Back Through Time

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Back Through Time is the third studio effort from self-styled "pirate metal" outfit Alestorm. The Scottish four-piece specialize in mixing traditional power metal with traditional folk instruments, sea shanty-style melodies, and buccaneering imagery, and Back Through Time continues on where the 2009 breakthrough album Black Sails at Midnight left off. As befits a group who dress in full pirate regalia and sing about imagined adventures on the high seas, they're not lacking in humor or self-awareness. The title track kicks the album off with frenetic DragonForce-style riffing and a yarn about a pirate ship sent back to a time when Vikings ruled the seas: "You put your faith in Odin and Thor/We put ours in cannons and whores/Your Viking gods won't save you now/When pirates strike from the starboard bow." "Scraping the Barrell" cleverly mixes pirate imagery with sardonic meta-analysis, keenly aware that their style of music isn't seen to have much of a shelf life: "There are no more tales to be told/No more stories of battles of old/Now it seems our journey has come to an end/We are scraping the barrel, my friend." The catchiest track on the record, "The Sunk'n Norwegian," is a straight-up drinking song built on a whistle and accordion melody, while the deluxe edition of the album features a cover of "You Are a Pirate" from the children's TV show Lazy Town. Back Through Time offers little stylistic variation on its predecessors -- and in that sense the band could be seen as "scraping the barrel" -- however, the energy and vitality that the group bring to their unique corner of the metal world, along with a handful of contagious melodies, ensure that Back Through Time registers as the Perth act's strongest and most consistent record to date.

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