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A great EP to start 2009 with - 95%

vargvikernes2, January 2nd, 2009

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 band\crew'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.