In an administrative oversight that’s a combination of letting the lunatics run the asylum, a fat kid choose his diet in a chocolate factory, and an AA experiment where everyone is told to drink themselves sober, our trusted leaders at AMG have, for some reason that will forever remain in the abyss of the unknown, decided it was a good idea to let yours truly review Alestorm’s latest. For those unaware, it’s called No Grave but the Sea, and is the follow-up to the masterful, magisterial, and award-winning Sunset on the Golden Age. Spoiler: it’s fantastic, and I’m writing this, in the true spirit of Alestorm, solely while under the influence. As such, this may be the last you’ll ever hear from old Diabolus, so I sincerely wish all of you the best. May your hearts overflow with joy and cups overflow with mead.

While just writing “orgasmic” is a lot easier than describing Alestorm’s sound in the flowery prose required – nay, demanded – of me, I’m not (not) paid the big bucks to be a hack. Alestorm, especially here and on Sunset, have truly become a folk metal band. They sound like a competent metal band covering a bunch of great folk songs, but they’re all originals. Unlike the Pop Goes Punk series, where there are twice as many misses as hits on the best day, all of Alestorm’s folk songs are meticulously tailored to their metal accoutrements, making for a scintillating combination of the two genres with folk as the base and metal as the special sauce. This is simply fun-loving, apolitical, and downright celebratory music made for everyone to enjoy. Unlike the usually motivational Hatebreed’s moronic turn towards socialism and the soporific pretensions of “smart” bands like The Faceless, this is joyful music to bring new and old friends together in fun and familiarity, albeit in a more effective sense than the pop culture reference carpet bombing of newer Fall Out Boy.

It’s impossible to pick a favourite here, because Alestorm have gone and crafted a near-perfect record again. “Mexico” isn’t leaving anyone’s head for a long time, and the beautiful camaraderie of “Rage of the Pentahook” will surely warm the heart of anyone with friends. The title track is an energetic and catchy opener that’s new and exciting yet still immediately familiar; upon first hearing it, I found myself singing the chorus the second time it rolled around as if I’d known the song for years. “Alestorm” is a great song in the mold of Sunset’s “Drink,” gleefully diving full bore into the raucous party vibe that Alestorm’s tremendous live shows are made of. Like Sunset, No Grave is sequenced brilliantly: “Alestorm” is followed by the “Wild Rover”-inspired “Bar und Ibiss,” which slows things down a bit at the perfect time. “Man the Pumps” is essentially “Pirate Song” 2.0, which is fine because that song was stupendous the first time around and Alestorm’s songwriting has improved immensely since Black Sails at Midnight.

Like the venerated, vivacious, and velvety voice of Jorn, there is nothing to gripe about here so I’ll just continue saying nice things about No Grave but the Sea. If you like ridiculous drinking songs, “Pegleg Potion” brings the most absurd recipe to the bar I’ve ever heard over an incredibly catchy and coherent instrumental. The only downside is that unlike Tech N9ne’s legendary “Caribou Lou,” you can’t actually make the drink yourself. “Treasure Island” takes up the mantle as a closing epic in the vein of Sunset’s title track, managing its time a bit more effectively but toning down the bombast a wee bit. Its sombre acoustic outro ends No Grave on a well-earned emotional note, their best ode to the more mournful side of folk on the record.

Like DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Snoop Dogg, all Alestorm does is win. Given where this stands next to Sunset (essentially right beside it), Alestorm have probably gone and made the Record o’ the Year once again, crafting a collection of unforgettable tunes that are endlessly enjoyable and spectacularly written as to never get old. Eliot Vernon’s keyboards once again compliment the songs in a huge way, adding a layer of depth to the compositions of keytarist/vocalist Chris Bowes, who has improved his singing voice once again and made the tunes here even better. Production is big, loud, and clear, which suits the music perfectly.

If you’re tired of politicization, pretension, polarization, and vapidity, crack a beer and throw on No Grave but the Sea. I felt like Madonna in the not repugnant and decrepit sense: every listen was just as fresh as the first time. If I’m somehow not canned by year’s end, expect this to be number one on my list.1


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: alestorm.net | facebook.com/alestormband
Releases Worldwide: May 26th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Diabolus will now be going on a non-suspicious sabbatical of indeterminate length as he marries the sea.

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  • El_Cuervo

    die

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      heyo mr fun hows the weather

      • El_Cuervo

        You wouldn’t think it but it’s extraordinary this week. Above 25 in London the entire week!

    • Grymm

      I can’t stop laughing at your comment.

      I mean, technically, I CAN stop laughing at it, but I won’t because it’s expertly worded and crafted. Excellent work.

      • Name’s Dalton

        “Die” as everyone knows is German for “the,” as in DIE ALESTORM DIE.

        • Kryopsis

          “No one who speaks German can be an evil man!”

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Is that a quote by Hitler? Goebbels?

        • Sideshow Fucking Bob!! Nice drop!!!

        • John Mosley

          Ale Sturm und Drang

        • Jukka Alanen

          So Alestorm is feminine, seems legit.

      • Notice too the lack of caps. The nuance is wonderful. El C never disappoints.

        • Grymm

          One word, yet so many, many layers…

          • He is like an onion.

          • El_Cuervo

            This is going to be my new tinder profile description.

            Even us metalheads need love.

          • Grymm

            El Cuervo: Angry Metal Onion.

          • I like it.

          • Grymm

            It’s got legs… er, rings.

        • El_Cuervo

          Thanks I appreciate it. The careful absence of punctuation was intentional to really illustrate my point

          • You sir are a poet.

          • El_Cuervo

            that’s funny cos poetry was my least favourite part of literature for my degree

          • But it comes so natural to you.

          • El_Cuervo

            skill can be taught but talent is natural. What more can I say?

    • Eli Valcik

      #notmymetal

    • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

      This should have been the featured comment.

  • ssorg

    Oh man… time to get some popcorn and sit here a while

  • The dream is over.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s just getting started!

  • André Snyde Lopes

    And you’re all just lucky this wasn’t a 5.0.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    Is that you, Happy Metal Guy? Did you go all invasion of the body snatchers on Diabolus!?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’ll tell you after my gnarly White Wizzard patch collection is done taking up my whole denim vest.

      • Drew Music

        So… You won’t tell us?
        …and you’re telling us that you won’t tell us that you are or aren’t you???

    • Shawn Cypher

      Aw, I miss Happy Metal Guy!

  • Guts Berserk

    Is that Weird Al on vocals?

    • ActualBastard

      Weird Ale. Sorry.

  • mindbleach

    I love Alestorm. They’re the rare gimmick band who are good enough to actually be more than just a gimmick – take away all the piratey silliness and you’ve still got some solid music. I’d love to see them tackle a concept album or something at some point – as amusing as the silly songs are, whenever they do an epic they genuinely knock it out of the park.

    • Dethjesta

      That is the magic of Alestorm, they’re superb at what they do. It just so happens that they portray themselves in a very lighthearted manner.

      Christopher Bowes is a man who knows how to write super catchy metal.

    • Dynamo11

      Back Through Time is as close as they’ve come to a true concept album.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    NO

    • manimal

      If I may ask, what is a brutalist receptacle? Sounds like Lavrenti Beria and Yagoda discussing extramural activities..

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        You may. Brutalist: an architectural school with béton brut (“raw concrete”) as its namesake and primary material. Receptacle: an object or space used to contain something.

        • GardensTale

          In layman’s terms, it’s a concrete box.

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            NO.

          • [not a Dr]

            it’s the place where you store architectural schools primarily made of béton brut.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            He means a garbage container made of concrete slabs.

      • John Mosley

        My ex-wife is a brutalist receptacle

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          WE KNOW

    • I’m with Mr. Receptacle.

      • Westpaceagle

        It is our most modestly priced receptacle…

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Was expecting a 5.5, Diabolus.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I have to do 25 cred-destroyer reviews in a row to be able to unleash that sort of firepower on the site’s credibility!

  • The Akerstache

    Honestly I expected more from you Diabolus.

    Copying and pasting the White Wizzard review and claiming it as your own? Not cool dude, not cool.

  • Reese Burns

    It’s alright, Diabolus, no one’s perfect.

  • VikingSchism

    I think all that needed to be said is “it’s Alestorm”

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      But I’d still need 748 more words to go before the 4.5!

  • Sean Sky

    I really wish this was a 5.0 just for the shitstorm

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      So does that mean “ale” = “shit”?

      • Drew Music

        No, no, you’re thinking of “people”
        Ale is wonderful.

  • Canuck Ben

    AHOY!!! Time to open my new “diplomatico“ bottle of rum!

    • ssorg

      A bit sweet and sticky for my tastes… a bit like Alestorm.

    • Mr Banden

      I am almost out of Ron Zacapa, and I am too damned broke to buy another bottle. :'(

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I’m only upvoting you because I know “Diplomatico” Rum!

  • The Nerd.

    This pleases me. I needed some delightfully cheesy music and this is going to hit that spot just right.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Arr. ..a swashbuckling soundtrack for sordid summer sorees!

  • Ferrous Beuller

    I knew I shouldn’t have left that microwavable Poseur Pocket in the office kitchen…

  • I, for one, welcome our new pirate overlords.

  • Diego Molero

    This is fun music, but that’s about it. A 3.0, nothing more.

  • tomasjacobi

    I love this album and I haven’t even listened to it yet!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      You’ll love it even more when you do!

  • Dethjesta

    This will, without doubt, be my first listen tomorrow morning.

    Also, I’ll need rum, lots of rum. Kraken, I think.

    • Grymm

      Kraken is SO GOOD.

      • Eli Valcik

        Captain.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Always Kraken! Or Baron Samedi, that’s good rum too. Or any rum from Firefly Distillery in SC. Um…lots of times Kraken!

    • h_f_m

      Blackwell

  • Excentric_13073

    I read the intro, and was like “NO HE DIDANT”, immediately scrolled to the bottom of the review, and breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Eldritch Elitist

    I don’t understand. There aren’t any dogs on this thing at all!

    • Iain Gleasure

      I thought you guys didn’t get bonus albums?

      • Eldritch Elitist

        We got the special edition of the new DragonForce with bonus tracks, actually. I didn’t mention them in my review because I don’t consider them part of the album proper.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I got the dog version in the mail, it’s downright hilarious.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Diabolus, you may have been summarily fined again but at least you gave us AOTY, and ROTM for April AND May.

    • This.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’m going to try for June too!

      • Iain Gleasure

        So I meant to say fired not fined but I imagine the idea got through.

        Ah well, Let’s go to Mexico!

  • Eli Valcik

    I’ve never been too big into this kind of power metal, I’ve prefer bands like Sumerlands, Eternal Champion and Sellsword when it comes to the genera. But this album is quite fun.

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Wow, they timed this with Pirates 5 so they can sink at the same time.

  • I’d like to speak to the Captain about this.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      That’s me! Speak freely First Mate Steele.

      • You’ve been promoted. Your new title is Rear Admiral of Nu Metal. Please report to your new assignment

        • Drew Music

          I’ve never been so sad for an internet acquaintance in my life.

  • Andrija

    Bacon Powered Pirate-Core?

    • tim.o

      First thing I noticed and it made me chuckle.

  • HippieOfDeath

    But I refuse!

  • euthanatos

    This might be the most fascinating review I’ve ever read. No, not on this website. I mean ever.

  • Akerblogger

    Everyone is being too respectful. Where’s the outrage? I demand outrage!!

    • Drew Music

      I think many of the less refined amongst our ranks may have channeled their rage into newly-broken digital devices and are thusly unable to contribute to the rabble-rousing at this time. Some may have even jumped ship.
      The rest of us simply understand that this, too, shall pass. There’s brutality somewhere over the horizon, matey, I can feel it in me bones. Just weather the ‘storm.

  • Mephisto

    Harhar! Mutiny!

  • Yarr, she blows!

    • Hulksteraus

      International talk like a pirate day is not till September. Please cease and desist until September 19…

  • Zach Ward

    “Rage of the Pentahook will surely warm the heart of anyone with friends.” Discriminating against those without friends aye?? I’m offended.

  • Flämmer

    But I thought we had all agreed to dislike Alestorm…Is this for cereal?

  • Mollusc

    The Wife likes the embedded track and I trust her implicitly and defer to her on all matters of taste.

  • chitownproud85

    Life is good, and so is Alestorm. Amazing review Diabolus

  • undead_toaster

    This review makes me happy and I imagine the album will as well

  • Norpal Nordickson

    All the way through the review I was half expecting it to turn out to be sarcasm and end with “No but seriously though fuck this band” or something to that effect. I’m still trying to decide whether I’m disappointed or delighted that it didn’t.

    I mean, on one hand it’s nice to see others appreciating Alestorm like I do, but on the other hand it would’ve been really funny.

  • Brian Kelly

    ive only heard the couple music video songs so far, but the problem with the last cd was that 2-3 songs, at least, used virtually the exact same chorus as other previous songs, and the new ‘alestorm’ song combines like 3 previous songs/chorus’ into one, so hopefully the rest of the cd doesnt re-use the same things because repeating songs is the downfall of many bands. aside from that they are one of the very best current bands.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Every Alestorm song is basically the exact same.

  • tim.o

    … yo ho Mexico far to the South where the cactus grow …
    Thank you Mr. D I needed this after a particularly dreadful spring here in the NW. Cheers

  • OzanCan

    Yaşasın taşak metal!!!! I love this band m/

  • Drew Music

    The balls on this one. This album gets a hard pass from me arbitrarily, but I think I take ol’ Diabolus here a bit more seriously now. I don’t envy you for whatever Hell awaits you at the end of the road to dissent.

  • Brent Johnson

    I’m new so I feel like i’m missing something, like I accidentally sat at the cool kids table at lunch. Is this review serious?

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      I’m happy I’m not the only one. I just don’t get the appeal of this band.

      • Brent Johnson

        They’re ok but I can’t make it through more then a couple songs. Too samey.

    • El_Cuervo

      this is a great analogy

      • Brent Johnson

        I still have the scars.

  • Here’s Johnny

    This review is almost as bad as that guy on Blabbermouth.

    Alestorm are cool guys and older albums were great stuff, they really should hang up their cutlasses though. Apart from a couple of songs, this album did nothing for me.

  • Norfair Legend

    I’m just commenting for the comments, wanna be a part of AMG history.

  • Dr. Wvrm

    That video was a slow-motion train wreck. I knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened, but still, I couldn’t look away.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    So Diabolus gets No Grave but the Sea?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    There’s something inherently wrong with keytars, isn’t it?

  • This album needs more dog.

  • SelfIndulgence

    If AMG can have his Gloryhammer you can have this.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    4.5 lol… this has White Wizardgate written all over it :)…

  • Noobhammer

    I applaud you Diabolus for your bravery in speaking the truth about this gloriousness of pirates and mead.

    I hope that, god forbid, if you are cast out to sea with only your wits and straw hat with you, you return with a mighty crew to siege power back as only a true pirate can!

  • Tofu muncher

    4.5/5 for a pirate-metal band that sings about Mexico. I’m sold,

  • a glass o’ milk

    Hell yeah, it’s good.

  • Oberon

    Does this album have a cover song like Hangover, like Sunset?

    4.5 for Alestorm is awesome,

  • Amir Solaymani

    Didn’t these guys used to be Hayseed Dixie?

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    Nice review! In anticipation for this album, I went back and listened to the first 4 albums last week. Captain Morgan’s Revenge, Black Sails At Midnight, and Back Through Time all have their moments, but Sunset On the Golden Age is head and shoulders above them all. FANTASTIC album! Sounds like this album continues the high quality from the last one. This band and Powerwolf are my two “guilty pleasures” when it comes to listening to genres outside of my normal comfort zone.

  • contenderizer

    This is The Wiggles. You like The Wiggles.

  • Oh boy. White Wizzard blunder Pt. 2. I guarantee this album is nowhere near as good as you’ve convinced yourself it is.

    • GardensTale

      That is true, it is far better than that.

  • Patrick W. Dunne

    Fucked by an Anchor might be the song of the year.

  • Nathan Schmidt

    Been spinning the record all day. The vinyl master sounds really good.

  • Flyingguillotine

    I’m really digging it. I still have to give it a few more listens to let it sink it, but so far for me it’s maybe a half-step below the mighty Sunset.

  • Treble Yell

    Ya know, the embedded song ain’t bad.

  • ActualBastard

    “Wow, this is so goofy, glad I don’t like bands like this!”

    “Hmmm, I guess it’s got some merits. The chorus on this song is pretty catchy…”

    “If you think about it, this is no more cheesy than anyy given King Diamond album. Uh oh, this Mexico song is really good.”

    “Shit, am I am Alestorm fan now??”

  • AgonMcDuck

    “Rum, beer, quests and mead
    These are the things that a pirate needs”

    This is gonna be stuck in my head all month now. It’s very much like “Drink” but that’s also a really great song so ¯_(ツ)_/¯. I might even like this one better, idk.

    • Nukenado

      Really? Not to be rude, but I think
      “Fuck you, You’re a fucking wanker, we’re gonna punch you right in the balls”
      and
      “on a dark moonless night, when he least suspects, we’ll creep up behind him so hard to detect, we’ll bring out an anchor by the light of the stars, and shove it in his big fucking arse!” are the most memorable lines in this album.

      Actually, the entire song is ridiculous. But hey, all Alestorm songs are catchy as all hell and smell like a huge pot of fondue.

      • AgonMcDuck

        “Fucked With An Anchor” is good for chuckles, but I find myself drawn to “Alestorm” more. In any case this record is great. It might very well be my May RotM, though I haven’t done a lot of listening to new records this month. orz

        • Nukenado

          I know man. The drums duing the chorus on “Alestorm” is pretty sick.
          My original comment wasmostly for laughs… But Alestorm is really something! This is my first exposure to the band, but what I’ve heard so far sounds insane and I quite like it.

        • Nukenado

          Great. I didn’t get sleep last night due to the chorus of “Alestorm” going on repeat in my brain.
          Damn you Alestorm.

          • AgonMcDuck

            Hahaha! I know that feel.

            Right now, though, I’m really loving “Rage of the Pentahook.” Prolly the best riffs on the whole record. So many great songs on this one.

  • Zerostatic

    Great review for a great album. I thought Alestorm was starting to run empty on Back Through Time but they have shown a lot of improvement and growth as far as songwriting and musicianship with their last two albums.

  • Narumi Ayumu

    It’s a pathetic shitefest through and through, and that’s before you even get to that shitty Fucked By An Anchor song.

    Absolute shite

  • FelixtheMetalcat

    For some reason, this band has always hit the spot with me no matter how cliche or goofy they get. The Mexico video was probably one of my least favorite songs by them but it was still well done. At least consistency has it’s benefits in this case.