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On disc: Alestorm

Back Through Time - Mike Thompson - 7 stars

Back Through Time

Back Through Time
(Napalm Records - 2011)

You have to hand it to Alestorm. Despite being one of those bands that everyone loves to hate and despite the rumors and hearsay about the members being disillusioned with the whole pirate theme they just keep churning out albums. Back Through Time is the band's third full-length and continues the good-time, pirate-flavored, party folk metal that has given the band so much success and infamy throughout the world.

Alestorm, whilst always being fun and entertaining live, have always lacked that certain special factor on the studio releases. Its good for a one-off listen every now and then but doesn't really lend itself to prolonged repeat listens and the same can be said of this one, on the whole. You know what though, I really don't think this Scottish crew give a damn.

The band is often compared to the likes of Turisas, a band who play in a similar style but Viking themed, and I would guess that this is the inspiration behind the album opener and title track Back Through Time. "You put your faith in Odin and Thor, we put ours in cannons and whores, your Viking gods won't save you now, when the pirates strike from the starboard bow!" spews out vocalist Christopher Bowes during the song. Them's fightin' words! Its a jolly sing along song with a lot of good-natured jibing of the Viking metal scene in general.

Alestorm are often criticized for the pretty lame lyrics that they write. Hang on, they've written a song about that too! Scraping The Barrel is a raised finger to all the band's detractors. Quite ballsy in a way! To be honest, some of Alestorm's lyrics are truly cringe-worthy but I've heard far worse over the years and, lets be honest, is there really anything wrong with hearing some fun lyrics occasionally?

Back when the band supported Sabaton they played a new song called Rum and as if by magic here it is on this album! Listen to this alongside Korpiklaani's Beer, Beer and Vodka and you may actually end up drunk off music!

Right, so to sum up...this is an Alestorm album. If you didn't like the band before, you won't like them now. If you are already a fan you'll get this anyway. If I was gonna be truly critical I'd give say this album was a really average folk metal album with the usual pirate buffoonery you'd expect from Alestorm (and it'd be true)...but you know what, its actually a lot of fun! Hell, I'll give them a higher mark just for the 'fuck you, world' attitude in Scraping The Barrel! I may even get the limited edition with the Bobblehead figure...just because its cool!

7 stars

Mike Thompson


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