Following in the wake of buccaneering German pirate-metallers Running Wild, Scotland's Alestorm emerged in 2007 with a boozy blend of power metal and hard rock that looked to the high seas for inspiration. Their humor and swashbuckling melodies, which often evoke sea shanties and traditional English, Irish, and Scottish folk songs, first found favor with European audiences, with 2009's Black Sails at Midnight making a strong showing in Germany. The band achieved international success with the release of their fourth long-player, 2014's Sunset on the Golden Age, which debuted at number seven on the U.S. Heatseekers charts, and have continued to proudly fly the Jolly Roger on subsequent efforts like No Grave But the Sea (2017) and Curse of the Crystal Coconut (2020).
Originally known as Battleheart, Alestorm formed in their original (pre-nautical) phase in 2004. As Battleheart, the group was initially a duo formed by Gavin Harper (guitar) and Christopher Bowes (vocals and keyboards), and recorded its first EP (a self-titled affair) in 2006. Over the course of the next year, feeling the need to bring their sound to the people of Scotland, Battleheart expanded to a four-piece with the addition of bassist Dani Evans and drummer Doug Swierczek. The new crew recorded another EP soon after, entitled Terror on the High Seas, and the buzz helped land a song from the release on Metal Hammer magazine's Battle Metal V compilation. Later that year, in 2007, the bandmembers -- after signing with Napalm Records -- decided to change their name to further the cause of their swashbuckling brand of metal, settling on Alestorm. Eventually, the lineup coalesced a bit more, with Ian Wilson bringing stability to the drummer position, and Alestorm released their debut album, Captain Morgan's Revenge, in early 2008. The band toured the United States later that year with fellow folk-metal giants Týr and Heidevolk before releasing its second full-length, Black Sails at Midnight, in spring 2009. They further cemented their reputation for grog-hoisting pirate-themed metal over the next five years by releasing two albums, 2011's Back Through Time and 2014's Sunset on the Golden Age, the latter of which found success both at home and abroad. A year later, their fourth album guitarist, Dani Evans, left the group; he was eventually replaced by Máté Bodor (Wisdom), who made his first recorded appearance on their fifth studio album, 2017's well-received No Grave But the Sea. The band decamped to Thailand with longtime producer Lasse Lammert for their sixth full-length effort, 2020's Curse of the Crystal Coconut, which trafficked in the usual blend of seaworthy metal, folk, and hard rock, while even dabbling in some pirate rap-metal. ~ Chris True