Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

With the Wind in their Sails - 84%

Pyrimatos, June 9th, 2011

First off, if you didn't like Alestorm and their blunt gimmick to begin with, I would STRONGLY suggest avoiding this album. By no means have the Scottish Metallers gone back on anything they have honed over the last half-decade and they make that extremely clear on the track "Scraping the Barrell". If, however, you were caught by pleasant surprise by their debut Captain Morgan's Revenge (as this one was) than do yourself a favor and grab this release immediately.

Let's face it, Black Sails at Midnight probably didn't need to happen at all. It was all well and good but it was definitely striking while the iron was hot assuming, rather fairly, that the hype was gonna die and no one would be left around. Seeing as how Austrian Death Machine was able to crank out 3 albums without dying out probably spoke to just how much metal fans are willing to put up with a gimmick in order to get good musicianship. See: Dethklok. Seeing that their fans didn't really go anywhere, they took their time for a PROPER follow-up.

And boy WHAT a gimmick. Not a single track on here is void of some pirate-theme. Even when breaking the fourth wall to discuss alcohol, friends or critics its still under the guise of piracy and is made to be as unclear just who the true voice in Alestorm is. Doesn't really matter cause the stories aren't exactly enthralling, its just pure fun. I don't think they gave anyone the impression otherwise. Literally every song on the album is meant to be a drinking song. They are full of horns, fiddles, accordions (live ones now) and plenty of gang vocals as seen in chant-a-long anthems like The Sunk'n Norweigan, Shipwrecked or Barrett's Privateers (a Stan Rogers cover for all you Canadians).

And with the extra time, Chris Bowes and friends added quite a few tricks to their power metal. Running Wild is still the basis of inspiration but there are way more folk influences which are mashed up with quite a bit of thrash and, dare I say, death metal. Buckfast Powersmash for example has enough folksy accordian to blow the sawdust right out of the tavern before it thrashes right out in the chorus. Rum is a heavy drinking song that will put Finntroll to shame and the blast beats that open up the title track are straight out of Gothenburg's playbook.

The major issue with the album is its very NOW. It is not timeless by any means. It is certainly well written and well performed its just a big issue with bands that lean this heavily on a subject and style. 10-15 years down the road its hard to imagine pirates being as vogue as they are right now. So long as no copycats spring up, this shouldn't be a huge issue. The other issue is the closing track. Alestorm is not built for epics and they have proved this time and time again. If it was 3 minutes shorter, there'd be no issue, but it just overstays its welcome. At least its at the end.

The real winning factor however is the fact that there is no filler. The cover is well chosen (covers if you get the special edition which I recommend), the ballad is necessary and even the lyrics have some relative diversity (I mean the title track is about pirates travelling back in time to murder vikings). It is what Black Sails should have been and speaks wonders as to what they can truly offer, and if you get a chance: see them live. This is good music but its much more contextual when you have a physical mug of ale to chant a long with. Highly recommended.

Playlist Tracks: Buckfast Powersmash, Barrett's Privateers, Back Through Time
Throwaway Tracks: Rumpelkombo, Death Throes of the Terrorsquid