ALBUM REVIEW: Alestorm – Curse Of The Crystal Coconut

Release Date: May 29th 2020
Label: Napalm Records


What would’ve been understandable as a one-off Eurovision entry has been stretched out forever, and ever, and ever by pirate metallers, Alestorm. Six albums in, and they aren’t intent on fixing it for ‘Curse Of The Crystal Coconut’. Because it ain’t broke, right?

‘Treasure Chest Party Quest’ sums up most of the album; adequately performed metal with lots of folk instrumentation, and Christopher Bowes‘ gravel-for-breakfast musings about drinking and how great being a pirate is. Oh, and the random sound of a dog barking. Hilarious. Truly side-splitting stuff, guys.

‘Tortuga’ is the band’s attempt at mixing club-friendly trap with their signature pirate metal, and you almost want to commend them for making something that irritatingly bangs on the walls of your headspace. The scary thing is, this could’ve actually been a novelty hit single twenty years ago.

‘Call Of The Waves’ is as close as the band get to a serious song, and ‘Pirate’s Scorn’ has an admittedly impressive guitar solo. They appear in some instances on other songs, but that’s the only merit that you can find. You want to imagine this music without folk instruments and pirate themes, because this would expose Alestorm as having absolutely nothing to say.

You want to let the first half of the record slide, until ‘Shit Boat (No Fans)’ enters the fray, which is when it becomes genuinely beneath contempt. Choice lyrics in this ditty include “Your pirate ship can eat a giant bag of dicks.” Oh, no! Alestorm‘s fictitious foes will have to rebuild their entire boat now, because this merry band of Peter Pans have deemed it surplus to requirements in the most withering terms. The random dog-barking sound returns for ‘Pirate Metal Drinking Crew’ as well, sending your eyes rolling so fast that your eye muscles may be at risk of injury.

But the true low point arrives in the form of ‘Wooden Leg, Part 2 (The Woodening)’, a continuation of 2014’s ‘Wooden Leg’. This song sees our protagonist attempt to avenge his severed limbs by murdering the people responsible for this predicament, even bringing the ethnicity of the offenders into question coupled with some classy stereotyping (“Die, you Japanese bastards/I don’t even like sushi”? Yikes. Try explaining that to HR, guys). When a song is eight minutes long, there’s potential for it to reveal multiple layers, and it certainly does; this self-indulgent, pointless, utterly contrived number is less of a song, and more of an elaborate exercise in how long you can sniff your own farts for. It’s possible to make knowingly daft music and not resort to the most puerile, surface-level humour, too.

Alestorm are clearly not meant to be taken seriously, but when you could name dozens of bands that are far more deserving of Alestorm‘s popularity, it just goes to show that the idea that we live in a meritocracy is one of the greatest lies ever perpetrated on the public. ‘Curse Of The Crystal Coconut’ is one of many examples of hollow, empty vessels having the most loudest, unbearable resonations.