Album Review: Alestorm – Back Through Time

There is much to be said about the folk side of metal. For it to be pulled off successfully, it either has to take itself very seriously indeed, or not very seriously at all. Alestorm’s third album, ‘Back Through Time’, has a track entitled ‘Buckfast Powersmash’. There are no prizes for guessing which camp the Scottish pirate metallers fall into.

The brilliant thing about Alestorm is that there is simply no need to talk about development, or the clich├ęs about how faAlestormr they have come since their previous album. They have not developed. They have not changed at all. And I am very sure their fanbase is all the more thankful for it.

‘Back Through Time’ opens the album of the same name with a scream indicating vikings off the starboard bow. The lyrics don’t get much deeper (or greater?) than this for the rest of the 11 tracks. While blastbeats may open the album, there are plenty of accordion and violin melodies to satisfy the biggest scallywag.

Alestorm’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness – nothing here is groundbreaking by their standards, and it is all rather predictable, as far as pirate-themed metal goes. That is not to say that Back Through Time is not fun, not metal, or anything of the sort – it is just not very exciting or innovative. If you were not a fan before, not even a dwarf playing the violin in the video for ‘Shipwrecked’ will sway you now.

But existing fans will find loads here to raise their pints of ale to. The aforementioned ‘Buckfast Powersmash’ will have Scots and pirates alike holding their tonic wine bottles aloft, while the 7-minute epic ‘Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid’ features Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams fame, and is appropriately brutal.

If the song titles, the subject matter, and indeed the folk-instrument solos were not enough to prove which camp Alestorm fall under when it comes to folk metal, you just have to check out one of ‘Back Through Time’s’ bonus tracks – a cover of Lazy Town’s ‘You Are A Pirate.’

Alestorm may not be ground-breaking, but they sure as hell are a barrel full of fun.

Rating: 6


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

One Response to “Album Review: Alestorm – Back Through Time”

  1. Excellent review and I agree with you every step of the way. I wan’t to keen on “Back Through Time” though.