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Nicely enough, it seems Alestorm is once again making EP’s; probably to pump fans up for the new album. This isn’t all about the upcoming album, however, as we get some bonuses on the EP plus some excellent cover art for the collectors.
To begin, I better run over the line-up on here. If you look at this releases’ description page here on the Archives, you may notice that two different people recorded the guitar parts. I am pleased to inform you that both musicians manage to play the Alestorm style very well, and you shouldn’t notice much difference in the quality of the guitarwork between the tracks. Bass and drums are also very consistent, with the drums actually standing out at parts such as the bridge on the title track. Most importantly, Bowes’ “pirate vocals” are as good as ever. His gruff voice is just as it was on “Captain Morgan’s Revenge”. His keyboarding skills too, deserve recognition, as some of his best solos are found here, particularly on the title track and Wolves of the Sea. (Heavy Metal Pirates as well, but that’s older isn’t it!)
The EP begins with the title track, “Leviathan”. If you haven’t guessed already, this song is about the creature itself and how it brutally destroys a pirate crew that sets out to slay it. Easily one of Alestorm’s heaviest songs, Leviathan captures the perfect image of a stormy battle against the beast. The chorus is equally as powerful as the rest of the song, and also has a distinct sound to it, as it utilizes very heavy backing vocals, something a little uncommon. The song carries on, and eventually reaches one of those amazing operatic vocal sections followed by a soloing duel. Both the guitar and keyboard solos on this song are possibly Alestorm’s best yet, and they fit the song extremely well, which as always, makes them even more amazing. Following the solo fest, Leviathan gives us a few more choruses before closing in a grand outro.
Next up we have Alestorm’s cover (The original was by Pirates of the Sea) of Wolves of the Sea, the catchiest song on here. The abundance of “hi hi hos” and “hi hi heys” is the main reason why this is so damn catchy. Only immensely gifted or depressed people would probably be able to not get this song stuck in their head. In any case, this song is primarily a fast paced, jolly pirate anthem. There is some diversity though, such as the two-minute mark, where it slows down to a folky performance that I would define as “tavern music” that lasts for about thirty seconds. Another notable moment of diversity is before this “tavern” section, where the band adds some solos (both keyboard and guitar) that fit the song perfectly and are an excellent addition. Apart from these sections, expect tons upon tons of jolly choruses and verses.
The third track here, is a German version of Alestorm’s song, Wenches and Mead. Aside from the new language, the track is virtually the same as it was on “Captain Morgan’s Revenge”. The keyboards are still insane, and the song is as catchy as ever, even in a language most of us reviewers don’t know. This is mainly a little bonus for the fans, German especially.
Closing the EP, we have the group’s classic song, Heavy Metal Pirates. This rerecording is, in my opinion, superior to the version released on single, particularly with the keyboards. The song has as much energy as it did previously and when combined with an improved keyboard and guitar sound, we have one amazing recording.
This is definitely a great addition to Alestorm’s discography and provides plenty of material for fans and newcomers alike. I’d recommend this for any headbanger out there who wants to try something new, or already likes this group. Both the title track of this EP and Heavy Metal Pirates, are excellent introductions to the band’s incredible, symphonic pirate sound, and are incredible songs. With this, the anticipation for Alestorm’s next album is great, as Leviathan may very well be just a taste of what is to come.
It's only been a couple years since Alestorm was known as Battleheart, an easily forgotten band with only a pair of EP's to their credit and a severe lack of coverage. But when they changed their name and landed a record deal with Napalm Records in 2007, they had stumbled upon a treasure chest.
The following year, they released a powerful debut album, Captain Morgan's Revenge, full of power metal ballads about piracy, beer and wenches. The followup to that album was the release of a re-recorded version of Heavy Metal Pirates from their Battleheart EP released in 2006, marketed as a single and met with a good response.
Now, their Leviathan EP, tentatively set for a January release, has already leaked on the internet in anticipation of the coming storm. Four tracks of music concerning the high seas, Leviathan raises the bar that Captain Morgan's Revenge set.
The title track is an original composition about the mythical beast, the leviathan. True to their power metal heritage, it is filled with keyboard melodies, guitar trickery and spastic drumming. It recounts the bandcrew's journey to the creature's lair, their unsuccessful attempt to slay it for its bounty, and their subsequent demise. It is definitely the most powerful song on this EP, and rightfully so; that's why it's the title track.
Wolves Of The Sea follows it, a cover of a song by Pirates of the Sea. The song recieved attention from the media when it was entered in 2007's Eurovision contest, and this cover only intensifies its glory. A sing-a-long chorus and symphonic keyboard solo make it more sugarry then most of their other work, and it seems to delve into almost nu-metal territory around the 2:03 mark, with obviously mechanized drum machine beats and dual keyboard melodies. Nonetheless, it's a pretty good song.
Weiber Und Wein's sound may seem familiar to many people when they listen to it for the first time; and that's because it's a rerecording of the stellar song Wenches and Mead, only sung in German. Like on their debut album, it's a powerful song about chicks and drink, with all the same uber-riffing and synthesized accordion. Nothing that new, but definitely interesting.
Finally, we finish up with Heavy Metal Pirates, the 2008 single. Presented here for everyone who missed it the first two times around, it's still just as fiery and rebellious as it was when it was penned; an ode to sailing around and killing people.
Overall, this EP is almost deliriously good, bringing to mind Eluveitie's Slania mixed with DragonForce's Inhuman Rampage, with maybe a little Kai Hansen thrown into the mix. While lyrically similar to viking metal, the two genres are about as far apart as possible. This is a catchy, keyboard-based metal release that should be listened to iat a party or with some friends. Recommended for fans of Tyr, Sonata Arctica, and HammerFall; not recommended for people who sit in dark rooms listening to Sunn 0))) and cutting themselves.