|Cultural origins||Late-1980s Germany, mid-2000s United Kingdom, United States|
Pirate metal is style of heavy metalcharacterized by its incorporation of pirate mythology within the music and sometimes in stage performances. Lyrics often use piratical jargon and various musical genres, such as thrash metal, speed metal, and folk metal, may be combined with traditional-sounding songs like sea shanties. Folk instruments, such as the concertina, can be incorporated or emulated with synthesizers. Band members often dress up in period costume during performances, and concert attendees may do so as well. Pirate metal is sometimes referred to by the media as a music scene.
The earliest example of pirate metal appeared in 1987, when German heavy metal band Running Wild released their third album, Under Jolly Roger .According to Rolf Kasparek, lead singer and guitarist for Running Wild, the album's pirate theme was not planned. Instead, it grew from the album's title song. 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 . Kasparek began reading about pirates and, after finding "everything very interesting", he incorporated the motifs into their music. The subject matter was expanded during rehearsals for the fourth release, Port Royal , and their trademark style was solidified.
Although Kasparek was more interested in the true histories of the Golden Age of Piracy,pirate metal would eventually be inspired, to a greater extent, by the inaccuracies as invented or portrayed in novels and Hollywood films.
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.
Swashbuckle is another band labelled pirate metal, 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.
Running Wild is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Hamburg, Germany. They were part of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s, and are also considered to be one of the country's so-called "big four" of power metal, along with Grave Digger, Helloween and Rage. 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, from the third album on, the band's primary subject matter centered around pirates, sailing, and other historical events.
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.
Gates to Purgatory is the first studio album by German heavy metal band 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.
Port Royal is the fourth album by German power metal band 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 takes its name from the location of Calico Jack’s death.
Pile of Skulls is the seventh studio album by Running Wild, released in 1992. It is their last album with guitarist Axel Morgan.
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.
Death Metal is a split album by the bands Helloween, Hellhammer, Running Wild and Dark Avenger. It contains the only recorded material of the German band Dark Avenger.
Masquerade is the ninth album by German band Running Wild. It is the first in a trilogy of a theme of good versus evil, continued with The Rivalry and concluded with Victory.
The Brotherhood is the twelfth album by German heavy metal band Running Wild.
Blazon Stone is the sixth album by German band Running Wild, released in 1991. 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.
Alestorm is a Scottish heavy metal band formed in 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. The group currently consists of lead vocalist Christopher Bowes, who also plays the keytar, guitarist Máté "Bobo" Bodor, bassist Gareth Murdock, drummer Peter Alcorn, and keyboardist Elliot Vernon, who also provides screamed vocals.
Captain Morgan's Revenge is the debut album by the Scottish heavy metal band Alestorm, released in 2008 by Napalm Records.
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.
Black Sails at Midnight is the second studio album by Scottish heavy 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.
Swashbuckle are an American heavy 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.
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.
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.
Rapid Foray is the sixteenth studio album by the 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".
Curse of the Crystal Coconut is the sixth studio album by Scottish heavy metal band Alestorm. It was released on 29 May 2020 via Napalm Records. The album was recorded at Krabi Road, Thailand with the band's long-time producer Lasse Lammert. It was preceded by four singles: "Treasure Chest Party Quest", "Tortuga", "Fannybaws" and "Pirate Metal Drinking Crew".
Pirate metal: This speed metal subgenre...
Genre: Pirate Metal
... an obscure genre called pirate metal.