Alestorm - Captain Morgan's Revenge
Napalm Records
Scottish Pirate Metal
10 songs (41:36)
Release year: 2008
Alestorm, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Ross
Surprise of the month
Captain Morgan’s Revenge - Been there, done that! But that’s talking about the morning after the night before knocking back Captain Morgan’s Dark Rum straight from the bottle. This Captain Morgan’s Revenge is the debut album from Scottish Metal Pirates Alestorm. Originally named Battleheart (UK) they did a good job peddling their rather more Deathlier Metal around the Scottish Metal Scene but had to change their name to Alestorm when they signed to Napalm Records so as not to get confused with label-mates Battlelore. They’d also changed tack somewhat and turned to playing Pirate Metal. And before y’all go “Ahh, like Running Wild” – NO! Running Wild, in my opinion, have songs about beer swilling, shagging and having a good time; with the occasional song about pirates flung in (Cos Pirates know all about beer swilling, shagging and having a good time). But, and more important, they didn’t sing like pirates, just about Pirates. Alestorm not only have songs about Pirates but sing them like what Pirates would sing them. And that, me hearties, is what puts Alestorm in a class of their own.

Alestorm are Christopher Bowes – Vocals and Keyboard (Keytaur); Gavin Harper – Guitars; Dani Evans – Bass and Ian Wilson – Drums. At the time of writing they have just finished touring with Norther and Turisas and have gained many fans along the way. Unfortunately I missed their show when they came to Edinburgh but all the Metalheads I’ve spoken to who were at the gig said it was a brilliant night. Word of their brand of Pirate Metal spread as the tour progressed and the number of revellers turning up in Pirate gear brandishing plastic cutlasses grew at each gig. This mixed with Turisas fans dressing up as Viking must have made for a spectacular sight. Add to that Norther’s unique blend of Blackened Melodic Death Folksy Metal you had yourself an unbeatable spread of aural and visual delight that should have had something to please every Metalhead that had parted with their hard earned dosh to catch this show. Whoever had the idea of these bands touring together is a genius as, from what I’ve been hearing, the showmanship and stage presence of the bands whipped the crowd into a metal frenzy.

Of course, there are always those who take their music far too serious. You can tell who they are at gigs; they’re usually the ones standing at the side or back of the venue with their arms folded looking like they really want to be somewhere else. For these people Alestorm aren’t gonna float their boat; and if you think Beatallica should be publicly flogged for their audacity in creating something humourus from two legendary bands, then again Alestorm is probably not for you. No, bands such as Alestorm are for people like me who grow old disgracefully, want non-thinking music – something that brightens your day and entertains. You want to go to one of their gigs and act like a loony, have a swordfight with some other numpty with a plastic cutlass, and come away from the gig going “Ooh ar, Jim lad”.

The songs on Captain Morgan’s Revenge are mostly mid to quick tempo that you can rock back and forth to whilst banging your mug of mead off the table, with a shitload of memorable choruses. There are a number of keyboard and guitar solos throughout; though I must say that the guitar solos are mostly of the ‘Look what I can do’ variety that are just a bit of guitar widdley-wankery bolted on that aren’t really connected to the song structure. Being their debut album, I’m sure that this will improve as the band mature and Gavin Harper gets into the Pirate Metal groove and shucks off his Death Metal mindset. The keys solos, with their accordion sound, fit in a lot better with the music. Of note, the intro to the title track Captain Morgan’s Revenge is shreddingly spine-tingling before calming down to typical Sea-Shanty style that I feel is gonna be Alestorm’s anthem that fans are going to be baying for at every gig. Other noteworthy tracks are Of Treasure; an acoustic shanty with penny whistle and Jew’s Harp, The Huntmaster; a rip roaring tale of bravery and ale, Nancy the Tavern Wench; about a drinking den of debauchery, violence and sin which sounds like it was written in honour to either The Path Tavern in Kirkaldy or The West Port Bar in Dundee, well known Metal haunts of the Metal Community of East Central Scotland.

The album finishes with a rendering of the ‘Unofficial’ Scottish National Anthem Flower Of Scotland. It would have been the Official National Anthem but was nixed by parliament, which at the time sat in London, England, because it was thought as being insensitive to the English because it sings of the hammering they got at the Battle Of Bannockburn! Anyone who has watched the Mel Gibson Film Braveheart and you remember right at the end when Scots went “Fuck it!” and charged the ‘Proud Edward’s Army’ who thought they were in for some ass-kissing; well, that’s what Flower Of Scotland is about. Yet it’s alright for British National Anthem to refer to Englishman General Wade crushing the Scots; and I quote Verse 6:

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

I mention this because I’ve read a few Captain Morgan’s Revenge reviews where the significance of Flower Of Scotland was completely overlooked. In fact, I’ve only seen it in one other review and that was just to say it was a cover song. There is a clip on You Tube recorded at the Alestorm gig in Edinburgh on 03 March 2008 where the band played Flower Of Scotland and the crowd sung; have a listen here Flower Of Scotland and you can bet your ass everyone in the room was bawling the words at the top of their lungs! Now that’s Patriotism!!!

If you’re looking to check out some tracks from Captain Morgan’s Revenge there are four tracks on their My Space site and a few videos, some good quality, some not on You Tube. Personally I like Captain Morgan’s Revenge but like bands such as Turisas, Korpiklaani and Goat The Head, to get the full impact they need to be seen and heard live. Nevertheless, I like to play this album in the car, keeps the road-rage at bay and stops me flipping-off fuckwit drivers, it’s been on my mp3 player for yonks which makes walking the dog that bit more pleasurable. It’s just one of those albums that brightens your day and is gonna be on my playlist for a long time to come; well, at least until their next album!
Killing Songs :
Captain Morgan's Revenge, The Huntmaster, Nancy The Tavern Wench, Of Treasure, Flower Of Scotland
Ross quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Alestorm that we have reviewed:
Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age reviewed by Andy and quoted 72 / 100
Alestorm - Back Through Time reviewed by Jaime and quoted 73 / 100
Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight reviewed by Kyle and quoted 78 / 100
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