Pirate metal

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Pirate metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music, [1] [2] [3] characterized by its incorporation of pirate mythology within the music and sometimes in stage performances. Lyrics often use piratical jargon [1] and various musical genres, such as thrash metal, [4] speed metal, [1] and folk metal, [5] may be combined with traditional-sounding songs like sea shanties. [1] Folk instruments, such as the concertina, can be incorporated or emulated with synthesizers. [6] Band members often dress up in period costume during performances, and concert attendees may do so as well. [7] Pirate metal is sometimes referred to by the media as a music scene. [7]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Piracy Act of robbery or criminal violence at sea

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, Madagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

History and notable bands

Christopher Bowes and Gareth Murdock (color corrected).jpg
Christopher Bowes and Dani Evans of Alestorm
Commodore Redrum at Paganfest America (rotate-crop).jpg
Commodore Redrum of Swashbuckle
Running Wild
The Dread Crew of Oddwood at Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, 16 Aug 2015.jpeg
The Dread Crew of Oddwood

The earliest example of pirate metal appeared in 1987, when German heavy metal band Running Wild released their third album, Under Jolly Roger . [1] According to Rolf Kasparek, lead singer and guitarist for Running Wild, the album's pirate theme was not planned. [8] [9] Instead, it grew from the album's title song. [10] Eventually, the album's artwork was changed to match the title, and set decorations and costumes for future concerts were designed. The piratical lyrics also became a way to convey the band's political message, since their use of the devil as a symbolic figure was being misunderstood on their first album Gates to Purgatory . [9] [11] Kasparek began reading about pirates and, after finding "everything very interesting", [9] he incorporated the motifs into their music. The subject matter was expanded during rehearsals [10] for the fourth release, Port Royal , and their trademark style was solidified. [9]

Running Wild (band) German heavy metal band

Running Wild is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Hamburg. They were part of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s. Over the course of their career, they have released sixteen studio albums, three live albums, five compilation albums, and six singles/EPs. Although their earlier releases contained Satanic themes and imagery, Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke, the guitar player of the band, was studying theology at the time and is now a pastor in Cologne.

<i>Under Jolly Roger</i> 1987 studio album by Running Wild

Under Jolly Roger is the third studio album by Running Wild. This album marked a stylistic turning point in which the group dropped the Satanic imagery they had previously used and adopted the pirate theme they would become known for, creating and influencing the later named pirate metal subgenre of heavy metal in the 2000s in the process. The album's title comes from the famous Jolly Roger, the flag used by pirates to identify their ships. The album has sold 250,000 copies Worldwide.

<i>Gates to Purgatory</i> 1984 studio album by Running Wild

Gates to Purgatory is the first studio album by Running Wild, released in 1984. It predates their piracy themes and has mostly satanically-influenced lyrics but also features songs with anarchic and libertarian themes. It was in part of Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke's studies in theology. He left the band soon after the album's release to become a vicar.

Although Kasparek was more interested in the true histories of the Golden Age of Piracy, [10] pirate metal would eventually be inspired, to a greater extent, by the inaccuracies as invented [11] or portrayed in novels and Hollywood films. [1]

Golden Age of Piracy outbursts of piracy in maritime history from the 1650s to the 1730s

The Golden Age of Piracy is a common designation given to usually one or more outbursts of piracy in the maritime history of the early modern period. In its broadest accepted definition, the Golden Age of Piracy spans the 1650s to the late 1720s and covers three separate outbursts of piracy:

  1. The buccaneering period of approximately 1650 to 1680, characterized by Anglo-French seamen based on Jamaica and Tortuga attacking Spanish colonies and shipping in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific
  2. The Pirate Round of the 1690s, associated with long-distance voyages from the Americas to rob Muslim and East India Company targets in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea
  3. The post-Spanish Succession period extending from 1716 to 1726, when Anglo-American sailors and privateers left unemployed by the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, turned en masse to piracy in the Caribbean, the North American eastern seaboard, the West African coast, and the Indian Ocean
Cinema of the United States Filmmaking in the USA

The cinema of the United States, often metonymously referred to as Hollywood, has had a large effect on the film industry in general since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1917 to 1960 and characterizes most films made there to this day. While Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumière are generally credited with the birth of modern cinema, American cinema soon came to be a dominant force in the industry as it emerged. It produces the total largest number of films of any single-language national cinema, with more than 700 English-language films released on average every year. While the national cinemas of the United Kingdom (299), Canada (206), Australia, and New Zealand also produce films in the same language, they are not considered part of the Hollywood system. Hollywood has also been considered a transnational cinema. Classical Hollywood produced multiple language versions of some titles, often in Spanish or French. Contemporary Hollywood offshores production to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In 2006, after a two-year hiatus, Christopher Bowes and Gavin Harper reformed their band, Battleheart. Napalm Records signed them to the label, and they were told to change their name; Bowes and Harper easily agreed and settled on Alestorm. [12] [13] [14]

Napalm Records record label

Napalm Records is an Austrian independent record label focused on heavy metal and hard rock. Originally, Napalm focused mainly on black metal bands such as Abigor and Summoning and folk metal bands such as Falkenbach and Vintersorg. Later on, the label expanded its roster by adding gothic metal, symphonic metal, power metal, doom metal, metalcore and nu metal bands, as well as stoner rock acts Monster Magnet, Karma to Burn, and Brant Bjork. Napalm has its own publishing house named Iron Avantgarde Publishing.

Alestorm band

Alestorm is a multi-national heavy metal band originally from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterised by a pirate theme, and as a result they have been dubbed a "pirate metal" band by many critics and their fanbase.

Swashbuckle is another band labelled pirate metal, known for its pirate image and humorous stage performances. [15] [1] [16] [17]

Swashbuckle (band) band

Swashbuckle are an American pirate metal band based in Mercer County, New Jersey, and were signed to Nuclear Blast Records. Formed in 2005, the band is known for its pirate image and humorous stage performances.

The Dread Crew of Oddwood is a San Diego-based band that does acoustic folk metal with a pirate theme. [18]

The Dread Crew of Oddwood

The Dread Crew of Oddwood is an acoustic pirate band from San Diego, California. Their music, referred to by the band as "Heavy Mahogany", is characterized by a pirate theme and heavy use of acoustic instruments.

San Diego City in California, United States

San Diego is a city in the U.S. state of California. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.

Acoustic music music genre

Acoustic music is music that solely or primarily uses instruments that produce sound through acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means; typically the phrase refers to that made by acoustic string instruments. While all music was once acoustic, the retronym "acoustic music" appeared after the advent of electric instruments, such as the electric guitar, electric violin, electric organ and synthesizer. Acoustic string instrumentations had long been a subset of popular music, particularly in folk. It stood in contrast to various other types of music in various eras, including big band music in the pre-rock era, and electric music in the rock era.

Related Research Articles

<i>Black Hand Inn</i> 1994 studio album by Running Wild

Black Hand Inn is the eighth studio album by German heavy metal band Running Wild, released on March 24, 1994 through Noise Records. It is a loose concept album about a resurrected man, against a backdrop of piracy, foreseeing Armageddon.

<i>Port Royal</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Running Wild

Port Royal is the fourth album by Running Wild. This release expanded on the pirate theme introduced in their album Under Jolly Roger (1987) and established them as "pirate metal" in the metal community. The album has sold nearly 1.8 million records worldwide. The album takes its name from the location of Calico Jack’s death.

<i>Pile of Skulls</i> 1992 studio album by Running Wild

Pile of Skulls is the seventh studio album by Running Wild, released in 1992. It is their last album with guitarist Axel Morgan. It is the first album almost completely dominated by songwriting from band leader Rolf Kasparek but remains a fan favourite. The album has sold over 350,000 copies worldwide.

<i>Victory</i> (Running Wild album) 2000 studio album by Running Wild

Victory is the eleventh studio album by German band Running Wild. It is the third and final album in a trilogy of a theme of good versus evil, started with Masquerade and continued with The Rivalry, and is the only album in their discography not to include any pirate-themed songs/topics.

<i>The Brotherhood</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Running Wild

The Brotherhood is the twelfth album by German heavy metal band Running Wild.

<i>Blazon Stone</i> 1991 studio album by Running Wild

Blazon Stone is the sixth album by German band Running Wild, released in 1991. The album has sold over 440,000 records worldwide. According to Rolf Kasparek in an interview to a Brazilian heavy metal/hard rock magazine, Blazon Stone is the best-selling album by the band, in the 1990s. It is also their first album with both guitarist Axel Morgan and drummer AC.

<i>Captain Morgans Revenge</i> 2008 studio album by Alestorm

Captain Morgan's Revenge is the debut album by the Scottish pirate metal band Alestorm, released in 2008 by Napalm Records.

Destroy Destroy Destroy American heavy metal band

Destroy Destroy Destroy is an American heavy metal band formed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in late February 2003. With a line-up of Bryan Kemp (vocals), Jeremiah Scott (guitar), and Andrew Hall (drums), they began writing songs; soon thereafter Destroy Destroy Destroy completed their outfit with Way Barrier (guitar), Adam Phillips (bass), and Brian Shorter (keyboards). The group then started playing shows locally and recorded a self-financed EP entitled Kill or Be Killed. They have released two studio albums, Devour the Power (2006) and Battle Sluts (2009), both through Black Market Activities.

<i>Black Sails at Midnight</i> 2009 studio album by Alestorm

Black Sails at Midnight is the second studio album by the Scottish pirate metal band Alestorm. As with their first album, all the drums tracks were recorded by session drummer Migo Wagner but touring drummer Ian Wilson added additional percussion. The album features string and brass arrangements and folk instruments as opposed to the more heavy metal instrumentation of Captain Morgan's Revenge. The special edition of the album included a live DVD of the band's performance at the 2008 Wacken Festival.

<i>Ironbound</i> (album) 2010 studio album by Overkill

Ironbound is the 15th full-length studio album by American thrash metal band Overkill, which was released on January 29, 2010 in Europe on Nuclear Blast and in the U.S. on February 9, 2010 on eOne Music. It was their first studio album in more than two years since the release of Immortalis in the fall of 2007, and their first release on their current labels Nuclear Blast and eOne Music.

<i>Back Through Time</i> 2011 studio album by Alestorm

Back Through Time is the third studio album by pirate metal band Alestorm. It was released on 3 June 2011 by Napalm Records and is the first Alestorm recording to feature Gareth Murdock on bass and Peter Alcorn on drums. The album is available in jewelcase, digipack, LP, and Special Edition Boxset formats which includes two bonus cover songs. Alestorm did a Back Through Time World Tour starting in Australia and New Zealand. The album reached #42 on the German Albums Chart

<i>Shadowmaker</i> 2012 studio album by Running Wild

Shadowmaker is the fourteenth studio album by German heavy metal band Running Wild, released on 20 April 2012. It is the band's first studio album since 2005's Rogues en Vogue and the first since the band's return after breaking up in 2009.

<i>The Final Jolly Roger</i> live album by Running Wild

The Final Jolly Roger is a live album by heavy metal band Running Wild, released on 24 June 2011 via Golden Core Records. It was recorded and filmed at Wacken on 30 July 2009 for a CD and DVD release. This was known at the time as the "final" show when Rolf Kasparek announced the band's split on 17 April 2009 before reuniting in 2011.

<i>Rapid Foray</i> 2016 studio album by Running Wild

Rapid Foray is the sixteenth studio album by German heavy metal band Running Wild. It was released by Steamhammer Records on 26 August 2016. The album was delayed due to Rolf Kasparek's shoulder injury, and their subsequent show at Wacken in 2015. A lyric video was made for "Black Bart",


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