!

    The guitar solos are impressive, the music is invigorating, and the accordion-synth is a refreshing touch. My favorite track is “Leviathan” which is almost as epic and grand as the beast itself. The vocals are a double-edged sword: the singer sounds like a real scurvy sea-dog, but we all know they can’t sing. The music is not as interesting as that of bands with a similar folk or power-metal sound, but it is good enough to have a place in your collection.

    Posted on January 30, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Exactly as the title states if you enjoy anything Pirate related and also like rock or metal you will enjoy this cd. Some of the catchiest lyrics I have heard from a metal album and just great themes to this music. This is also one of the fun-nest cds I have purchased in a long time. I am now an Alestorm fan and Captain Morgan’s Revenge is ordered and on it’s way.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Brand new second album from Scottish folk metal band “Alestorm” , a follow up to their 2008 debut. After a handful of line up changes the band now consists of guitarist Dani Evans, Gareth Murdock on bass, drummer Ian Wilson plus founding member and bandleader Christopher Bowes on Lead vocals and keys.

    Although the press labels them as Folk metal this probably comes closer to Pirate-inspired Power Metal as “Black Sails…” is nothing but full of speeding tempo and double bass drums. Still the album overall incorporates a respectable amount of folk elements such as lead violins and trumpets authentically recorded by guest musicians.

    All songs are pirate tale centered with Bowes impersonating in a convincing manner the pirate singer-narrator. At the same time his keys undertake the accordion sound for the biggest part of the album delivering all the predictable but unavoidable pirate melodies one expects to hear from this sort of release. Still for a metal release some would demand more individuality on the guitar tracks. The guitars are actually heavy and consistent throughout yet for the biggest part they just accompany the keyboard parts and solos instead of being the primary source of melody for the group (still there are quite a few good if short guitar solos on this).

    There are unquestionably heavier straight riff based songs on “Black Sails…” namely the title track yet the overall impression is that this is a relatively easy listener that could be even enjoyed by people outside the Power metal fan base who simply enjoy pirate stories.

    On the other hand, power metal fans might find this relatively light for their taste or nowhere near the shredding medium expected from Power metal groups.

    In any case “Alestorm” demonstrate a fair amount of originality and the overall atmosphere in the UK, so far, is rather encouraging towards their brand of metal.

    Furthermore this particular edition of the album (Brown cover with emblem) is very good value for money as the second disc is a live DVD including the full 8 track set of the band’s 2008 appearance at W.O.A. (professionally shot & recorded)

    Power Play UK magazine (issue 110) marks this album with 8/10 commenting: “‘Black Sails’ is a very good album… buy this, go see them.”

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Scotland’s Alestorm are back with their second full-length and like the first one, it’s great! The folksy elements blend right in with straight-on metal and Christopher Bowes sings just like a pirate! ARRR! If you bought the Leviathan EP, you have a taste of this album as the songs Leviathan and Wolves of the Sea are here. Keelhauled and That Famous Ol’ Spiced will have you singing pirate anthems in no time. Alestorm just did a video for Keelhauled too! The DVD is also worth it. You can see Alestorm perform most of their first album Captain Morgan’s Revenge! A purchase doesn’t get any better than this! If you like Manowar, the best elements of Skyclad and the pirate backdrop, get this!

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is the production and package that Alestorm was waiting for. Having become something of a cult band, they’re now faced with proving whether or not they can make a run of this thing rather than a novelty. And, in my opinion, they’ve done it; this cd solidifies all things pirate metal. They’ve ratcheted things up a bit on the metal side of things. “The Quest,” “Leviathan,” “That Famous Ol’ Spiced,” “Black Sails at Midnight,” and “Chronicles of Vengeance” are all solid metal tunes. There is a much sharper hard rock edge to all of this than on the two previous collections. The songwriting is better, and the band has found newer ways to complement Bowes’s keyboard work; in “The Quest,” for instance, the song starts with awesome guitar riff work and then the keyboards highlight the scale progression to great effect; and then they switch, with the guitar work returning the keyboard’s call. “Keelhauled,” “No Quarter,” and “Pirate Song” bring back a lot of the theatricality that got them noticed in the first place. But there’s no better opening to a song as of this writing than the nostalgic opening of “Keelhauled”; so the theatricality is balanced with both great musicianship and metal elements. And where before you had to buy into the humor of this band to allow yourself to enjoy them, this cd is keeping the fun but adding some seriousness and maturity to the whole show. “To The End of Our Days” is a philosophical song about the pirate life and death. And if there’s one guy who’s making a name for himself through this whole project, it’s Christopher Bowes. His musicianship with a guitar-strapped keyboard is amazing. And the production on this cd is finally excellent. That helps the band quite a bit. I was surprised that the band re-recorded two songs, “Leviathan” and “Wolves of the Sea.” I’m assuming it was because of the better production and the fact that there are a lot of fans newly discovering Alestorm what with large metal festival appearances (Wacken, Bloodstock, etc.) and they wanted to give those newer fans a chance to hear two classics (it’s still weird; the ep they originally appeared on is hard to find, but they`ve all been added to bonus edition of Captain Morgan’s Revenge that is not hard to find). The dvd in the limited edition is priceless. You get to see these guys put on a show. There’s a lot of pirate banter among the group and the crowd (a lot of mosh pitting for a pirate band, I thought; these guys get mosh pits like the big bands, somehow), but the thing that holds it together is their musicianship. Just when you think it’s all “Arrrrr” call-back games between the group and audience, Christopher Bowes rips through keyboard solos like no one I’ve heard since Dennis DeYoung (and nobody I’ve heard in metal); Ian Wilson and Gareth Murdock do a bass-drum solo that’s awesome. Dani Evans, cool in his dreadlocks, does the job on the guitar. I’ve heard better, but he’s better than I first gave him credit for just listening to the cds; he comes across better live. As to packaging, we’ve gone from corny on the first two cds to, finally, a very cool cover. The front of the cd package is cool, but the same Captain Morgan picture is found in its full color glory on the front of the insert to much greater effect. Tired of seeing bands simply repeat pictures throughout an insert, the interior illustrations of various characters in new stances was refreshing. If you’re a fan, you’ll be quite pleased with this (though curious about the re-recordings); if you’re new, I’ll just say this is the most unique and trailblazing metal out there. It stands up folks, even with the yo-ho-hos and talk of making ba**ards and landlubbers walking the plank. Get this limited edition while you have a chance.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now