Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight (2009) - A surprisingly diversified party album - 79% (22/06/11)
After their famous but overhyped and eventually rather superficial debut album the self declared Scottish pirate metal heads tries to take an advantage from their rise to fame and released as quickly as possible another EP and now this second album. Normally this would mean another loss of quality, another quick attempt to get some cash and popularity and an easy way to satisfy the hungry masses. But to my surprise, all this isn't the case for the band's second full length release. The album was less popular than the first one but the quality of the record rose and "Black sails at midnight" is eventually a very diversified, entertaining and gripping record.
The band varies from slow and epic song structures such as in "To the end of our days" to quite fast tracks that have both influences from power metal and thrash metal music such as the party hymn "Keelhauled" or the darker title track "Black sails at midnight". Musically, the band improved in only two years and still kept its trademarks even though they are still no excellent musicians.
At the same time, the band created even more catchy hooks and memorable choruses on the record that you still can't sing and shake along after a buddle of rum with your friends. From traditional old school pirate tales like "That famous Ol' Spiced" to the cover of the modern Eurovision Song Contest hit single "Wolves of the sea", the band creates one solid potential radio hit song and neck breaker for concerts after the other. Every song has a different length, tempo or approach but they are all united under the banner of pirate metal together and while the diversity and creativity is bigger than before the coherence and consistency of the songs is much better than on the first album. Everything perfectly fits together on here and one can perfectly listen to this album at one entertaining shot.
The band doesn't show much more in fact but they focus on their strengths and create ten gripping hymns for anybody that is ready to switch its brain off and have some fun and doesn't take the band too serious. From time to time this kind of strategy can be a good change of mind for a regular metal maniac. The band is maybe not very authentic but they are surely more sympathetic as most of the popularized grim Viking metal heads and the numerous folk metal musicians around the world. That's why I really like to listen to this entertaining, refreshing and positive record from time to time and easily consider it as the band's best effort to date.« In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading (2011) - A courageous progressive alternative rock album - 95% (18/06/11)Iron Maiden - Virtual XI (1998) - Cumbersome melancholy for special occasions - 75% (23/06/11) »