Photo courtesy of Heavy Montreal

On the way to my first Alestorm show I encountered a few concert-goers who were there strictly for the band’s pirate/alcohol-themed shenanigans, but had an obvious animosity for heavy metal music. That’s how Alestorm seemed to be viewed at first in the metal underground: The pirate-metal band with non-metal fans.

Now over six years later the band’s profile has changed. Often when speaking to younger metal fans or even their older relatives, I find that along with the usual diet of classics like Maiden, Priest, and Motorhead, young headbangers are clamouring for Alestorm. A good part of that is the band’s high level of musicianship and a style that dips into the old-school and mixes in a big dose of 80s glam and modern riffs. Their new album, Sunset On The Golden Age, is the most varied (and silly) of their career.

I should also mention that they’re all ridiculously nice, way nicer than they have to be. It seems as if the cult of Alestorm continues to grow one fan at a time. Every handshake, autograph, or moment spent reminiscing creates an attachment to the band. Whether it be at tent-pole Euro-fests like Wacken Open Air, or this years’ Heavy Montreal where I caught up with them, their sets are always over-packed at whatever third-tier stage they’re playing.

One more thing: the lads in Alestorm are also as silly as they are nice, so it’s pretty easy to get sidetracked during an interview. Still, we managed to talk about their young audience, window cleaning businesses, and their penchant for putting out visually ludicrous merchandise.


Alestorm are currently pillaging their way across Europe with Canadian support from Crimson Shadows.

A Journal of Musical Things