I am going to do a much fuller article on Alestorm here in the near future, but for the time being I just want to show my appreciation for the group. I absolutely love their first two albums, and I am actively working on a 'Favorite Albums' article for each. With the release of their third album, early in June, my excitement level is reaching biblical proportions and I feel the need to shout my adoration from the rooftops! Thus this edition of 'Bands I Love'.
I'm going to keep this article short and sweet - with more articles on the way, I really don't have to go too far into detail now - just highlighting one aspect of Alestorm's releases that I love and find really fascinating: their penchant to include covers on all of their releases. In itself nothing too special, many acts cover bands and artists that influenced them or something along those lines. Alestorm is special in the regard that all the songs they cover: A) Have something to do with pirates, theft, booze, etc. And B) Are mostly from non-metal acts and/or are something way-way off in left field.
The first example of interesting covers is probably the least adventurous of the group; it is "Flower of Scotland" off of their debut, Captain Morgan's Revenge, originally penned by the folk rock group The Corries way back in 1967. Sense that time the song has become de facto national anthem of Scotland - even though the country itself doesn't have a set anthem - so I could see why the Scottish band Alestorm would be interested in recording such a cover. As I said, not too out there, but not something you would normally expect to hear on a heavy metal release.
Leviathan EP, then on the Black Sails over Europe split, with Tyr and Heidevolk, and then finally on their second full-length, and most recent release, Black Sails at Midnight. The song is "Wolves of The Sea," a cover of the one-show-only group Pirates of The Sea. For those who don't know, every year most of the countries of Europe submit one band each to compete against the others in a massive competition called the Eurovision Song Contest. It's sort of like American Idol, except on a much grander scale, and instead of it being random people from random places, each country gets one submission. It's a big national pride hub-bub, with a lengthy process to get chosen by your country, and then again once the actual competition begins. Usually it is made up of mostly pop acts (ABBA did a hefty number on it in the 70s), but the shock-rock band Lordi won a few years ago, so sometimes something good makes it through. Anyway, this 'group' Pirates of The Sea's song for the competition was "Wolves of The Sea," which works surprisingly well in the heavy metal setting of Alestorm's style. The Alestorm version sounds a bit like a showtune, probably because it's derived from one, but it's full of energy and spunk and is a great song to listen to.
Metal Archives and Wikipedia, the soon-to-be-released album, Back Through Time, will contain a few covers, from a number of different genres. First is "Barrett's Privateers," originally by Stan Rogers, known for his folk songs about Canadian history, something a little different there. Then, on the limited edition release of Back Through Time, there are a pair of covers; "I am a Cider Drinker" and "You are a Pirate." The former is another folk song, this time in the style of British Scrumpy and Western, (Wikipedia article linked so you can figure out whatever that is to the best of your ability), which seems to me to be a comedy folk style, from Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, which is something I'm very interested in hearing in the folk metal style. The latter is by far the most peculiar of all of the covers I've listed so far; it's "You are a Pirate" off of the Lazy Town soundtrack (I'm not linking to that). Now Lazy Town is something I never thought I'd ever write about, it's sold as an Icelandic children's TV show, but what it is in actuality is the oddest children's TV show you could ever imagine... on acid. When I was in college my friends used to love to get baked and watch it, it is weird shit. You can now understand why I would question the decision to include such a song on Back Through Time, but at the same time, I really want to hear what Alestorm has done with it.
My short article turned a bit long really quick. But I hope I'm getting my point across, Alestorm puts out some great music and makes the best of some weird songs. I know I will hunt for the limited edition of Back Through Time, if only to hear that Lazy Town song (and I really want to hear Scrumpy and Western as heavy metal), and so I cannot wait until the first week of June for it's release. As I said before, expect some more articles about Alestorm and their music, as the impending day looms closer. But for now, go out and research some of these covers, and then hear what Alestorm has to off in their heavy metal folk way.