The Scottish Folk/Power Metal band ALESTORM has returned to the shores to present its third album, “Back Through Time”, following “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” (2008, see the review here) and “Black Sails At Midnight” (2009, see the review here). Napalm Records released it on the 3rd June. The limited edition has two bonus tracks, while the deluxe boxset has the digibook and an exclusive Captain Morgan pendant. But first, ALESTORM’s line-up once again underwent a change: guitarist Dani Evans returned to be the band’s guitarist (he was the bass player on “Captain Morgan’s Revenge”) to replace Gavin Harper, while drummer Ian Wilson left and was replaced by Peter Alcorn. “Back Through Time” offers the typical ALESTORM elements (accordion, humpa Metal, lots of sing-along tunes, booz, and so on), but what’s most apparent is the ballsier guitarwork. More than before.
The albums commences at sea where brutal blasting Metal suddenly kicks in, followed by the typical accordion-driven Folk Metal. You get the classic humpa-hymns in the chorus, so feel free to sing along. Speaking of heavier guitarwork, this song definitely shows it. The blastbeats are present too, another new element in ALESTORM’s compositions. Can you say DRAGONFORCE? Because that’s the band that comes to mind then. Not that I mind, it’s just an observation. All in all, a goog first song.”Shipwrecked” is then better, in my opinion. Firm midtempo Folk/Power with the accordion as dominant instrument. The verses contain the trumpets you could also hear on the previous albums. The chorus, here too, is catchy, so when you see the band at a gig, you’re in for a treat.
In “The Sunk’n Norwegian” a flute comes into play, countered by the guitars and drums. This reminded me in a way of ELUVEITIE. The verses are firm, vile even. An epic bridge makes the connection to the hymnic chorus. The guitar solo breaks the flow a little, which is good. This song is another highlight, if you ask me. And so is “Midget Saw”, where humpa Folk Metal is delivered as requested. However, it’s the guitar input that is key here. The melodic aspect only comes through here and there, used as accents, so to speak. The title of the next song, “Buckfast” already indicates it, this is a fast one. Sharp, vicious riffing with fast drums. The playtime is short, which also gives the speed away. Christopher stands in the spotlights once more with his accordion and vocals. This song is melodically quite diverse, almost theatrical and playful. Later on ALESTORM opt for Thrash in vein of EXODUS. Yep, “Back Through Time” is heavier, more powerful than the previous releases.
ALESTORM is also about booze, and each ALESTORM album must contain a few of those songs. Starting with “Scraping The Barrel”. A slow Folk tune, a power ballad, you might say. If you’re familiar with the previous booze songs, then you know what to expect. It’s good, but not outstanding. So is “Rum”, an enjoyable Folk/Power track where the accordion is up front again. The simple chorus helps to make this song a killer on stage. “Swashbuckled” focuses on the heavy guitarwork, while the chorus counters with hymnic and melodic touches. “Rumpelkombo” was over before I knew what happened. It’s only 6 seconds long and actually not worth the attention. So we fast-forward to “Barrett’s Privateers”. This is more of a normal Metal track, even if the accordion is in the spotlights. Group singing is important here. The end result, however, is rather mediocre. Luckily there’s one highlight left: “Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid”. This song is epic, massive and bombastic. And it includes blastbeats and shrieks. Where the first song reminded me of DRAGONFORCE, it’s DIMMU BORGIR that comes to mind here. A job very well done.
ALESTORM’s third full-length, “Back Through Time”, offers quite a diverse pallet on lyrical terms, especially compared to their previous efforts. And that’s good. The music or compositions also changed a little to avoid repetition. The guitars sound heavier, the drums follow. The music has become ballsier, although you still get the typical catchy melodies and hooks ALESTORM is known for. However, like with e.g. DRAGONFORCE and KORPIKLAANI, the magic begins to fade. In addition, how many drinking songs can one write? KORPIKLAANI has been or still is on this road too and, to be honest, it gets boring. But maybe one should consider the albums as a promotional tool for their gigs, i.e. it’s live that the true and full glory of ALESTORM comes out. I do want to end with a positive note: ALESTORM’s music does give you the feeling that you’re indeed back in time. Either you use your imagination or the band makes a nice video that perfectly expresses that impression.
- Back Through Time
- The Sunk’n Norwegian
- Midget Saw
- Buckfast Powersmash
- Scraping The Barrel
- Barrett’s Privateers
- Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid
Christopher Bowes – vocals, keyboards
Dani Evans – guitars
Gareth Murdock – bass
Peter Alcorn – drums
[xrr rating=3/5 =”Rating: “]