Home EPs EP Review : Alestorm: Voyage of the Dead Marauder

EP Review : Alestorm: Voyage of the Dead Marauder

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

A warning shout comes down from the crow’s nest, where a sailor with a spyglass pressed to his eye scans the horizon, he sees a ship displaying the infamous Jolly Roger, “The Pirates are coming!”, the Captain responds as he cries his orders to the crew, “Lock up the rum, ale and our other treasure”.

The sailor continues to watch anxiously, the ship is sailing towards them, through his spyglass he reads the name of the ship carved into its bow, “Keelhauled”. Oh shit. He shouts down again, “Captain, it’s the worst kind of Pirates, it’s Alestorm and they’re gonna want to P.A.R.T.Y!”

Formed in 2004 in Perth, Scotland, the band consists of Christopher Bowes on vocals and keytar, Máté “Bobo” Bodor on guitar, Gareth Murdock on bass, Elliot Vernon on harsh vocals and keyboards, and Peter Alcorn on drums. Alestorm has released seven studio albums, from their debut ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ in 2008, to their most recent ‘Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum’ in 2022. The 22nd of March 2024 sees the release of a 5-track EP ‘The Voyage of the Dead Marauder’, via Napalm Records.

The EP opens with the title track ‘Voyage of the Dead Marauder’. It features long-time collaborator and friend Patty Gurdy, who is a German hurdy-gurdy musician, singer, and songwriter. A big lead break and quick-fire drums start the track, Bowes’ chanted lyrics start a trio of different sounds, they’re followed by Vernon’s growl, then Gurdy’s symphonic sound, it’s a spectacular mix.

The tempo rises and crashes like breaking waves. Gurdy is spinning the hurdy-gurdy adding a smooth undercurrent. All this is going on as Bodor lets loose a squealing solo as the tag-team rhythm combo of Alcorn and Murdock pulverize everything in their path. I was lucky and saw Alestorm with Patty Gurdy perform this track live last month, it blew the roof off of Rock City.

As we continue our voyage we travel to ‘Uzbekistan’, a good bouncy shanty intro, the upbeat tempo is driven by Alcorn, Bowes chants his lyrics. The mid-point introduces Vernon’s unclean vocal which sees the shanty go metal, Bodor’s fingers fly over the frets as he releases his solo, Vernon’s keys take on an industrial sound akin to Rammstein. A track that delivers the Alestorm Pirate Metal ethos straight between the ears.

Following on is ‘The Last Saskatchewan Pirate’, Bowes narrates the intro accompanied by an acoustic guitar. It’s the story of a farmer who has to give it up as he isn’t making a living and the bank takes his land. So, he decides to become a pirate, and steals the barley and grain from the boats on the river Saskatchewan. A fabulously original tale. It’s a party jig complete with flute interludes, the anthemic chorus will have the crowd chanting along and waving their inflatable swords. The melodies are infectious and will remain in your head for hours. It’s impossible not to smile as you listen.

The novel video-game sound intro to the instrumental ‘Sea Shanty 2’ grabs your attention straight away. I found I was hooked, and nodding along without realising. The key work of Bowes and Vernon play a prominent part, the injection of the flute adds a great buzz. It’s a traditional Alestorm caper that will have the audiences dancing.

An Alestorm release isn’t an Alestorm release without a track totally unsuitable for radio. ’Cock’ is that track, a wonderful fun foul-mouthed ditty that has you smiling as the album closes.

‘Voyage of the Dead Marauder’ is a brilliant way to spend 15-minutes of your day. A clever record that will take you on a magical sea adventure filled with energy and fun. So, don your finest tricorne hat, pour yourself a pint of rum and enjoy the ‘Voyage of the Dead Marauder’ with Alestorm.

Christopher Bowes – vocals, keytar
Gareth Murdock – bass
Mate Bodor – guitar
Peter Alcorn – drums
Elliot Vernon – keyboard

ALESTORM online:

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