If ever the world needed a dose of silliness to escape the very real sense of impending doom, it’s now, so Alestorm’s sixth album really couldn’t come at a better time. Produced with the utmost attention to detail and brimming with catchy songs, Curse Of The Crystal Coconut is another gem in the Scots’ steadily improving repertoire of jolly, foul-mouthed metal shanties that go far beyond the confines of gimmickry.
Without doubt there are moments when Alestorm sail dangerously close to poor taste, but our now-familiar head pirate Christopher Bowes is careful to contain the f-bombs and dick jokes to certain points along the journey. Shit Boat (No Fans) is the obvious choice here, where the raucous crew tell the owners of said shit ship that they can ‘eat a giant bag of dicks’, but thankfully the expletive-fuelled slanging match is not representative of Alestorm’s overall oeuvre. The opening track, Treasure Chest Party Quest, says it all: ‘We’re only here to have fun.’ Like Scraping The Barrel that appeared on their 2011 album, Back In Time, it’s another shot of Alestorm’s brazen self-awareness as they sing ‘We sold out a long time ago’.
Selling out might imply a band on the edge of complacency but Alestorm still take their job seriously. With special guests at their disposal, they’ve adapted folk metal to accommodate modern metal sounds. Tortuga, featuring the vocals of Captain Yarrface of Rumahoy!, is an eye-opening mashup of metal and 90s weed-smoking West Coast rap with an infectious beat, and a starring turn by Finntroll’s Mathias Lillmåns on Chomp Chomp offers a jagged change of pace. But while they explore new directions, the familiar elements of hook-laden, power-driven folk and songs with names like Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship and Pirate Metal Drinking Crew remain Alestorm’s winning recipe for rapscallion-worthy fun.
Alestorm’s Curse Of The Crystal Coconut is out now