And again, Christopher Bowes sails with his band to new coasts and treasures, to entertain their fans and plunder some beer from behind the stage. In the last years, their course was always straightly higher and higher on the billing of some of the biggest festivals we know, doing long tours and gathering a bunch of wild and loud fans. The last gig of their 2019 tour in Tilburg, which is on YouTube with an awesomely good sound-editing , shows what a good live band Alestorm is.
With their sixth studio album Curse of the Crystal Coconut, they get back on the right ocean current in my opinion. I am not a big fan of their last album No Grave But The Sea. I always experience the strength of the way Alestorm plays their songs. Their two pre-released singles “Treasure Chest Party Quest” and “Fannybaws” raised my pleasant anticipation for the album.
With “Treasure Chest Party Quest” they give us a classic Alestorm song – nice, hard, playful and fun, with a big catchy tune – it was always on my song rotation in the last weeks, sometimes with a raised fist at some points of the refrain. And it still gets better in my opinion with every time I listen to it.
„Fannybaws“ is kind of similar. Bowes describes the pirate Fannybaws so beautifully and funny but not without seriousness, just awesome. That’s how Fun-Metal/Party-Metal should be.
“Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship” sounds silly, in a positive way. In this song a lot of experimental stuff that Bowes always tries to do works well and it still sounds like Alestorm, I like the lyrics and now I hate Zombies much more than they at their pirate ship… screw them! I am sure that’s a song that clearly gets on the set-list for their live shows.
The same can be said about “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew”, a love song to bond better with their fans who connect with all the weird stuff Alestorm do in form of insulting (“We are the pirate metal drinking crew – We think you are dumb and we hate you too”). It’s a safe bet that it will be a highlight on every gig, with a lot of beer cups in the air.
The more folk-like “Pirate’s Scorn” or the classier “Call Of The Waves” are good fillers on this album and worth listening. “Tortuga” and “Shit Boat (No Fans)” don’t convince me on this album and are over the top for me, „Tortuga“ is too experimental, and „Shit Boat“ is in my opinion just trolling.
But then, there is “Wooden Leg Part 2 (The Woodening)”, a song that reminds me of the last song of every three Gloryhammer albums, an 8 minute long awesome potpourri that defines Alestorm and Bowes in a positive way. The album ends with the Scottish-folk song “Henry Martin”, a well-choosen ending for this album.
The jack of all trades, Christopher Bowes, shows us again that he is full of ideas and always willing to crash all limits of different genres. He gives us some of the craziest ideas at the moment in Metal (and all the other stuff he broadcasts). He has the will to do whatever he likes and if anybody says, “that doesn’t work”, it doesn’t really matter to him. That counts for the good (catchy riffs and refrains, crazy stories etc) and the less convincing things he releases (sometimes still too experimental). But to be fair, I always prefer someone like him who may be doing slightly too crazy stuff to artists who have been releasing the same records for 30 years with no real changes or new ideas.
Curse of the Crystal Coconut shows us Alestorms strengths, with a good shot of Bowes weirdness. Where other bands put their focus on being liked, Alestorm is pure fun. Only one thing counts for me in the future: when Covid-19 is beaten and the Pirate Ship sails again through Europe and boards the festivals, I will be there and drinking a whole lot of Corona Beer.
“Treasure Chest Party Quest“
“Pirate Metal Drinking Crew“