ALESTORM’s brand of ‘piratinical’ themed Folk influenced Power Metal was quite refreshing off their debut album, but the follow up was a lack luster drop for them into mediocrity. The concept of ‘Pirate Metal’ has shown its staying power with the likes of RUNNING WILD, who did it for years, so ALESTORM just needed to kick their third full length release in the ass and get back to what made them the fantastic band to watch for in 2008. Luckily, that’s what “Back Through Time” does…takes these Scottish pirates back to what made the debut a home run.
This third release has the band reinvigorated with the energy that their style needs. With the pummeling drum work of the one-two snare snap and double bass bombardments as a foundation to this energy, songs like “The Sunk’n Norwegian” and “Shipwrecked” are garnering pace to build on. Not to mention the band has finally found solid guitar ground to throw riffs on too and keep their Metal roots fully audible on classic tracks like “Back Through Time” and “Buckfast Powersmash."
To add to this Power Metal excursion of renewed energy, the band seems to have grasped even further onto their pirate themed Folk side. Vocalist Bowes snarls and croons out tales of the high seas (and a track dedicated to a time traveling battle between pirates and Vikings) all the while rip roaring through the catchy keyboard melodies. The added benefit of significant group chanting on tracks like “Midget Saw” and “Barrett’s Privateers” only adds to the effect and establishes a vibe that will carry over to their live show perfectly.
On the plus side, the band has strengthened their abilities to play Metal the ALESTORM way and added a few surprises too. “Buckfast Powersmash” has a great Thrash sound to the song and its rapidfire tempo and the album closer “Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid” even touches on some Black Metal moments (there is a killer riff added in there of that variety) to give the album more than enough variety even for long time fans like myself.
It’s great to hear ALESTORM back on track to be one of the more interesting and unique bands out there producing music. “Back Through Time” is a return to high form for these pirate Metal maestros and a sure fire winner in 2011.
Songs to check out: “Shipwrecked," “Buckfast Powersmash," “Scraping The Barrel."
(Online August 22, 2011)