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.”