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Alestorm
Captain Morgan's Revenge
Type: CD
Company: Napalm
Release: 208
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: Etiam
Published: 1/6/2011
The sagas feel a little hollow
In 'Captain Morgan's Revenge', replete with sensational cover art and a perfectly illustrative name, Alestorm arrived at just the right time to capitalize on the pirate metal craze that has swept the seven seas. This 2008 maiden voyage parallels another fantasy metal mish-mash: the 2004 rise of Turisas, who made the most of epic Viking metal as it reached a peak. Crucially, after their debut Turisas reoriented, matured, and branched out on 'The Varangian Way', ensuring an enduring relevance and arguably substantiating their back catalogue by association. Without this progress, their debut 'Battle Metal' would have still been a fine record, but may not have aged too well once the metal warriors who rallied to its banner began to trade in their real axes for stringed ones.

Alestorm face a similar conundrum, with one major disadvantage: 'Captain Morgan's Revenge' isn't all that great to start with. Beneath the bombast of keyboard-laden choruses and ribald pirate verses, the sagas feel a little hollow, the arrangements staid. Some tracks, such as 'Captain Morgan's Revenge', hint otherwise and show flashes of real metal intensity, and then settle back into the same campy refrains. This would be easier to endure if their spin on the source material was especially clever, but as with many bands that incorporate (even fake) folk instrumentation and rhythms, the underlying songwriting is somewhat bland. Although Alestorm's axeman Gavin Harper makes some embellishing efforts--his ribald harmonics especially leap out--overall it is too satisfied with the same patterns and bouncy chord progressions from one song to another. Even if the production is generally good, the drums are too tight and modern to be 'piratey', and the gruff vocals of Christopher Bowes are pushed too far forward in the mix. While this does make it easier to follow along with his tales of ramshackle adventure, but it also lays bare his shortcomings as a vocalist.

One album of this will titillate audiences, drawing in fans from Pirates of the Caribbean to Running Wild without eliciting much ire from landlubbers. What's more, one could argue that true measure of Alestorm's success is not groundbreaking genius, but rather simple fun. And 'Captain Morgan's Revenge' is that, to be sure. But will anyone singing along now still care in five years, when the next 20-something male trope--Ninja or Zombie metal--is all the rage? Doubtful. 'Captain Morgan's Revenge' made a nice splash, but Alestorm will have to prove they're more than a gimmick if they hope to avoid a retirement as a Renaissance Faire sideshow.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ALESTORM
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Black Sails At MidnightAlestorm
2009
Raising Iron6/16/2009
Captain Morgan's RevengeAlestorm
208
Etiam1/6/2011
LeviathanAlestorm
2009
Raising Iron2/9/2009
No Grave But The SeaAlestorm
2017
David Loveless8/15/2017
Sunset On the Golden AgeAlestorm
2014
T. Ray Verteramo9/12/2014


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ALESTORM

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ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ALESTORM
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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