Captain Black Beard: Captain Black Beard

Swedish shavers’ solid debut.

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First things first. Vocalist/ guitarist Sakaria Björklund might sport an impressive set of murky bristles on his chin, but Captain Black Beard are categorically not a band of pirate metalists. So if you’re a peg-legged Alestorm fan, hobble away now.

These Swedish swashbucklers actually play an idiosyncratic brand of melodic pop metal that has its roots the lighter side of the NWOBHM (Black Axe, Paralex, Sabre).

Star of the show is guitarist Fredrik Svensson, who’s as much at home delivering a jangling shower of notes as a searing solo. Bandmate Björklund might not be the greatest singer in the world but his enthusiasm and distinctive phraseology more than compensate.

Each of the album’s 11 songs is mightily memorable but there are three standouts: rip-roaring opener Hey Man; the elegiac Rock Is My Life (‘bourbon my fuel’ taking a creditable second place); and Rockin’ Body, a cheeky paean to a girl with ‘a drink in her hand and a nice tan’.

What more could a man want?

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.