Oh wow! A new Alestorm album graces us with its presence and tales of piracy on the high seas! Great fun! This time it’s a play on Maiden’s classic 1988 album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, only it’s titled Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum. Get it, because pirates drink rum? Yeah, I knew you'd get it. So. Seventh Rum very much follows the tried and true formula, though most of it’s just a step down from the first few albums, whose aura Seventh Rum apparently tries to capture. Christopher Bowes is a quality songwriter, as made evident by making power metal fans absolutely jizz their pants over Gloryhammer’s Universe on Fire, a de facto techno tune. He takes it to the next step with P.A.R.T.Y., an absolute disco party anthem complete with Bowes’ own accordion keytars blasting this pirate ship to the next dimension. It’s ridiculous, it’s absolute cheese and it’s plain fun and the guys are clearly having all kinds of fun playing it.
So, while Seventh Rum is a step back to “normalcy” (if such a word exists in the Alestorm dictionary) and definitely less outrageous than the too over the top Curse of the Crystal Coconut, it’s still an Alestorm album, and one that plays it safe rather than attempting anything new. Too safe, to the point of not even trying. The olden days of their discography had their signature sense of humor while still telling epic (well…) stories of piracy on the high seas. Seventh Rum kinda leans to heavily into either one; either they’re trying to tell a serious story or they’re just yanking your balls. Under Blackened Banners might be the outlier, hearkening to old days and with some pompous vocals in the chorus, it brings that fun feeling coupled with flairy power metal they used to do. Honestly, the songwriting is tight as you please. Bowes can, as stated pen a tune and he absolutely will not refrain from putting his own, um… flavors to it. And the musicianship is as can be expected as well. Not great, not terrible. A couple tight ass riffs here and there, (solo in Magellan’s Expedition is fire!), but mostly not much to write home to grandma about. Honestly, grandma deserves better than this.
If anything, Seventh Rum is a lesson in trying too hard. Whatever they’re trying to pull, they’re taking it too far, to the point of redundancy and just not being any of the fun we know the guys are capable of. Cannonball got that video game intro (they done enough of those, call it already) and then the rest of it is just trying to be as offensive as possible - like that’s what Mr. Bowes needs right now - and it fails in every way compared to their offensive “classic” Fucked With an Anchor (no really, they made the comparison themselves). They wanted to play at the Maiden thing with the title and the title track, but all that does is remind of that GOAT album, and how this isn’t even approaching it. Bowes has the songwriting chops (as evident from the three Gloryhammer albums foremost) and if he’d stuck with the Maiden theme – Maiden have made their fair share of sea fairing shanties in the past – it might have gone somewhere. But no. Seventh Rum hits a couple of highs, and the sound is more akin to the past glories than the last album. Other than that, it’s the same. These guys used to be on top of the meme game in power metal, now they’re just trying to emulate those flavors like an anti-comedy chicken meme that doesn’t realize it’s supposed to an anti-comedy meme. And that’s my take on Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum, now give me my year's supply of ham please.
Standout tracks: Magellan’s Expedition, P.A.R.T.Y., Under Blackened Banners