Alestorm – Seventh Rum Of A Seventh Rum (Album Review)

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Ahoy and avast, matey; there be symphonic power metal ahead of ye in this here review. Scotland’s favorite controversial pirate power metallers Alestorm are back with ”Seventh Rum Of A Seventh Rum”, their newest profanity-filled adventure. Now might be the best time to grab your favorite kind of Rum and fasten your peg leg on, because this ship is about to set sail, ya scallywags.

We set off on the seven seas; rum in hand and glory ahead as the first song, ”Magellan’s Expedition” sets the tone  that only true, Scottish, pirate power metal can unleash. We set sail, energy set to 11 as an epic shanty sonically dropkicks us to the face while being backed up by some big syncopated hits coming from the orchestra and band. From there we are riding the waves of an ultra melodic power metal tide. The instrumental hook of the song is a fun melodic romp, modulating itself through different keys and acting as the bridge between sections of the song. The song makes great use of the orchestra to emphasize the direction the band has charted out. There is some great playing by all the musicians, particularly there are some great lead guitar lines being done by Máté Bodor.

Next up we have ”The Battle Of Cape Fear River”, which recounts the story of the famous pirate Black Beard, who was, as declared in the song ”a [email protected]#$ing pirate’‘ .Through galloping rhythms, glorious melodies and straight forward riffage, the story of his final rum drinking moments are brought back to life. This song seems to lean into a folk metal influence, all the better a setting to hear about the world’s most famous pirate. Peter Alcorn absolutely slays on this song. His drumming takes the song to another level, perfectly capturing both the glorious majesty of power metal drumming and at the same time leaving enough space when required to let the listener embellish themselves into the lore of the golden age of piracy. The song does find it’s a way into more melodic power metal vibe, and you might find yourself wanting to conquer the world by the end of it.

One of the things I appreciate about this band is the duality of how they express themselves; The compositions are very musical and at times can be complex, but at the same time they are lyrically as vulgar as it gets. With that said, the third song on ”Seventh Rum…” is a profanity filled track called ”Cannonball”. The song starts having you believe you are listening to an unreleased Megaman track before the short lived midi composition explodes into a sonic-tsunami and floods the ears while the song takes it’s verbal residence in the gutter. As with many songs in the Alestorm catalogue the sheer offensiveness of this song will leave many a fifteen year old helpless to do anything but grin, and leave many a mom utterly disgusted and shocked. I am reminded briefly of Sonata Arctica during the build up to the solo, but then my inner juvenile is summoned forth as Christopher Bowes launches us into the solo with the lines ”Holy Shit Let’s Go!” and we are back aboard the S.S. Beevis and Butthead.

Back to pirate business, and by that I mean it’s ”P.A.R.T.Y.” time. If there were ever such thing as pirate club music, this song would define the genre. This headbanger is somewhere between a dance tune and an anthem while making heavy use of the accordion. This song is a little slower than the rest, but it breaks up the album and gives you a nice straight forward fun pirate party song.

”Under Blackened Banners” quickens up the pace and makes use of an electronic introduction that builds itself up  into a soaring melody by the lead guitar, referencing the future chorus until it resolves itself into the first verse. The guitars in the verse are tightly syncopated chugging sections that open themselves up to full chords in the pre-chorus and chorus, which makes for a nice contrast to the closeness that the verse has. While this is happening, the accordion makes it’s way back into the song and by the chorus it becomes the support melody to the lead vocals. The song picks up and gets more aggressive as it enters into an instrumental section starting with a guitar solo by Bodor that is equal parts melodic and equal parts Jason Becker shredfest. After the guitar solo we continue celebrating the life and times of the brotherhood of pirates and the song finally finds it’s way to the end but not without having an epic keyboard solo exchange between Bowes and Vernen. Even if you are kayaking in a small lake this song will make you want to scuttle other kayaks, so make sure you resist the temptation.

”Palinka for everyone!” is the phrase that kicks off ‘‘Magyarország” and in sheer glory, Bodor rips a killer lead guitar line over a galloping rhythm section. The galloping subsides, the first verse is on the horizon and with it the tale of the pirate city of Magyarország. The drum beat inverts itself during the pre-chorus and while we are learning about the glory of Hungary, the chorus kicks in and in his native tongue, the band gives a hearty salute to the homeland of their guitar shred-meister extraordinaire Máté Bodor. After another round of verses and chorus we enter a bridge that brings the song to it’s close with Bowes repeating the song’s opening, ”Palinka for everyone!”.

Heading into the second half of the album we come across the self titled song ”Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum”.  The song starts off with horns playing a foreboding melody while the guitars, bass and drums syncopate hits. As the song develops Alcorn begins pulsing the snare on an inverted beat and we hear some screaming vocals that add to the heaviness of the song. Lyrically, this song is a pirate’s spin on the classic themes of good verses evil, destiny, mystical omens, and magical rum (is this classic or am I an alcoholic?) ”Seventh Rum…” develops into a full fledged power metal single, full of killer orchestrations and an awesome solo section that reminds me of Edguy in their prime.

Track number 8 is called ”Bite The Hook Hand That Feeds”, and this track kicks off with a guitar melody playing a lead line reminiscent of what you would hear a fiddle player playing in an upbeat folk song. Over constant sextuplets on the kick drum and some driving chord progressions you hear about a disenchanted privateer. Eventually the officer snaps and kills his superior, and turns away from the pirate lifestyle. Make sure to listen to this song all the way through, between some killer sweep arpeggios as well as some great linear playing the guitar solo at the end of the song is worth the price of admission alone.

”You want to know where you are, laddy? Alright then, let me tell ya!”, If Axl Rose were a pirate, this is how he would be asking the same question in ”Welcome To The Jungle”. That aside, It’s not a pirate record unless Tortuga is mentioned at least once. Lucky for us, we have a whole song. ”Return to Tortuga” is the riff-heavy story of the great escape from the British Crown. Starting off with the horn section outlining a chord progression and then blooming into a melody, the song kicks into full gallop, and the story begins. A wanted man escaping Port Royal with seemingly no where to go decides to return to Tortuga. Once the pre-chorus arrives the guitars change from riffing to holding out chords that really open up the song, contrasting nicely against the drums as they continue the galloping rhythm. Gang vocals fill out the signature lines of the chorus, ”Tortuga!” and ”Welcome to The Sea!” There is a hilarious bridge after the first chorus as the gang vocals repeat ”Welcome to the sea!” At times this is a riff heavy song that could almost pass for something in the thrash metal genre. The song ends on a high note having the guitars lead us out on a set of killer harmonized bends.

The second to last track on ”Seventh Rum…” is called ”Come to Brazil” and is a song Andrew W.K. would be sure to endorse as the main line of the chorus is ”Hey Hey Hey! Let’s come to Brazil and have an epic pirate party”. This banger starts off with a round of blasts beats by Alcorn that body slams us into the rest of the song, which for a short time has the tonality you would expect to hear in some sort of prog-metal song, except without the odd time signatures. The guitars pick away between chromatic hammer-on’s in the verse and the drums keep a steady beat while Bowes unloads his itinerary, which include all sorts of raunchy-ness. If you are a method listener, beware. ”It’s time to [email protected]#$ my pants!”, is sung by Bowes which caught me completely off guard and had me laughing my ass off but honestly I should have expected a line such as this considering the source. As the chorus starts the drums go into a double time and we are in the middle of a pirate party declaration. There is no solo in this song and it spends most of it’s time recalling 1st world problems and sustenance consumption had by foreigners in one of our favorite South American pirate wonderlands.

The last track is the culmination of a story the precedes this record. ”Wooden Leg (Part III)” continues some 40 years after the events of ”Wooden Leg Part 2 (The Woodening)”. Now, after losing both legs, both arms and also his head our limbless friend lays in what essentially seems like purgatory as he recounts the story of how his misfortunes came to be. In comparison to the other entries in the saga, this song is a complete tonal shift. Thematically different from their bombastic metal counterparts, the intro makes use of an accordion, acoustic guitar and a melodic fiddle ”…(Part III)” takes a more solemn approach and reveals itself to be more of a shanty-ballad than a high energy power metal song. Everything up until the first chorus is spoken in Spanish, and while most of the song is in English from thereon out, there is a bridge in Japanese. By the end of the first chorus the band is back, and we are taken from there into a melodic guitar solo. You’ll have to listen, look up or translate some of the lyrics, but overall these diverse cast of pirate killers tell their share of a funny, tragic story. There is an absolutely killer instrumental section in this song and there is an awesome exchange of lead lines by the guitar and keyboards. Once it makes it’s way from the solo the last chorus modulates and the song finishes, fading out arpeggiated chords on the acoustic guitar.

If you can tolerate inappropriate language (sailor mouth to the extreme), have a sense of humor, and like power metal and pirate stuff; you will love this record, chock-full of solid musicianship. There is a very solid production, and while once in a while lyrically it feels like the same themes start to wear thin, a guitar solo, vulgar joke or something will shock you out of thinking about it too much and will make for a very fun experience.

Released By:  Napalm Records
Release Date:  June 24th, 2022 
Genre:  Pirate Power Metal

Musicians:

  • Christopher Bowes / Vocals & Keytar
  • Máté Bodor / Guitar
  • Gareth Murdock / Bass
  • Elliot Vernen / Keyboards
  • Peter Alcorn / Drums

“Seventh Rum Of A Seventh Rum” Track-list:

  1. Magellan’s Expedition
  2. The Battle of Cape Fear River
  3. Cannonball
  4. A.R.T.Y.
  5. Under Blackened Banners
  6. Magyarország
  7. Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum
  8. Bite the Hook Hand that Feeds
  9. Return to Tortuga
  10. Come To Brazil
  11. Wooden Leg (Part III)

7.8 Very Good

If you can tolerate inappropriate language (sailor mouth to the extreme), have a sense of humor, and like power metal and pirate stuff; you will love this record, chock-full of solid musicianship. There is a very solid production, and while once in a while lyrically it feels like the same themes start to wear thin, a guitar solo, vulgar joke or something will shock you out of thinking about it too much and will make for a very fun experience.

  • Songwriting 7
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 7
  • Production 8
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