I was questioning everything I'd heard about this band until about half way through "Heavy Metal Pirates," and then somehow it all clicked. Give the next descriptions their due as I'm not trying to be mean and it all works out in a big way in the end. On first listen, "Leviathan" was okay, the musicianship actually is pretty good. But you get a strange mixture of about four rhyming lyrics and jarring groups of lines ending with "beast," "tail," "name," "grail," / "head," "hell," "morning," "flame," and others. On one hand, it was kind of foolishly cool just to throw lyrics in there and let everyone have their WTF? moment. And another WTF? with a weirdly moaning "oh-oh-oh" refrain." "Wolves of the Sea" was neat, but it sounded a lot like things I used to hear on Saturday morning cartoons. And "Weiber und Wein" was pretty good musically, actually it was d**n good musically, but I couldn't understand a thing they were singing. And then "Heavy Metal Pirates" opens with the worst of metal conventions (over-the-top singing trying to sound metal tough, peeling guitars), but then all of a sudden Chistopher Bowes opens this song up with a keyboard solo that is out of this world. And that's when it all clicked. And I've listened to this thing about twenty times since in just a few days. And I've been noticing all the stuff I didn't notice the first time around. The double bass drums and the keyboard work that leads into the gloomy tone-shift in "Leviathan," the time shifts in nearly all the songs, the awesome militaristic drumbeat opening to "Weiber und Wein" and its practically Scottish rhythms, and the corny tavern music that sounds like bad Red Lobster muzak fare but in the context of "Wolves of the Sea" gives it a maturity and thoughtfulness that it would lack without it. I don't know how, but I've listened to his over and over and over since. Every thing Bowes sings with his pirate cant is awesome, Lasse Lamert and Gavin Harper have some fine guitar work here, and Dani Evans and Migo Wagner provide a consant bass-drum core throughout the EP. One testament to Alestorm's genius is the way they take the way too painfully Euro Eurovision "Wolves of the Sea" piece by Pirates of the Sea (a group of Swedish peformers who wrote the song to represent Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest of 2008 that was held in Serbia) and turn it into a credible metal piece instead of leaving it as some sort of modern day too-blue take on, if I may say so, The Village People. (If you don't believe me, check out the differences between the Pirates of the Sea and Alestorm version of this song on you tube. Everybody's privileged to their own taste, but I think most everybody will agree that Alestorm strengthened this song for the better.) All in all, this is a blazing EP by a new band that's doing things like nobody else's pirate business. Soon, if they're not already, these guys are going to be pulling the big shows. Before that, just enjoy this uniquely metal voyage of discovery.