Arrrr, tis Pirate Metal, me hearties! These four Scottish scallywags play a heavy brand of Power Metal that'll have you banging your head against the mainmast and shaking your poop deck. Sure we've seen this concept before with the German group Running Wild, but Alestorm devote an entire album to songs of pirates, drinking, wenches and battles instead of one or two songs per album. If you're familiar with the Running Wild song Under Jolly Roger(which if you ask me is still the definitive pirate metal song), imagine that concept and energy throughout a whole album. Not all of the songs are fast, there are a few mid paced tunes and even a good ol' sea shanty thrown in for good measure. Plus, you'll hear an accordion through many of the songs, maintaining that piratey feel. The final song, Flower of Scotland, is the only one that doesn't follow the pirate theme. Alestorm isn't a band that lives off of a gimmick though. This is a band with the talent and know-how to be respected and admired regardless of lyrical content. The songs are very catchy and have great hooks(get it?). Vocalist Christopher Bowes isn't a typical high range Power Metal vocalist, but more gruff and raspy. Sort of like Grave Digger, but less harsh. In fact, it really does sound like a pirate singing! The vocals, while a bit rough, are crystal clear to the point where you might not even need to read the lyric booklet. Speaking of lyrics, these guys seem rather serious in their descriptions of battles at sea, plundering and curses, but they aren't afraid to go a little tongue in cheek as well. With lines like, "With the power of ale, he could not fail" and, "A reign of terror on the seas, we'll bring these poseurs to their knees", you know they're having fun with it all. Bowes is also a good keyboardist, adding a nice progressive tinge to the music. Alestorm's debut hasn't been out too long yet, and they've not yet taken the metal scene by (Ale)storm, but I think it's only a matter of time before these guys are discovered and given their due. So, if you're looking for a smokin' metal album that'll knock your booty right out of the crow's nest, I'd highly recommend this. The only complaint I can really come up with is that I wish it were longer. Henry Morgan would be proud.