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Back Through Time - 80%

CaptainGordon_94, August 18th, 2015

Alestorm are back with another swashbuckling album that goes by the title Back Through Time. They are also sporting a new line up that consists of new bassman Gareth Murdock and new drummer Peter Alcorn.

Musically, the band is as good as ever producing pirate themed folk metal that starts immediately with title track Back Through Time which shows off this fresh lineup's skill. On this album there is a considerable amount of keyboards, much more than their previous work. This is very apparent on The Sunk'n Norwegian which is by no means a bad track (it does have a very catchy chorus) but I do miss the more guitar riff driven songs from Alestorm's debut album Captain Morgan's Revenge where the keyboards were only to add effect. The only guitar driven songs really on this record are Rum and Buckfast Powersmash. These also happen to be fairly short and even less serious than normal if that’s possible.

While obviously trying to keep the lyrical theme pirate related, they haven't really stuck to the album theme of going back through time to fight the Vikings (which I actually think is a fun and unique idea). The title track was the only song to feature this album theme. But nonetheless the lyrics are still good for example Shipwrecked where they are about a young man getting mislead into joining a crew the ultimately gets wrecked and the suffering that ensues. And on the topic of lyrics Scraping the Barrel is more of a message to Alestorm's haters rather than anything specifically pirate related.

While the majority of the tracks are fun and catchy like Midget Saw, it is a delight to see a more serious song that has a great structure, excellent use of orchestral arrangements and possibly the best lyrics of the album giving it a brilliant adventurous feeling. The song of which I speak is Death Throes of the Terrorsquid, the longest of the album and my favourite of the album.

There are a number of let downs though on this record. The songs Swashbuckled and Rumpelkombo are easily forgettable with nothing interesting in them at all. Swashbuckled is about Alestorm's pointless feud with American thrash band, Swashbuckle, who also sing about pirates. And Rumpelkombo is 6 seconds long so I don’t really even count it as a song. But the overall sound of the album has become far too jokey and alcohol fueled. This band was not a joke band when it started. Obviously a handful of boozy and silly songs on an album is good but when an entire album is solely driven by it, then it is a bit of a problem. It reminds me of Korpiklaani after the song Vodka went viral because then their next couple of albums were sloppy and were all about booze.

But at the end of the day it is still Alestorm with Christopher Bowes at the helm with his characteristic 'Yaarrrrr' style voice which lets everyone know right away what Alestorm are all about.