When most people hear “pirate-themed metal”, they think Alestorm. When I think of it, the first thing that pops into my mind is Swashbuckle! In fact, I’ve been listening to Swashbuckle before I was even aware of Alestorm’s existence! Here’s the difference between Alestorm and Swashbuckle: Swashbuckle is heavier, faster, crazier, funnier, more creative, and a hell of a lot more fun to listen to! I discovered Swashbuckle via Nuclear Blast when they announced the (at the time) new signing of the trio. When I saw these three fuckers dressed up as pirates, I knew this was going to be interesting. When Back to the Noose was finally released, I listened to it over and over until I couldn’t stand it anymore! It was just too much of a fucking blast to listen to! If you’re into the really fun metal like Korpiklaani but are in the mood for something much heavier and faster, Swashbuckle is what you need.
Being one of my favorite thrash death bands along with Gojira, DevilDriver, Revocation, and Possessed, I can’t even begin to describe my excitement when I saw that they were going to be one of the opening acts for Soilwork on their 2010 summer tour. In fact, I just realized that that show was one of the only concerts that had a 100% PERFECT lineup of bands (a show which I was in love with every band that was on the tour) having Soilwork headlining and Death Angel, Augury, Mutiny Within, and Swashbuckle as opening acts. When you look at most thrash death bands, you’ll notice that the majority of them have longer than average songs (5+ minutes). This album has much shorter songs with tons of interludes with PURE non-metal pirate music. This actually bothered me at first because I was so into their mix of thrash metal, death metal, and grindcore that I didn’t want to have a goofy half-minute song with accordions and acoustic guitars in between every other song.
But in this review, I’m going to focus only on the metal songs on the album. The vocalist/bassist, who looks like Peter Griffin with a beard and glasses, plays as the captain of the crew. His bass playing is amazing and shows enormous talent and tons of skill (especially when it comes to the faster thrashy parts). Also, his bass is tuned specifically so that he still creates a HUGE lower end, but makes the clanging of the strings audible through the rest of the sound (which is what’s easiest to hear). His vocals…I don’t know how to describe them, they’re literally like NOTHING I’ve ever heard in my life. They actually sound like an angry pirate captain’s yell. In most of the song’s, Captain Griffin (that’s what I call him) plays the lead line with his bass guitar, leaving the guitarist to give the back-end plenty of crunch and brutality.
I wasn’t sure what to think of the drummer until I saw these three people dressed up as pirates perform on stage. The drummer plays a style that (to me) resembles more of a thrashy-grindcore style. What I mean is that he plays what a good grindcore drummer would play during the blazingly fast parts and then hits a breakdown like a thrash metal drummer would. In other words, this guy is fucking nuts when it comes to playing brutal drumming.
Ok, so what did I mean when I said these guys are funny and make fun music? Well, the pirate-music interludes speak for themselves. But wouldn’t you like to have really fun music that you could mosh and literally go crazy as FUCK to?? I’ll tell you this, I knew that they were going to play an absolutely crushing performance, and when they started playing, I was one of the people that COMPLETELY 100% LOST IT in the moshpit. This is the kind of music that subliminally entices the listener to start going crazy or to just laugh at the hilarious lyrics and themes. Believe me, don’t try to take these guys seriously, they’re purposefully being goofy. But besides them being fun; as a band, they’re tight, they show plenty of variety of sounds and tones in their music, and they express that they can have tons of fun while still taking the music-writing process seriously. If a band doesn’t at least take SOME of the music seriously, the music won’t be good. I would give this album 16/20 for being one of the most fun albums to listen to in my music library. I would HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy of this to everyone that likes to have some fun listening to brutality every once in a while. My favorite songs on this album are probably the two craziest and most brutal songs on the record: Sharkbait and Attack!!!