A few years ago you may have thought that the idea of Pirates and Metal mixing into an unholy concoction of awesome would be absolutely preposterous. Then a couple of scallywags, led by the infamous Captain Christopher Bowes, berthed Alestorm, that one band of Scottish-Irish drunkards who successfully brought the Pirate Metal scene to the mainstream. While there are a few other pirate metal bands out there, and a growing number of pirate garage (shipyard?) bands that are springing up in local communities, none have been able to top Alestorm in popularity.
Today I will be reviewing a demo tape (literally a cassette tape) from Rumahoy, the World’s Best True Scottish Pirate Metal band. Even if the music is complete bollocks, their name alone irks me to give this demo a high score.
Album: Yarr 2012 Demo
Release: August 15, 2012
I am in fact a huge Alestorm fan, so that would obviously give me a clear bias when tackling this review. However, after taking a look at Rumahoy’s backstory, I understood that these guys wouldn’t just be another power metal band with a pirate theme. They hail from Auchtermuchty, an ancient village that has upheld a great deal of history. Fans of The Proclaimers should be familiar with Auchtermuchty. Captain Yarrface, the band’s presumable frontman, wished to create a band where he could combine the rich history and musical heritage of his ancestors, with the power of folk metal, creating a genre which is best summed up as “heritagecore.”
The demo starts with “Oceans of Treasure,” which begins with a really epic melodic introduction. After a mighty AHOY! the song sails into a power metal chorus that makes ye want to gather yer mates and rum…unless you can’t handle the cheesiness of the lyrics. At this point it was hard for me to decide if there is a hint of satire, or if these guys are just cheesy by nature.
“Digging for Rum” is a wacky track that has a treasure trove of folk influences with a distinct violin/fiddle and an almost mouth harp-like guitar twang. Once again the vocal style makes me think that this is a parody band.
The next track “Questing Upon the High Seas” shows a lot of promise with its glorious drum beats from Swashbuckling Pete, epic choirs, and galloping riffs. The vocals are fitting, powerful, and fun. The song takes samples from various pirate films and incorporates them like narratives, which adds an exterior atmosphere to the song. About midway, the song shifts into murky water, with a dark and foreboding vibe, courtesy of the keyboard. The song ends with a sample from Pirates of the Caribbean which should be familiar to everyone.
The last track on the demo is “Ahoy, Wenches!” Immediately two Alestorm songs came to mind before I pressed play: Wenches and Mead and Rum. The former simply because of the namesake, and the latter because of the gnarly AHOY! in the chorus line. However upon pressing play I found something completely different. In a Thrashy, almost early years Black Metal sound, the guitars crash in with a grungy groove. Captain Yarrface introduces each member of the band. The Ahoy! Ahoy!, Wenches Ahoy! chant is fun to go along with but the song just dies. It sounds like the guitars are slowly detuning themselves, Yarrface forgot what his voice sounds like, and the drums just play some mellow beat. Then the chorus starts back up and fades away. I’m not too sure about this track altogether. It’s fun, and then it’s not. I like it, then I don’t.
All in all, very interesting demo to say the least. It definitely wasn’t bad, but there are quite a few times where I couldn’t tell if these guys are actually serious about the songs, despite their apparent love for their Scottish heritage. ”Questing Upon the High Seas” is track you won’t want to ignore however, so the demo is worth checking out. The band has not indicated when the demo will be available, if at all, so keep up with them on Facebook.
- Oceans of Treasure
- Digging for Rum
- Questing Upon the High Seas
- Ahoy, Wenches!
CAPTAIN YARRFACE – Vocals
BOOTSMAN WALKTHEPLANK – Guitars
CABIN BOY TREASUREQUEST – Bass
SWASHBUCKLING PETE – Drums