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Rum, beer, quests and mead; these are the things that a pirate needs! Raise the flag and let's set sail, under the sign of the Storm of Ale!

— "Heavy Metal Pirates", the band's first song and self-description.

Alestorm is a power/folk metal band from Scotland and their main gimmick is the pirate theme of their music. Arr!

Formed in 2004 under the name Battleheart, they released a bunch of EPs (The first of which, Battleheart, gave rise to the term 'True Scottish Pirate Metal', parodying the term 'True Norwegian Black Metal') before signing themselves to Napalm Records and rechristening themselves Alestorm.

From there, their popularity increased rapidly and has stayed relatively consistent and they tour very regularly, despite them being a Revolving Door Band who now live in different countries to each other.

Not to be confused with Halestorm.

Current members:
  • Christopher Bowes - lead vocals, keytar (2004-present)
  • Gareth "Gazz" Murdock - bass, backing vocals (2009-present)
  • Peter Alcorn - drums (2010-present)
  • Elliot Vernon - keyboards, backing vocals (2011-present)
  • Máté Bodor - guitars, backing vocals (2015-present)

Former members:

  • Gavin Harper - guitars (2004-2007)
  • Lasse Lammert - session drums in 2008
  • Tim Shaw - drums (2008)
  • Alex "Hasselhoff" Tabisz - guitars (2008)
  • Micha "Migo" Wagner - session guitars in 2007 and 2008
  • Ian Wilson- guitars (2007-2008, 2008-2010)
  • Dani Evans - guitars, backing vocals (2007-2015), bass (2004-2007)

As Battleheart, they have released two EPs, Battleheart and Terror on the High Seas.

As Alestorm, they have released two EPs and seven studio albums:

  • Captain Morgan's Revenge in 2008
  • Leviathan (EP, also in 2008)
  • Black Sails at Midnight in 2009
  • Back Through Time in 2011
  • Sunset on the Golden Age in 2014
  • No Grave but the Sea in 2017.
  • Curse of the Crystal Coconut in 2020
  • Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum in 2022
  • Voyage of the Dead Marauder (EP) in 2024

The band and their music contain examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: In "Leviathan" the pirates were presented as Punch-Clock Heroes who were only hunting the Leviathan because they were paid to do so. But then in the sequel "Death-Throes of the Terror Squid" its suddenly revealed that Leviathan was about to destroy the world when the pirates managed to kill it.
  • Alien Invasion: "Surf Squid Warfare" is about a invasion of space squids, which the pirates have to travel to the future to battle.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Evil as the pirates are, they did save the world. Twice.
  • The Alleged Car: Or ship, in this case; but in the music video "Shit Boat (No fans)", the singer lists all of the bad qualities that a Pirate Ship has, such as it's cannons not being able to fire 20 feets far, that their rubber and poop deck being crap, that its navigator is both stupid and alcoholic, and that the crew inside do look like lego bricks.
  • An Arm and a Leg: "Midget Saw" (which is about a group of pirates who saw a man's legs off after he kills a monkey) and "Wooden Leg" (about a man who loses his legs to a pair of Spanish broadsides, and then loses his arms to a Samurai in a Bar Brawl).
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Played straight throughout Back Through Time.
    • "Treasure Chest Party Quest" contains this wonderful set of lines:
    In my Lamborghini,
    flintlocks by my side
    stealing loads of treasure
    on I-95
  • Animated Music Video:
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "Keelhauled":
    Take his money and his hat,
    He won't need them where he's gonna go...
    • And done again in "Rage of the Pentahook":
    He fights to die,
    He lives to kill,
    To cut your throat,
    His greatest skill,
    He'll eat your kids,
    And punch your house.
    • and
    He'll break your neck,
    And eat your face,
    The foe of all the human race,
    He'll stab your mum,
    And drink your rum.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Pegleg Potion" is set in "the land of Sgriubh-á-dubh", a superficially Scottish Gaelic version of the nonsense word "scrubadub".
  • Ass Shove:
  • Audience Participation Song: Plenty of their songs have this at the chorus, even on the records!
  • Badass Boast: Many of them feature this, but perhaps the most memorable is "Back Through Time", specially the chorus:
    "You put your faith in Odin and Thor, we put ours in cannons and whores! Your Viking gods won't save you now, when the pirates strike from the starboard bow!"
    • 'We're on a quest to kick your ass' ("Pirate Metal Drinking Crew")
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Sunk'n Norwegian.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Man the Pumps":
    Then daylight came, and all was calm
    The ship, she did not sink
    And all the crew did celebrate
    Their rescue from the brink
    But when they spied where I did lay
    The mood, it fell bereft
    For by the time the sun arose
    I'd pumped myself to death.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • After the protagonist of the Wooden Leg saga gets his vengeance on the people who cut off his arms and legs and claims the limbs as his own, evil spirits visit to detail how his Japanese arms and Spanish legs are now cursed. The arm curse is outlined in Japanese and the leg one is delivered in Spanish.
    • "Fannybaws" features the line ‘nou haud yer wheesht ye glaikit cunt, or else he’ll pump yer maw’; Scots for ‘now be quiet you stupid cunt, or else he’ll fuck your mum’.
  • Black Comedy: The pirate from "Wooden Leg Part 2" cuts off his head and replaces it with a wooden prosthetic to try to escape the spirits haunting him. He dies.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The narrator of "Death Before the Mast" has his ship boarded by the navy and he knows there's no way he'll survive against their forces, but he is determined to keep fighting them for as long as possible.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: "Heavy Metal Pirates."
  • Brave Scot: Christopher Bowes' heavy Scottish accent does give this feeling to most songs.
  • Call-Back: "Huntmaster" is about a famous man on a quest to "bring back beer to the lands of the free". In "That Famous Ol' Spiced", the titular drink is touted as "a beverage to rival the Huntmaster's draft".
    • The entire second verse of "Drink" references several songs from previous albums.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • "Fucked With an Anchor" is an entire song that consists of a pirate with Hollywood Tourette's threatening to shove an anchor up the arse of the Witch Doctor that cursed him. The chorus of the song provides a good example, shown under Lyrical Dissonance.
      Now when I speak, it's rather absurd
      An endless tirade of four-letter words
      I lash out in anger at all in my way
      Shocking unspeakable things that I say!
    • "Shit Boat (No Fans)" has every verse start with "your pirate ship can eat a bag of dicks". And just about every sentence contains a swear word.
  • Combat Pragmatist: "Back Through Time" features 17th century pirates deploying cannons against Vikings. Curb-Stomp Battle ensues.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: No one is safe from pirates, including vikings, ninjas, alien squids and sea monsters.
  • Cover Version: Many. "P is for Pirate" is one with slightly modified lyrics (it is now pirate-themed instead of cookie-themed). "You Are a Pirate", "Barrett's Privateers", and "Wolves of the Sea" are the most famous of their covers. They also did a version of "In the Navy". Suffice to say, if there's a nautical-themed song, a nautical-themed children's song, or a children's song that can be piratified, Alestorm stands a good chance of covering it, often hilariously. There is also their version of "I Am A Cider Drinker", originally by The Wurzels (which was itself a parody of George Baker's "Paloma Blanca"). Many of the modern-genre songs the band covers have a suitably nautical twist to the instrumentation; for example, "Bassline Junkie" has a jaunty squeezebox line in place of the crunchy bass.
    • Sunset on the Golden Age features a cover of Taio Cruz's "Hangover".
    • Curse of the Crystal Coconut features a cover of "Pirate's Scorn" from the Donkey Kong Country cartoon. The album is also named after the Crystal Coconut from the same show.
  • Curse: Shows up a few times in their songs.
    • "Captain Morgan's Revenge", Captain Morgan, forced to walk the plank, curses his mutinous crew to "death or worse".
    • The curse on the treasure in "Of Treasure" as well. We're not told explicitly what it is, but apparently it's quite terrible.
    • The pirate singing in "Fucked With an Anchor" has been cursed with Hollywood Tourette's by a witch doctor.
    • In "Wooden Leg Part II" we see how the protagonist's new limbs have been possessed:
      My legs from Madrid are causing me fear / my Japanese arms just want to drink beer
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The pirates of "Back Through Time" are gleefully aware of the overkill involved in using 17th century firepower against 10th century Vikings.
  • Darker and Edgier: Their second album is noticeably heavier and more aggressive than their first, and the third follows suit. Come the fourth, though, they started to lean more on sillier songs, to the point that their fifth album can more or less be considered a piratical heavy metal comedy album.
  • Deconstruction: While they do sing about the joys and adventures of piracy, Pirate's Song is a rather deconstruction of the whole romantic pirate, showing the singing protagonist as a ruthless monster who lost all his glory in his old age. And in general, most of the pirates in their songs that get a story end up in a bad way due to their life of crime.
  • Denser and Wackier: They slowly became a band more about Fun Personified over time. They went from dressing like pirates in their concerts to dressing in wacky outfits. Their concerts also include a giant inflatable duck onstage. While they still sing about pirates and piracy, and also do covers of old maritime songs, there's been more songs about drinking and general buffoonery since they went Denser and Wackier. There's even a song about Time Cube.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • The first verse of "Mexico" mentions twice that Mexico has free alcohol.
      The wenches they are plenty, the alcohol is free \ The party lasts all through the night, and the alcohol is free!
    • In "Big Ship, Little Ship", Christopher says that "living on a boat would float my boat".
    • In "Come to Brazil": 'It's time for pirate party time!'
  • Determinator: Some characters in songs, like the Huntmaster and the narrator in "Chronicles of Vengeance".
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: "Leviathan" sets up for this in its sequel, "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "Midget Saw"', wherein a pirate gets his legs sawed off for the crime of killing a monkey. It must have been one awesome little primate.
  • Downer Ending: A sizeable number of their songs talk about people who go on quests but end up dying brutally along the way. Such as: "Death Before the Mast", "Magnetic North", "To The End Of Our Days", "Leviathan" and so forth.
    • "Wooden Leg Part 2: The Woodening" has this. The pirate manages to get revenge on the men who mutilated him then uses Hollywood Voodoo to attach their limbs to himself. But the magic he uses awakens a curse that causes the limbs to be possessed by the spirits of their original owners. The spirits drive him to insanity and suicide by chopping off his own head.
  • End of an Age: The song "Sunset On The Golden Age" which is about facing the end of a golden age. It's a tad vague what age they're referring to, but it can be interpreted as the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. The lyrics do leave the implication that another golden age may come in the future.
    The sun has set, now night is falling
    Never again to hear the calling
  • Epic Rocking: A lot of Alestorm's songs go past the 6 minute mark. "Captain Morgan's Revenge" (6:49), "To the End of Our Days" (6:22), "Chronicles of Vengeance" (6:24), "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" (7:45), "1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)" (7:18), "Sunset on the Golden Age" (11:26), "To the End of the World" (6:43), "Treasure Island" (7:48)... Essentially, it's at least Once An Album.
  • Escaped from Hell: The Huntmaster. "Out of the bowels of hell he sailed, wielding a tankard of freshly brewed ale!"
  • Equal-Opportunity Offender: Cannonball, from Seventh Rum. Doesn't matter what bits you have, Alestorm has you covered.
    Stick a cannonball up your cunt // Put your dick in a blender
  • Expospeak Gag: The second verse of "Sunset on the Golden Age" uses extremely heavy Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness to mask that it's actually describing the preparation of a hamburger.
    Sundered from daylight by the rage of the unseen [A cow is killed]
    Betwixt carbonic plateaus where rarity convenes [The hamburger buns are flat and made of carbohydrates, hence "carbonic plateaus"; "rarity convenes" refers to a beef patty cooked rare]
    Under the heat of a thousand suns destruction is attained [The beef is being cooked]
    When flows the red and ochre histories ingrained [Ketchup and mustard are added]
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • The pirate crew in "Captain Morgan's Revenge". Thanks to the curse of their dead captain, they've all been captured and are due to be hung from the gallows. So they decide to take one last swig of rum and call it a day.
      At sunrise we will dance the hempen jig / So raise up your pint of rum and take another swig! / The curse of Captain Morgan has led us to this fate / So have no fear and don't look back, the afterlife awaits!
    • "Rage of the Pentahook" features a Humanoid Abomination with the titular Pentahook. The lyrics paint the Pentahook as The Juggernaut who can't be stopped. So the singer decides that if the Pentahook's coming for them, they might as well go down with a little pride.
      So we'll raise our hooks up to the sky, and drink to absent friends / Those far away and those who died, still fighting to the end / Have no fear, for life is short and death will take us all / So when the bastard comes for us, we'll meet him standing tall!
  • Folk Metal: Their primary musical style, combined with a heavy amount of Power Metal.
    • From Sunset On The Golden Age they started incorporating elements of Metalcore into their sound, as well as occasional bits of Chiptune.
  • Forced Transformation: Happens to the female protagonist in the video to "Magellan's Expedition". After she takes on a giant rubber duck with twin swords and an assault rifle, it promptly blasts her with eye lasers that turn her into a duck.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Alestorm has this going with Captain Yarrface of Rumahoy, with Yarrface typically talking trash about Alestorm in a tongue-in-cheek way in his lyrics and Alestorm getting revenge on Yarrface in their latest video "P.A.R.T.Y." by blowing up his island. However, it's all in good fun as Rumahoy has toured with Alestorm and Yarrface has made special guest appearances in their other videos like "Tortuga".
  • Fun with Subtitles: Watching their music videos on YouTube with captions turned on will often yield some random funny bits thrown in for a laugh.
    • Shit Boat (No Fans): When the last few lines of the song start a singalong section (complete with bouncing duck icon), the subtitles finish with a suggestion to "Follow the bouncing duck, everyone!" before ending.
    • Pirate Metal Drinking Crew: Each instance of a dog barking is replaced with a mismatched animal noise, namely "meow" and "oink". The last few lines of the song even has the subtitles say, "Ach, what's the point - if you haven't figured out what the lyrics are at this point there's no hope for you anyway."
    • Magellan's Expedition: During the guitar solo, the video takes a bizarre turn as the female protagonist approaches a giant rubber duck with laser eyes, swapping out her twin swords for an assault rifle, prompting the subtitles to suggest that the video might not actually be a historically accurate representation of said voyage.
    • P.A.R.T.Y.: The subtitles have a bit of Fun with Acronyms, wondering what P.A.R.T.Y. stands for and inviting viewers to post their answers in the comment section, with the best answer "winning a year's supply of ham".
    • The Battle of Cape Fear River: Lyrics are written for the guitar solo.
    • Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum's subtitles feature a twofer: an embedded recipe for what appears to be Baked Alaska, followed by the first few lines of Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son before the writer cuts himself off with " - wait, shit. Wrong band, sorry!"
    • In Voyage of the Dead Marauder during the solo we're given a "Fun Frog Fact" about the Alaskan Wood Frog and its ability to hibernate completely frozen for months at a time by using its own urine as a natural antifreeze. The post-video scene also throws in silly frog-themed lyrics over the chosen preview songs.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Suggested as the origin of the “dendrophagic horde” that ate the titular ship of "Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship". According to legend, grim and frostbitten druids invoked this trope—through a pact with roaming zombie hordes to eat stolen wood, the forest would reclaim its own.
  • Gargle Blaster: The titular "Pegleg Potion" is described as a "toxic punch" that "looks a bit like gravy, and tastes like Captain Crunch". Its recipe:
    Take one part finest spirit
    From Carribean seas,
    Mix it up with monkey brains,
    And the scrapings from your knees,
    A dash of creme de cacao,
    A pint of French moonshine
  • Gorn: The lyrics to "Midget Saw":
    Midget Saw, a deadly fate
    Chopped up limbs become shark bait
    Midget Saw, the pirate's code
    It says that both your legs must go
    Hacked to pieces
    Ripped to shreds
    You're gonna wish that you were dead!
  • Gratuitous Latin: Ominous Latin Chanting is used for the outro of "Magellan's Expedition" as follows: "Spatium portibus fictus, venenum coetus unum, vox imperium capulus machina, nitidissimus de omnium algae, circumnavigandum infinita quest." Which isn't as impressive when fed through a Latin to English translation:
    Space fake landings
    Poison group one
    Voice-controlled coffee machine
    The healthiest of all algae
    Circumnavigate the endless quest
  • Grim Up North: "Magnetic North" is about a Pirate crew questing to "Magnetic North" and subsequently facing a frozen sea, and probably dying along the way.
  • Heavy Mithril: Lyrically, Alestorm are typically more grounded than the average Power Metal band... but when they go for the mithril, they go hard for the mithril.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Implied at the end of the music video for "Drink" where one of the pirates (Chirstopher Bowes) is shown wearing a suit and having dinner with the very family they'd terrorized earlier.
    • One interpretation of the pirates as described under Adaptational Heroism is that the pirates started off as Nominal Heroes at best and then slowly pulled one of these becoming heroes for real.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: The pirate in "Fucked with an Anchor" has been cursed to be incredibly foul-mouthed by a witch doctor.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: The pirate in "Wooden Leg Part II" decides he's going to replace his inadequate wooden limbs by killing the people who are responsible for the loss of his originals, taking their arms and legs and sticking them back onto himself.
  • Honorary True Companion: On Crystal Coconut, hurdy-gurdiest Patty Gurdy is filling this role. There have been loud calls for her to officially join the band, but she has her own thing going on.
  • Hook Hand: The main zombie pirate on the cover of Black Sails At Midnight has a trident replacing one hand, He also has a sword but you can't see if he's holding it or if it's a Blade Below the Shoulder.
    • "Wolves of the Sea" contains the lyrics "The hook of our Captain is looking at you"
    • "Rage of the Pentahook". The Pentahook has five hooks. Just on his right hand.
  • Hookers and Blow
    • "Wenches and Mead" is about Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • "Treasure Chest Party Quest" has Christopher Bowes say the band has sold out, and they're now "in it for the money, the hookers, and the blow".
  • Horrible History Metal: They ventured in this genre with "1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)", about the battle of the same name.
  • Insane Admiral: Or Captain, but with the same purpose. In "1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)", the Captain sails against the Spanish despite overwhelming evidence that he's going to lose, and so he dooms himself and his crew to a Last Stand.
  • Intercourse with You: "Questing Upon The Poop Deck" is most certainly not about a type of sexual activity.
  • Jolly Roger: They feature their own version of the Jolly Roger, solely replacing the skull with one stylized after their mascot, Jimmy McFucknugget (basically What If? Cthulhu became a pirate instead of an Elder God), as seen, for example, on the cover of 2014's Sunset on the Golden Age.
  • Large Ham: Christopher Bowes definitely qualifies. In concert, he'll say things like "When I say go, everyone, rip off your clothes and start having sex with that guy dressed as a shark!" completely seriously. This isn't even getting into his musical bombast and how he bellows the beautifully ridiculous shit he writes with a completely straight face.
  • Life Will Kill You: "Swashbuckled". Admiral Nobeard was so fat he was reputedly invulnerable to sword and gun. How did he die? He choked on a pretzel.
  • Little People Are Surreal: A midget shows up in "Shipwrecked", in a hallucination.
    • They also have midget doubles portray the band in their "Alestorm" official music video that have the band proper fight them.
  • Location Song:
    • "Mexico" is about Mexico. The pirates travel there because the wenches are a-plenty, the alcohol is free, the party lasts all through the night, and the alcohol is free.
    • "Tortuga" tells the story of a pirate fleeing the Royal Navy, who doesn't help his case by stealing a ship (and murdering the crew) and heading for the titular legendary pirate stronghold.
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Back Through Time ends with "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid". (7:45)
    • Sunset on the Golden Age ends with "Sunset on the Golden Age". (11:26)
    • No Grave But The Sea ends with "Treasure Island". (7:48)
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Fucked With An Anchor" opens with an very upbeat tune... and these lyrics:
    Fuck! You! You're a fucking wanker
    We're gonna punch you right in the balls
    Fuck! You! With a fucking anchor
    You're all cunts so fuck you all
  • Metal Band Mascot: Two: A zombie-ish pirate and a pirate rat, who appear in all three covers. According to Christopher Bowes, they're called Jimmy McFucknugget or Cum Guy, and Barry Shitpeas respectively.
    • Ghost Pirate: Jimmy.
    • Hook Hand: Jimmy again, except for "Black Sails at Midnight" where he has a trident.
  • Metal Scream: Elliot is very good at them.
  • Mission from God: The Huntmaster's is "To bring back beer to the land of the free, this is his quest, his true destiny!"
  • Mood Whiplash: Present in Black Sails At Midnight, where from the blood-pumping and bombastic "Keelhauled" we go to the somber and depressive "To The End Of Our Days". Also in Sunset On The Golden Age, after the silly and ridiculous cover of "Hangover" the album goes to the title track, which is eleven minutes long and one of the few grim and serious Alestorm songs.
  • The Mutiny: Kicks off "Captain Morgan's Revenge". When the pirates make the captain walk the plank, he pronounces a dying curse upon them all.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Well.
    • Fannybaws ('He's a fearsome pirate')
    • Leviathan
    • The Pentahook
    • The Terrorsquid
    • Possibly Captain Morgan, depending on the context.
  • The Need for Mead: "Wenches and Mead". Also "Mead From Hell".
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: "Chomp Chomp" features a mob of alligators (along with other crocodilians) that devours a ship's crew in gruesome fashion, leaving the narrator the Sole Survivor.
  • Noodle Incident: During the Live At Summer Breeze 2015 CD for the 10th Anniversary Edition of Captain Morgan's Revenge before the segue into "Drink", Christopher mentions that the group isn't there to "stick potatoes inside the bottoms of the concert goers sexy girlfriends and make them feel inadequate", stating it's happened before. Elliot then quips "yup", leading to Christopher to say "Jesus Elliot".
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Rum", and the cover song "I Am A Cider Drinker", "Drink".
  • One-Man Army:
    • The Huntmaster vanquishes a considerable number of people single-handedly.
    • Fannybaws is a fearsome pirate who defeated the mighty terrorsquid all by himself.
  • Once Upon a Time: "In a time men knew the meaning of fear!" the opening lines of "Huntmaster".
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • When the titular monster awakens, "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" abruptly becomes a Dimmu Borgir song.
    • Their cover of "Hangover" features a brief rapping portion by the bassist of Lagerstein, tourmates with Alestorm.
    • "Tortuga" features a rap section by Captain Yarrface of Rumahoy.
    • Recent albums have songs featuring snatches of chiptune, notably "1741" and "Mexico", which both lead off with it. This is blown up macro-sized with the '16th Century' bonus CD of Crystal Coconut, where every song is redone in chip and the vocals bitcrushed. As an added bonus, the chiptune portion of the original "Wooden Leg Part II" is inverted and delivered with some quite nice acoustic guitar.
    • The acoustic version of "Come to Brazil" on Seventh Rum features some Zappa-esque turbo saxophone, and it works.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: A few of their songs are sung from a modern perspective, like "The Sunk'n Norwegian", about how hard it is to find any place good enough to be a modern pirate.
  • Pirate Song: A pirate-themed Power Metal band that patterns its songs after these, with sea shanty beats and lyrics about the golden age of piracy and warfare. And sometimes sillier things like stealing beer. They have also made Cover Versions of other famous pirate songs, like "You Are a Pirate", "Barrett's Privateers" and "Wolves of the Sea".
  • Progressive Instrumentation: "Buckfast Powersmash" has the sequence guitar > drums > keyboards > bass > voice.
  • The Quest: Lots of these, including a track by the same name.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The protagonists of "Magnetic North" mention to be seeking redemption in the titular location, but the song frequently notes they'll most certainly die along the way.
  • Redemption Quest: "Magnetic North" is a minor example. The singer wants to go "far beyond the ice and snow" for redemption.
  • Retired Monster: The narrator of "Pirate Song" is a retired pirate who's murdered countless men, women, and children, all for the sake of money, sex, and booze. The chorus shows that he has no regrets about this despite knowing that he's likely going to hell when he dies.
  • Revolving Door Band: You don't even know the half of it... the revolving door nature of the band's lineup is possibly a very big reason as to why the band have noticeably changed musically over the years.
  • Rhyming with Itself: Subverted. The initial lyrics from "Shit Boat (No Fans)" were "You'd better give us all the money in your treasure chest / Or Kristoff's gonna take a shit on your fucking chest" before the band was advised to tone down the song.
    • Played straight in "Mexico", where one part has two lines both ending with "the alcohol is free".
    • "Big Ship Little Ship" has one section where "boat" is rhymed with "boat".
      Living in a lighthouse? That'd be a shite-house!
      Living in a shed would make me feel dead!
      Living in a city would be really shitty!
      But living on a boat would float my boat!
  • Rock Beats Laser: 17th Century pirates halt an alien invasion of space squids in "Surf Squid Warfare".
  • Sea Monster: Leviathan, the Terrorsquid.
  • Sequel Song: "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" is a sequel to "Leviathan", as both songs feature a beast called "Leviathan" and follow some sort of chronology. "Leviathan" has the pirate crew hunt down an ancient beast of yore to battle it, but lose the battle and the beast escapes after slaughtering most of the crew. "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" concerns the Crew's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the beast, and the second round of the battle.
    • "Surf Squid Warfare" is a sequel to "Back Through Time", where the pirates travel into the future to fight undead squids from space.
    • "Wooden Leg Part 2: The Woodening".
  • Shout-Out:
    This is the hunter's badge of glory
    That he protects and defends his quarry
    Hunts with honour, as is due
    And through the beast to the Gods is true
    You may think you've heard all this music before,
    That Running Wild did it back in '84
    But times are a-changing and we don't give a damn!
    So if you don't like it, go start your own band!
    • One of the band's two mascots, the pirate rat Barry Shitpeas, shares a name with a character from Charlie Brooker's works.
    • In the music video for Fucked with An Anchor Gareth can be seen playing a bass with Prince's logo on it.
    • Chris has admitted that parts to the lyrics of Pegleg Potion (specifically "I sail the seas of Scrub-a-Dub Island" and "always [on the] search [for] treasure") are stolen from the description on a bottle of "Matey" bubble bath. Yes, really.
    • In the video for Big Ship Little Ship, Chris briefly invokes Freddie Mercury in Queen's I Want to Break Free video.
    • Curse of the Crystal Coconut contains several to Donkey Kong. The track "Pirate's Scorn" is a cover of a song from the Donkey Kong Country TV series, the title of the album is almost directly the name of an episode from the same show (replacing "Legend" with "Curse"), and the album artwork features a Crystal Coconut from Donkey Kong 64, a gorilla skeleton wearing a tie, a few Kremlings, a TNT barrel, and a DK Coin.
    • In The Battle of Cape Fear River: one of the ways Blackbeard might die is projected to be a 'shotgun in the bum'. asdfgfa is one of Chris Bowes' many side projects. The video also references Indiana Jones as Elliot resorts to using a cutlass when his gun fails to fire, and taunts another of the bandmates who promptly shoots him dead.
  • Shown Their Work: Someone in the crew got the brilliant idea to use a scientific term for the behaviour of the antagonists of 'Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship: 'dendrophagic' describes the habit of eating trees. And, it would seem by extension, wood in general.
  • Silver Fox: The eponymous "Nancy The Tavern Wench", "A lovely bar-maiden/She may be old/But her beauty ain't fadin'."
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Bowes' natural voice is much softer than his guttural harsh tone in the songs. This is also evidenced in his various 'Christopher Bowes at the Organ' side-mini-albums.
  • Sky Pirates: "Heavy Metal Pirates" seems to be about them ("We're the Heavy Metal Pirates, we sail across the sky!")
  • Slasher Smile: Jimmy cracks one of these at the covers of "Black Sails At Midnight", "Back Through Time" and the "Leviathan" solo cover.
    • Well, he is an undead pirate with no lips and a mean Kubrick Stare.
  • Song of Song Titles: "Drink" name-drops several past Alestorm songs.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: For the last chorus of "Rum", Elliot Vernon sings the lead vocals as well as handling the main keyboards while Bowes crowdsurfs (and usually tells the audience to "take him to the bar").
  • Stylistic Suck: Their music videos started displaying this in 2020, due to the COVID pandemic making it harder to produce proper music videos using a larger film crew. Gloriously averted with the 2022 video for P.A.R.T.Y, which is splendidly animated.
  • Sudden Name Change: The band's undead rat mascot seems to be called Barry Shitpeas or Scurvy Steeve, depending on who you ask.
  • Take That!:
    • "Swashbuckled" is a playful repartee at Alestorm's friends, fellow pirate band Swashbuckle, in response to the latter's "We Are The Storm".
      • "Scraping the Barrel", off of Back Through Time, is a response to some of the band's criticism as being a "gimmicky band" that will eventually become dry. Their response? "If you don't like it, go start your own band."
    • The song "Back Through Time", concerning a ship of pirates that travel through time and wind up fighting and defeating a ship of vikings, is clearly a jab at the many bands that sing about vikings and Norse Mythology.
    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
    • The 7-second long "Rumpelkombo" is this. Once, Alestorm was touring with Grave Digger, and they were basically the opposite of Alestorm: old, cranky, and hated drinking and partying, so the entire tour pretty much consisted of Grave Digger hating Alestorm. During an interview, the lead singer, Chris Boltendahl described Alestorm as a "rumpelkombo," which basically means "group of rowdy idiots." Well, Christopher Bowes then decided to write the really quick song where the only word is "rumpelkombo," but then credited the lyrics to Boltendahl, thus giving him a royalty check every month that's a couple of cents from Alestorm, reminding him of the band.
    • The song "Treasure Chest, Party Quest" is a deliberate example, with Leaning on the Fourth Wall humor about selling out and a trashy music video intended to scare off fans that take the band too seriously.
      The Band on the video: "Oh wow! We tried our very best to make a video that would alienate as many of our fans as possible. I think we succeeded! This song is about giving birth to yourself, selling out, and driving awful Yugoslavian cars. All the classic elements of pirate metal!"
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Naturally. Mostly done in short bursts rather than entire songs, but early albums lean into this more heavily.
  • Titled After the Song: Inverted with "Alestorm", a song titled after the band.
  • Took a Level in Badass: "Leviathan" and "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" concern the same crew. In the first the monster slaughters them with impunity, but in the second the crew takes revenge. The chorus makes it clear: The chorus in the first song is about the beast's fearsome slaughter, the chorus in the second is the crew's Badass Boast.
  • Transformation Sequence: In the video for Shit Boat, Chris gets one before kicking the shit out of the pirate crew in a rather fetching gown. This is subverted shortly thereafter when he whips it off to continue fighting/dancing in the buff. (Don't worry, it's all animated.)
  • Unreliable Narrator: Interestingly enough, we're never told exactly why the perpetrator is being keelhauled in "Keelhauled." We pretty much just have the narrator's word for it that he did something bad.
    I will not say what he has done
    His sins are far too great to tell
    It's not my place to judge a man
    But for them he will burn in Hell
  • Verbed Title: "Keelhauled", "Shipwrecked".
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: In the video for "Shipwrecked", several of the wenches are shown secreting coins in their cleavage.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: "The Huntmaster" ends by quoting the English translation of the poem inscribed on bottles of Jägermeister, which itself is the German word for "Huntmaster".
  • Villain Protagonist: The songs are aware they are talking about a bunch of selfish, petty and murderous thieves.
    • The clearest example is "Pirate's Song", which describes a Retired Monster of a pirate elaborating on his numerous crimes and how he doesn't feel an ounce of remorse.
    • "Fannybaws" is about a pirate of the same name, described as a fearsome scoundrel and lawbreaker. Yet the lyrics portray him as incredibly awesome, too.
    • "Bar Und Imbiss" is a first-person account of the ransacking of a bar and kidnapping of the bartender's ugly wife somewhere in dark Thuringia.
  • Violent Glaswegian: When it comes to the band's darker and more brutally hilarious songs, Chris' bombastic Scottish accent paints a pretty vivid image of this.
  • Walk the Plank: In "Captain Morgan's Revenge" and "Keelhauled", in the latter case as a pretext to something far worse. In Sunset On The Golden Age they now have a track named "Walk the Plank".
  • Would Hurt a Child: One of the verses of "Pirate's Song" is "I've killed and I've shot, and reddened the cold tears of children with blood!", driving home just how much of a Retired Monster our protagonist is.
    • The subject of "Rage of the Pentahook" will "eat your kids". The narrator also notes that "one time he shot a baby - with a gun!"
  • Wretched Hive: A lot of these tend to show up in the songs, such as the cafe in "Nancy the Tavern Wench" and the inn where "That Famous Ol' Spiced" is apparently served, not to mention the titular tavern known as "The Sunken Norwegian."
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    • The pre-choruses of "Pegleg Potion". Probably as a result of drinking said pegleg potion....
      Ephemeral, delectable,
      Entirely undetectable,
      You'll need a pair of spectacles,
      For diplomatic dog!

      From Oregon to South Dakota,
      Underwater toilet quota,
      Driving in an old Toyota,
      Systematic frog!
    • "Sunset on the Golden Age" has poetic-sounding, but mostly nonsensical lyrics. The second verse appears to be an Expospeak Gag describing how hamburgers are made.
  • You Dirty Rat!: One of the bands mascots is a undead rat.


Video Example(s):



Alestorm is a power/folk metal band from Scotland and their main gimmick is the pirate theme of their music. Arr!

The song example is "Drink".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / Pirate

Media sources: