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Album Reviews : Alestorm – Sunset On The Golden Age

By on August 7, 2014

I fucking hate pirates. They are a crude, disease ridden Male debauchery fantasy whose history of being the Dutch East-India Company’s bitch is well documented, whilst their own historical exploits are as reliable as a screen door in the keel of one of their vastly inefficient ships. Pirates suck as much as the gimmick is stale. Yet, I like Alestorm. Now, before you ink up your giant Hypocrite stamp, allow me to explain.

Alestorm have made the best of a shitty device by creating memorable and energetic songs that do more credit to their concept than it is deserving of, and I am grateful for that. As exhausted as the Pirate gimmick has become it is invigorating to hear that Alestorm are still having fun with it, with raucous riffs and rhythms sharing wave with irreverent, scarily self-aware, lyrical content. Sunset on The Golden Age is no exception to, nor is it a great departure from, the band’s previous albums. Face it; if you’re a fan, then you already have this album; in which case, why are you reading this review? Read one of my other ones!

For those uninitiated, Alestorm are Pirate Metal, and as much as that hurts me to consider it is less of a mouthful than calling it Circa 1716 Seafaring Culture Themed Power Folk Metal; it is what it is. Alestorm have a raw, vigorous quality that frequently crosses the line between developed and unrefined. This is not a band to invest a lot of philosophical thought in (We’re talking about a band with song titles like Mead from Hell and Surf Squid Warfare), it’s loud, loutish and coarse and that is exactly how Alestorm like it. Say what you will (and I shall) but they know how to have fun with their music, and how to easily drag a listener into that boisterous revelry.

Rum and the High Seas are the order here, with Alestorm’s trademark rugged, almost bawdy, vocals and chaotic abandon to their rather polished instrumentation. Sunset on The Golden Age, like the other Alestorm albums, is not concerned about thought provoking or inspirational music, its sole intent is to get people fired up and thrash away with the same lack of restraint the music purveys. Damned if it doesn’t do a good job of that, as every song has its own catchy element. Whether the song is about time travelling to fight some Vikings and undead squid (Which, by the way, no contest; Vikings destroy Pirates) or sailing contemporary waters (or what passes for it here) and fighting the Spanish and the Japanese, before settling down and merrily lamenting your hangover, this album delivers on exactly what it promises.

There is no self-possession in the energy of this album, despite the full-conscious lyrics, that is Alestorm all over. A great start for someone who has not heard these guys before, and yet another cheery collection of Metal Sea Shanties for those who know and love Alestorm; and whilst I maintain that Pirates suck (and they do), I still like Alestorm. Check this merry little jig-fest out.

Band: Alestorm
Album: Sunset on The Golden Age
Year: 2014
Genre: Circa 1716 Seafaring Culture Themed Power Folk Metal Pirate Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Origin: Scotland

Track list:
1. Walk the Plank
2. Drink
3. Magnetic North
4. 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
5. Mead from Hell
6. Surf Squid Warfare
7. Quest for Ships
8. Wooden Leg
9. Hangover (Taio Cruz Cover)
10. Sunset on the Golden Age


Hailing from parts unknown (actually, it’s Melbourne), Tristan is a freelance writer and lover of metal, with a special place in his heart for Power and Folk metal. After playing in a number of local Melbourne metal bands, and completing his Bachelor of Arts, Tristan focuses his attention to the pursuit of writing, practicing the Liechtenauer School of swordsmanship, dabbling in Cosplay and reciting Babylon 5 quotes; in addition to hunting for a publisher for his novel. Until then, he enjoys metal, writing about metal and convincing people around his office that he is immortal and has lived for 3,000 years. (So far only the chick in HR is buying it)