Whether or not you think Pirate Metal is deserving of its own genre, there can be no denying the success Scottish band Alestorm has had with their pirate-themed metal music. And recently they’ve given us all their classics in the form of a live album Live in Tilburg. But how well does the album do in capturing their sound while remaining a fresh listen?
Live albums are a love of mine personally. Bands can elevate their songs with the live experience such as Blind Guardian’s Live Beyond the Spheres which is my preferred way to listen to many of their songs. Alestorm as well elevates their songs with the live audience in this album
Alestorm’s album starts with a short intro that sets the mood well before kicking us right into Keelhauled, one of the most well-known songs from the band and best. The production sounds great and sounds similar to the studio but what really makes the song is hearing the audience in the chorus and throughout the song. It fills out the sound and adds so much more atmosphere to the song.
This trend continues for most of the album with songs like Mexico, Over the seas, Hangover, No Grave but the sea having particularly noticeable audience participation. It does at times feels as though you’ve stumbled across a pirate crew singing shanties and it really brings the best of their songs.
A lot of the songs Alestorm have on the album are quite catchy and serve well for singing along. There’s plenty of songs about drinking, traversing the seas, and the good old pirate life. If your expecting intricate songwriting it may leave you wanting but they do have a good sense of storytelling that makes songs much more interesting to listen to.
At a point, the party song nature of the songs does start to lose their charm and I wish that they had some more diverse tracks that differentiate lyrically or instrumentally. Their early albums have some great songs like Death before the mast, Set sail and Conquer Leviathan, and Black sails at midnight that would have added some heaviness and different song structures.
I understand though for live performance it does fit better to have the other songs, so this is just some bias on my part. And it must be said the last track Fucked with an Anchor is honestly great fun and sums up the band’s fun nature perfectly.
For a live album it’s great and if you’re an Alestorm fan should leave you pretty happy. If you’re not a fan but love power metal or folk metal I’d recommend giving it a listen, it’s good fun to sing along to and there are some earworms on the album. If you don’t like either well I doubt there will be much to sway you but maybe check out the band’s earlier works.
Release Year: 2021
Label: Napalm Records
Reviewed by Billy Poulopoulos