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Review: Alestorm - Captain Morgan's Revenge
Captain Morgan's Revenge

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 41:31
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: February 4, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
Captain Morgan's Revenge

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (36 Votes)

True Scottish Pirate Metal is the tag Alestorm go by, and I guess it could be true, but these guys are really no Running Wild in terms of scurvy, sea-shantying pirate madness. Having a vocalist that is akin to a bored Chris Boltendahl and writing blatant pirate odes does not a band of pirates make. Oh, they sound pretty pirate-y I guess, but without most of the vigor and spirit that Running Wild used to have, and there is way, WAAAAY too much reliance on keyboards for the whole pirate atmosphere, and less reliance on the riffs and leads as there should be. In the 80s, Running Wild utilized heavily articulated melodies and jackhammering staccato Heavy Metal riffs to create a "pirate" atmosphere, with no need for a symphonic backup that sounds like the one from Pirates of the Caribbean, and now we have these guys touting their music as "true Pirate Metal," when in reality, this band is to Running Wild as Korpiklaani is to Skyforger - that is, fun yet unspectacular; a junk food version of a top notch band.

The lyrics suck, too, being nothing more than forced "YARR PIRATES ARE COOL" drivel and naught more than a smidgen of spirit or passion put into writing them. It's the sort of blatantly embarrassing tribute you'd expect from a modern band doing this sort of thing, all very contrived and fake, and the band makes it a point to shove the pirate gimmick down your throat, never even letting you come up to breath. It's like they're worried we'll forget mid-song that they like pirates, so they make it a point to never let us forget that they do indeed like pirates a whole fucking lot. If Alestorm could just tone down the gimmicks and touch up their lyrics a bit, then we'd have a damn fine "pirate" band on our hands, but this is just too fake sounding a lot of the time. Seriously, anyone who thinks this album is the closest you can get to "pirate metal" needs to get their head out of their ass and go listen to Running Wild's Black Hand Inn, and that is all that needs to be said about that.

Now, all bitching about the gimmick aside, Alestorm do know how to play some pretty cool metal tunes when they get down to business. The first two tracks are pretty lame, with uninspired vocal lines and riffs that won't really stick with you, but it's with the third song, "The Huntmaster," that they crank up the metal and start to rule. With a Grave Digger-esque chorus and a set of stomping riffs, this song is a winner. "Nancy the Tavern Wench," despite being a juvenile example of the blatant gimmickery I mentioned above, is also a good song, and pretty much every song after this is acceptable and listenable, with cool riffs and catchy choruses out the ass. I do wish they could speed things up a bit more, but this is a debut and it's excusable, and "Captain Morgan's Revenge" is a good album overall. Not a great one, but it works, and makes for a fun listen at best. Alestorm are rookies, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and see where they go from here.

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