ALBUM REVIEW: Blazon Stone – Damnation

While Blazon Stone’s sixth full-length continues down their established path of Running Wild emulation, it’s also the first they’ve released as a full-fledged band. In contrast to past albums that had bandleader Cederick Forsberg recording most of the instruments himself with whoever was available to sing at a given time, Damnation (Stormspell Records) sees him just sticking to the guitars this time around. A completely new lineup has been assembled that includes a new singer, a new drummer, and even Crystal Viper bandmate Marta Gabriel on bass duties.

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EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Grimgotts – “Rise Again” Lyric Video

Epic Power Metaller pirates Grimgotts have shared a new single and lyric video today for their new sing;e “Rise Again”! Originally formed in 2015 as a Harry Potter parody outfit, Grimgotts has since graduated into their own original fantasy realm: the mythical land of Andria. Their well-received albums Lions of the Sea (2017) and Dragons of the Ages (2019), and their just-released EP Tales in May all chronicled epic battles between men and dragons on Andria’s high seas. Now on the eve of releasing the EP Sagas, due out on August 14th, 2020. Watch the lyric video for “Rise Again” now!  Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEWS: Alestorm – Curse Of The Crystal Coconut – Napalm Records

We’re only here to have fun, get drunk and make loads of money!”. Thus begins the admirably honest chorus to ‘Treasure Chest Party Quest’ the latest Alestorm party anthem, which opens latest album Curse of the Crystal Coconut (Napalm Records). Continue reading

Alestorm Shares New Video – “Treasure Chest Party Quest”, New Album Due Next Month

 Pirate Party metallers Alestorm have shared a new single and video, ‘Treasure Chest Party Quest’!This is the first track from their upcoming album Curse of the Crystal Coconut due out May 29 via Napalm Records. Pre-orders are live now at the link below. Watch the hilarious clip now! Continue reading

Dun Ringill – Welcome

It may sound like a whimsical name for a quaint English country cottage but Dun Ringill has a far more serious pedigree, its members grouped from the ranks of Doomdogs and The Order Of Israfel among others. Debut album Welcome (Argonauta Records) drags influence from Nordic Folk as well as other more eccentric fields, while retaining something of a Stoner groove.Continue reading

Piratefest: Alestorm – Rumahoy – Dread Crew Of Oddwood At The O2 Kentish Town Forum

On a bitterly cold Thursday night, you generally don’t expect to see a crowd of Pirates in central London. But Piratefest is in town, and the sold-out O2 Kentish Town Forum was descended upon by more eye-patches and plastic swords than you can shake a peg leg at. Luckily the venue had stocked up with enough Kraken and Coke to keep everyone happy.Continue reading

Running Wild – Blazon Stone, Pile Of Skulls, Black Hand Inn, Masquerade Reissues

If ‘Riding The Storm’ from Death or Glory, the album that closed the first chapter of Running Wild’s career as well as being the chronological end of the first batch of Noise Records/BMG’s reissues, saw the band absolutely perfect their main songwriting style, sixth album Blazon Stone saw them kick off a run of unprecedented consistency and quality. By now armed with a recognisable, cohesive and distinct sound, for the next four albums, Rock n’ Rolf dragged Running Wild to a level of Heavy Metal excellence that, though predictable stylistically, was welcomed with open arms, raised horns and strained voices. During this period, Running Wild became masters at their craft, even if they had not yet perfected the art of the photo shoot (seriously… the Labyrinth style costumes and volumized bouffants have not aged well…)Continue reading

Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea

For you uninitiated, Alestorm is what us pirate loving, rum swilling, sing-a-long hullabalooers listen to. Their newest disk is No Grave But The Sea (Napalm). To be sure, there is some nifty metal and folk music happening here. Alestorm is fun and competent, and that’s a dangerous combination! No Grave But The Sea is Alestorm’s sixth full length album and, in fact, another winner in the pirate metal album genre.Continue reading

AlNamrood – Diaji Al Joor


Saudi Arabian Black Metal? I know. The guys of AlNamrood deserve full marks for merely attempting it, right? When you consider that Melechesh felt forced to depart the allegedly less extreme Israel after fierce opposition to their fiery output, these fellas must have been shitting themselves at times. And Diaji Al Joor (Shaytan) is their fifth album…

If those new to the band are guessing at some nasty old ranting with a middle-eastern influence, you’re on the right path: mystical sounds course through the album, with the percussion of ‘Zamjara Alat’ possessing a hollow tone and augmenting the exotic winds. It’s this blend of such haunting beauty with a sinister horror that grabs the ears from the outset and the eerie, scene-setting opener ‘Dahleen’ is adorned with Arabian chanting and the stirring pipes which grace the region’s music.

There’s an element of the theatrical and (whisper it) comedic about certain aspects: Humbaba’s vocal delivery is a crazed, blustering shout rather than the expected evil rasp; and the swerving riff of ‘Hawas Wa Thuar’ is augmented by what appears to be the sporadic bursts of kazoos. It’s a little like Hail Spirit Noir finding Khaleeji Folk: that outfit’s mad switch of obsidian MOR given a hefty Asian groove in the infectious melodies of ‘Ejhaph’, the album’s rough production and those angry bellows adding an almost Pirate metal, ‘singalong’ element to proceedings.

Those indigenous rhythms and instruments add wads of intrigue and originality to the fire however, and it’s here where the strength of the album lies. Despite a ferocious riff and vocal ‘Adghan’ would be merely a bizarre, Doom-laden take on Rotting Christ without those enlivening Eastern overlays. Here is a true melding of cultural styles and this makes for a curiously joyous experience.

Many will undoubtedly dismiss this as Extreme metal novelty or, even worse, worthy of attention for bravery alone, which would be a travesty because there’s real gravity and a stunning inventive ability at work alongside the rampant hostility. Together with those wonderfully hypnotic melodies, this makes Diaji Al Joor enthralling and, in a ‘mad genius’ way, quite brilliant.





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Alestorm – Sunset on the Golden Age



Scotland’s favourite purveyors of Pirate Metal, Alestorm, have once again sailed into port with a new album, Sunset on the Golden Age (Napalm). Keeping a shtick going after four albums is no easy task, but Alestorm do a fair job at showing there’s some life in the old sea dog yet.


Captained by Christopher Bowes (vocals & keytar) and his merry crew (Dani Evans – guitars, Gareth Murdock – bass, Elliot Vernon – keyboards and Peter Alcorn – drums), Alestorm have always had their critics and with Sunset on the Golden Age they’ve made an album that shows them at their best and worst.


The album’s lead single ‘Drink’ is the typical feel-good shanty you expect from the band with lyrics about alcohol, folky tones and shout-a-long choruses, it’s addictively catchy and good fun. Other early tracks such as ‘Walk The Plank’ and ‘Magnetic North’ are great, combining those folk elements with bombastic horns resulting in some of the most energetic music they’ve made in a while. Back Through Time‘s ‘Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid’ showed that the band could mix their Rum & Cutlass style with serious musical chops, and there’s a couple of moments on where they show the same of musical aspirations here.


The self-titled closing track is an ambitious 11-minute beast, while ‘1741 (The Battle Of Cartagena)’ is easily the musical highpoint. A seven-minute multi-part epic, it shows the band have more to offer than gimmicks and can compete with the likes of Turisas and Korpiklaani when they want to. Sadly it’s mostly downhill from here.


‘Wooden Leg’ is a short sharp thrust of hardcore punk given a pirate makeover, while tracks such as ‘Surf Squid Warfare’ and ‘Mead from Hell’ add almost thrash elements to mix. While they aren’t terrible, they don’t stand up to the focus and quality of the first half of the record. Alestorm have a history of cheesy pop covers, and, depending on your point of view, their latest cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Hangover’ is either a genius or downright awful. Horribly catchy, but sounding like a Nu-Metal meets Ibiza pop song, it’s completely at musical odds with the rest of the album but no doubt destined to become a sing along classic.


Though enjoyable, Sunset on the Golden Age is a mixed affair. It swings from high quality booty to Pirates of the Caribbean-esque clichés and cheap jokes, and generally lacks cohesion or consistency, much like a rum-soaked pirate in many respects. It won’t change your view on the band, but if you liked previous jaunts, this could just be the ship for you.




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