CD Reviews

Review: Alestorm – Curse Of The Crystal Coconut

Band: Alestorm
Album: Curse Of The Crystal Coconut
Reviewer: Curt Ubank

Avast ye scurvy dogs, Pirate Metal weirdos Alestorm have unleashed their latest studio album upon us! What is pirate metal? Who be Alestorm? What the crap is a Crystal coconut and why is it cursed? Why indeed, lets spin their latest disc and see what’s Kraken!

Few genres are as fun and utterly silly as Pirate Metal, lets be totally honest here. Songs about shipwrecks and taverns, Terror squids and wenches, Concerts full of rubber ducks, tricorns and rum. It’s a whole different world of fun and if you haven’t seen an Alestorm show, I urge you to (Once we’re not all landlocked). Alestorm are the undisputed kings of pirate metal, with their previous five albums blending full on party riffing metal and jaunty folk music, with their tounges firmly planted in their cheeks. Its bright, dumb, headbanging fun, and the new album goes above and beyond what’s come before. 

This record starts with “Treasure Chest Party Quest” and boy does it feel like a cannon blast to the face, It’s totally going to end up as a Show opener, full of gang vocals, and self deprecating lyrics. Its almost impossible to play this track quietly, and even harder to play it without wanting to raise a tankard of rum, but don’t down it all at once because we power straight into “Fannybaws”. This song feels entirely like a classic idea of an Alestorm track, “Whaaaaooo”‘s a-plenty, and a music video starring “Peter Dinklage”. I shit yee not. It’s towards the end of “Fannybaws” that you realize that the band is starting to mess with convention a little, as we head into “Chomp Chomp”. We get some fantastic thrashy riffs, and an amazing Hurdy Gurdy melody and solo. 

“Tortuga” is a great example of how Alestorm have reached a point in their career where they just don’t give a shit. Metal heads are a fickle bunch, so what does “Alestorm” do? Trap beats and a rap interlude. It’s a spectacular departure from the norm, and somehow still fits the album flawlessly. The rap interlude features “Captain Yarrface” from Rumahoy, who’s a long time collaborator with the band. Next up we get “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship”, and if you own the album “Sunset on the Golden Age” you’ll get a very familiar feeling. This song was originally intended to be “Magnetic South”, a sequel to “Magnetic North”. Yeah, it literally just chronicles a bunch of zombies eating a pirate ship. What did you expect? “Call of the Waves” is regarded as being the most serious of the album, and of their entire catalog, with almost a pop-punk kind of energy. It’s all about getting out there and achieving your goals, what an odd departure from zombies but by god it’s motivating!

“Pirate’s Scorn” is rollicking bop of a song. It’s a full-blown tavern jig, it sounds like its straight off the deck of an R-rated “Muppet Treasure Island” and that does not suck. “Shit boat (No Fans)” is… well it’s a song, with the lyrics almost entirely consisting of “Your pirate ship, can eat a bag of dicks”. It’s gonna be a set list staple for sure, with a couple of hundred drunk pirates shouting it back to the band. According to lead singer “Christopher Bowes”, “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew” is about how Alestorm has killed folk metal, and how they hate their fans.  Hilariously you’re never quite sure if they’re serious or not, but the track is an absolute banger, I DARE you not to clap along to this while you’re half tanked. “Wooden Leg part 2: The Woodening” is a sequel to…. “Wooden leg” you guessed it! Where the original was a fairly by the numbers track, Part 2 is a full-blown Symphonic Prog Death Metal Shanty octopus of an epic. Its sprawling and powerful, and literally is just about a wooden leg. There’s a chip-tunes break in the middle, Turisas sounding riffs and even greasy old Spaniards, Japanese and Spanish lyrics and blistering guitar solos, it’s got almost everything except the kitchen sink. 

The album closes with “Henry Martin”, which is a traditional Scottish folk song, we get acoustic guitars and hurdy gurdy, it’s a somber and serious way to cap off a piracy extravaganza. This album is a flawless testament to Alestorm’s ability to write the hookiest metal track with the dumbest lyrics and themes around. Its an insane ride and all i can suggest is to fill up your tankard with rum, grab your bandanna, strap on your baldric and blast this album as loud as you can. The seas of metal belong to “Alestorm”

10 Cannonballs out of 10.

Alestorm are

Christopher Bowes — lead vocals, keytar
Máté Bodor — guitars
Gareth Murdock — bass
Elliot Vernon — keyboards, unclean vocals
Peter Alcorn — drums

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