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Even if Alestorm of today only comprises one original member they totally stay true to their old game with songs mainly about piracy, alcohol and partying. Is it like they follow the band's tradition to such an extent that they are repeating themselves too much? Not really, because it's not like a carbon copy of the past, but still, if someone would say that the band simply comes out with 10 new song texts over an already existing ground of heavy/power/folk metal, I wouldn't say that that person is completely wrong, if you know what I mean?
After a pair of records that haven't really been so good in general, the band has now been able to return to a higher standard in terms of song quality and maybe they have taken a glance at the old material song melody-wise to find out what made those songs far more attractive than the recent stuff. In particular they have once again raised the bar significantly in the chorus department, which absolutely is one of the most important factors for a party band like this to have in order to reach the fans in best possible way and if a band like this doesn't have the words that people can sing along to on the live shows it will certainly mean trouble sooner or later and the band's whole existence would ultimately be threatened more or less.
None of us has ever heard the voice of a pirate of the Caribbean in the 17th or 18th century, yet movies and television have built a strong image around it and vocalist Chris Bowes definitely benefits from that supposed tone of voice and gets the whole thing come out right, even if he doesn't possess any kind of beautiful voice in the first place. With assistance from choirs alongside or in the background and the right mood they are in the end even able to put together something fairly good vocal-wise after all.
I am the first to admit that I don't know the sound and the name of every instrument existing on this planet, but I guess just to get the pirate feeling over it they have decided to put some vibrating noise that makes my speakers rattle to the some of the songs and that is extremely annoying indeed and sort of destroys a few of the verses and some chorus. It's like they have put a cloth inside of a brass instrument and the sound gets trapped inside, but the vibration comes out, and I think it's remarkable that this shit wasn't erased in the mixing process at some point.
Apart from this mishap Alestorm now kind of gets up on 9 and I think that this one is their best effort in years and quite a few of the songs absolutely have what it takes to make the throats of their fans sore. No Grave But The Sea is a high caliber party record that I think will be much appreciated by the fanbase and I see the band as revitalized and fresh again and ready for the quest to conquer the high seas one more time.