Tag Archives: Beards

Alestorm – Back In Time

There’s something to be said for a band that knows exactly how silly they are, exactly what the audience is expecting, and exactly how to play to their strengths and limitations. Such is the case with the keytar-toting Scotsmen formerly known as Battleheart: it’s really hard to hate a band that devotes an entire track to describing how they plan to milk this Pirate-Metal thing for all its worth (“Scraping the Barrel“), and several more to their dear, dear love of alcohol (“Rum“, “I Am A Cider Drinker“, every other track). Back Through Time, with its pair of Viking-themed tracks and awesome cover art, might get you thinking this is Alestorm’s inevitable concept album: it isn’t. While unified by slick production values, a hook-based chanty style and – of course – lyrical content, Back Through Time runs away from itself after the introductory track – a clear symptom of a band having far too much fun with puns and revelry to worry about backing up their time-traveling framework with anything more substantial. That is completely okay: Back Through Time is perfectly comfortable as an infectious and unexpectedly hilarious action-film of an album.

Sometimes that’s all we really need.


Originally published in The Peak, June 2011.

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Monotonix – Not Yet

Clocking in at just 32 minutes, Monotonix’s second full-length combines the frenzied, tour-ravaged vocals of singer Ami Shalev, the fuzzed-out chug of guitarist Yonatan Gat and manic tempos of drummer Haggai Fershtman into a cyclone of screeching rock. Energy is in no short supply here; start to finish the tempos of Not Yet barely ever drop below break-neck, and no track is ever disguised as anything less than fodder for the fire-starting drink-stealing chaos of their fabled live shows. Let there be no confusion: this is music for throwing parties, kicking over garbage cans and spilling beers. Thankfully, the Isreali trio is wise enough to never let the chaos get in the way of songwriting. Each track is a controlled burn, and the illusion of hectic monotony (hah!) quickly gives way to an array of strong riffs and scream-able choruses (“Before I Pass Away” is in my head, and it isn’t going anywhere). Not Yet is truth in album-art advertising: three bearded guys playing stripped down garage rock that’s clever enough to know when to quit and unpretentious enough to leave the audience happily exhausted.


Originally published in The Peak, February 2011. 

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