As a reviewer you’re always on a hiding to nothing with bands like pirate metal outfit Alestorm – bad reviewage means you’re a miserable old curmudgeon, whilst glowing plaudits might point to a certain gravitas deficit; Certainly comedy metal has it’s place, but is five albums worth of the stuff from the same outfit not pushing it a little?
I think it probably is, personally, but as the crowds continue to flock to Alestorm shows worldwide in their thousands I would appear to be in a minority on that point. So what of No Grave But the Sea? Is it, erm, a barrel of nautical laughs?
Yes and no. Musically it’s enjoyable enough; Teutonic folk/power metal romps leavened by the ever-present humour and funny noises (they’re called accordions, Ferry – Ed.) appear as ever to be the order of the day, with a bright production giving life to the instrumentation, all of which is never less than competent and often rather enjoyable, which leads this reviewer to keep thinking that a ‘proper’ album by these musicians might be something quite special. To the End of the World sounds like a slowed-down Dragonforce (a very slowed-down Dragonforce) and is probably the pick of the pack here, whilst the eponymous Alestorm has a pretty exciting verse structure but is let down by the childish chorus. And that’s largely applicable to most of the songs here. Especially the tourettes anthem Fucked With an Anchor…
So evidently either you ‘get’ Alestorm or you don’t; and whilst I do understand what they are doing here, and I fully comprehend the fact that many, many people do enjoy wearing inflatable parrots on their shoulders and shouting ‘YOHOHO!’ whenever the mood takes them, I do again question whether five albums of this stuff isn’t just a little too much of a good thing. Maybe I should stick to my old Running Wild albums.
Alestorm’s No Grave But the Sea is out now on Napalm Records. You can order it HERE