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Alestorm > Voyage of the Dead Marauder > Reviews > Ex00m2Cons00m
Alestorm - Voyage of the Dead Marauder

Context-Needed Snack-Sized Fun - 92%

Ex00m2Cons00m, April 2nd, 2024

It's a bit of a bold move from a band seven albums deep in to their career to release a brand-new studio EP. Why not a full length? They did covers on the special editions of their album "Back Through Time", so why an EP now?

Context is quite crucial here, and it becomes more understanding once you dig into the track listing. The opening title track is clearly written with Patty Gurdy's hurdy gurdy in mind, and she sings the entire lead vocals in the chorus. This is a step in a very slightly different direction. Very much sounds like an Alestorm song, but the new instrument and female vocals being so woven in to the song is something new. This would be an odd move for a full-length album, but on a fun little EP, this is a good choice. The song is fantastic, too. Strongly written, expertly played, and worthy of several repeats.

The song "Uzbekistan" is a highly ironic knee-slapper, but more so Alestorm by the numbers. They make it stand out mildly with more harsh vocals and a very heavy synth breakdown containing edited guitars that sounds like it makes fun of those overproduced crabcore bands from the early 2010s. It feels like a third installment or a spiritual successor to the band's previous songs such as "Mexico" and "Come to Brazil". Maybe they should dub it the 'geographical trilogy'. Lyrically, one could tell this track was highly inspired lyrically by the next track on this EP, "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate", a cover song by comedy group The Arrogant Worms. Singing about sailing and piracy in an area of land seriously lack in any kinds of bodies of water.

The two cover songs are next, the previously mentioned "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" and the RuneScape tune "Sea Shanty 2" gel together incredibly well. "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" is probably the catchiest track Alestorm has ever recorded. It's a serious earworm tune that fits perfectly right before the nostalgic "Sea Shanty 2" instrumental. At barely two minutes, I can't help but smile when I hear it. It's so dead-simple and charming. The 8-bit synth intro was a brilliant move for covering a retro video game track.

The closing track "Cock" was inspired by a Reddit post about an Alestorm fan having a dream about the band releasing a song with said title, with a specific line in the chorus. Christopher Bowes wrote it rather quickly upon reading the thread himself and posted it as an unlisted YouTube video. The version of the song on this EP is the full band's recording. It's a short, silly, low-brow song that's even shorter than the song before it. It seats as a third piece somewhere between the songs "Rumpelkombo" and "Wooden Leg!". Like these songs could all be neighbours. It's pure Scottish silliness and slang. It's purposely a filler track, but that's the charm of it. Sounding like an afterthought of random profanities over a chorus that sounds like some drunkard came up with it on the spot at a pub. They hit the nail on the head with that one.

Sonically, it's the expected super-clean production Lasse Lamert has done for the band for well over a decade now. Quiet drums, non-intrusive guitars, and a complimentary bass tone to allow the folky keys and chanting choruses to shine through. It's one of their cleanest sounding releases.

With knowledge that these songs have their own unique backstories that wouldn't fit in the context of a full length album, releasing these together as an EP was the right choice. A very non-serious band sailing in to slightly different, but even sillier territory deserved its own special release. This is the equivalent of buying a bag of chocolate pieces at a corner store. Is it the healthiest, wisest purchase? No. Is it fun and tasty? Goddamn right it is. Well done, Alestorm. Well done.