Captain Morgan's Revenge
posted on 4/2008 By:
Scottish pirate metal? Awesome. It’s been interesting to see Running Wild get some competition in the pirate metal realm over the past couple of years, first with U.S.-based Swashbuckle and now Alestorm. This is still a pretty small subset of metal, and let’s face it, how much can it really grow? Although there are a handful of up-and-comers, it’s not exactly poised to be the next big thing. That’s fine with me. All the bands mentioned thus far have pretty much defined (and perfected) the sound, and with all due respect to Running Wild, Captain Morgan’s Revenge may well be the new measuring stick for all those who follow.
Whereas Running Wild’s pirate nature has been based largely on lyrical imagery and themes (as well as their stage outfits), Alestorm take things to the next level with the simple addition of keyboards (represented in the live setting by the greatest instrument of all –time: the keytar) that gives everything the feel of an old time sea shanty. This comes across best in “Nancy the Tavern Wench,” which is performed in that style complete with a slow rhythm and a group chorus that basically forces you to see a group of scallywags singing and swaying back and forth, steins of ale held high (this would also apply to their rendition of “Flower of Scotland,” an unofficial Scottish national anthem.) Most of these tracks though are delivered with a lot more muscle. “Death Before the Mast” and “Terror on the High Seas,” for example, are basically thrash tunes, and the root sound of the album is traditional/power metal. It’s amazing what a difference the keyboards make in giving these a real pirate-y feel.
I can only imagine what the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland would be like set to these tunes. At the very least, they’d have to speed the thing up, and add a few more bloodthirsty buccaneers. As many times as I’ve been on that thing, it would certainly be a welcome change. Alestorm here have created what may not be an amazing album or anything, but Captain Morgan’s Revenge is certainly one of the most fun listens I’ve had this year. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when Running Wild releases Under Jolly Roger II.
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