The world’s a depressing enough place without being reminded that Alestorm are still going. Their ‘I’m a pirate!’ shtick was once mildly amusing as the soundtrack to an early afternoon festival drinking session, but 15 years of cheeseball folk/power metal, dick jokes and general yo-ho-ho-ing twattery have flogged any vestiges of entertainment out of it.
Seven albums in, and we’re left with a bunch of gurning cosplayers yelling “AAAARGGHHH!” at each other with all the joyless enthusiasm of a dog licking its balls. Seventh Rum Of A Seventh Rum is as grimly lazy as its title. Witless, wheezing hornpipes Wooden Leg (Part III) and P.A.R.T.Y. are umpteenth-generation photocopies of songs Alestorm were tossing off a decade ago.
Hats off to singer/keytar player Christopher Bowes, who has done his best recently to derail his own career. This charmless dickwaddle was caught exchanging misogynistic and racist messages with members of his other band, Gloryhammer. He trotted out a hand-wringing apology about it all being a gag, just like anyone does whenever they get busted. Handily, he reminds us of that sorry business here.
‘Yo! Ho! Stick a cannonball up your cunt / Yo ho! Put your dick in a blender,’ sings this comic genius over the soul-sappingly ‘edgy’ folk-metal workout Cannonball – a song that offers roughly the same enjoyment level as squeezing lemon juice on a weeping monkeypox sore.
Someone is going to whine that Alestorm are being ‘cancelled’ on account of Bowes’s transgressions. They’re clearly not, otherwise you’d be looking at a blank half-page. And the fact that Alestorm are still headlining decent-sized venues and are on several festival bills this year says there’s still an appetite for what they do, no matter how godawful it is. Like Covid-19 and Piers Morgan, it looks like we’re going to have to live with this shit for a while longer.