Scotland’s finest marauding metal maniacs are back! Having tired of rum, beer, quests and mead, Alestorm took some time away from their pillaging and partying to lay down a few tracks for us lucky landlubbers.
No Grave But The Sea is their latest pirate metal opus, following hot on the heels of 2014’s Sunset of the Golden Age, and wherein we may have been led to believe by that title that the band’s days of pirate anthems were over, this was not the case.
And it’s a good thing, too. In a world that’s taking itself way too seriously these days (and taking offense at everything along the way), Alestorm are the perfect band to force us to let our guards down and raise our mugs up. And raise them we do, right from the beginning of this ten-track buccaneering opus.
The title track sets the tone right out of the gate, with pummeling drums, chunky guitars, cheesy keytar, and of course the first word out of Christopher Bowes’ mouth is “quest.” A rousing, anthemic chorus pervades the song, showing us that pirate metal is alive and well.
The title track is pretty much what the rest of No Grave But The Sea is all about: rousing anthems dealing with, as mentioned, rum, beer, quests and mead. Music throughout is Alestorm’s trademark brand of Scottish folk-tinged anthemic power metal.
It’s pretty much perfect, except for the rare instances of harsh vocals such as the beginning of “Alestorm.” Production is equally up to the task, with an aggressive, over the top mix, a massive kick drum, huge solos, jaunty keytar and fiddle throughout, and gang choruses that blast you like cannon fodder.
As always, the lyrics on No Grave But The Sea are hilarious. A quick glance at the song titles (“Rage of the Pentahook,” “Fucked With An Anchor”) should alleviate any fears that Alestorm would get serious in their middle age.
Some of the best lyrics present themselves on the single “Mexico.” Case in point: “The wenches they are plenty, the alcohol is free, the party lasts all through the night, and the alcohol is free.” It doesn’t get any better, and nor do we want it to.
The folksiest song present, or at least its introduction, is “Fucked With An Anchor,” which could be a tribute to the serious folk out there who just don’t get a party band like this. And again, the lyrics are priceless and the chorus is an infectious smorgasbord of four-letter profanity. Elsewhere, tales of drinking and questing are presented on “Bar und Imbiss,” “Man the Pumps” and “Treasure Island.”
All told, No Grave But The Sea is a welcome addition to Alestorm’s booty, and it’s guaranteed to be a welcome soundtrack to the upcoming summer. My words of advice: put aside your metal pretensions, don your eyepatch, raise a bottle of rum to the sky and enjoy.
(released May 26, 2017 on Napalm Records)