Alestorm is a heavy metal band from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterized by a pirate theme, and as a result they have been dubbed a "pirate metal" band by many critics and their fanbase.
The band formed under the name Battleheart in 2004. After releasing two demos, they were signed by Napalm Records in 2007 and renamed themselves Alestorm. Their debut album was released on 25 January 2008. The band's third album, Back Through Time, was released in June 2011, and their latest record Sunset on the Golden Age was released in August 2014.
When Battleheart was originally founded in 2004, they were briefly a six-piece with the line-up: Graham Motion (drums), Stuart Finnie (bass), Tom Mitchell (rhythm guitar), Gavin Harper (lead guitar), Christopher Bowes (keyboards), Robin Hellier (vocals). Battleheart recorded an independent demo in early 2006. Battleheart played their first live show only five days after the members had met for the first time.
Terror on the High Seas, their second demo, was recorded the same year. Later in the year, the song "Set Sail And Conquer" from the demo was featured on Metal Hammer's "Battle Metal V" CD with other such bands as Týr, Firewind, HammerFall and Blind Guardian.
In 2006, before recording their second demo, a few line-up changes were made. Robin Hellier quit being the lead vocalist, and Christopher Bowes took over this position. Bassist Jason Heeny quit from the band and was replaced by Dani Evans. Original drummer Graham Motion died after falling from the Queen's Bridge in Perth, Scotland, into the river Tay. It's unknown if that was an accident or suicide. He was only 20 years old. After Graham Motion's death, he was replaced by Doug Swierczek, who quit from the band a year later and was in turn replaced by Ian Wilson.
After being signed by Napalm Records, the band changed their name to Alestorm. The name change was due to the name Battleheart not fitting the band's style accurately, and to avoid confusion with power metal band Battlelore which has also been signed by Napalm Records. Their debut album, Captain Morgan's Revenge, was released in early 2008. The song "Captain Morgan's Revenge" was also featured on Metal Hammer's "Battle Metal VI."
In April 2008, the single "Heavy Metal Pirates" was released as a digital download. Ian Wilson left Alestorm temporarily in June of that year because he was unable to fully commit to the band. He was temporarily replaced by German Alex Tabisz, before rejoining the band in late August, in time for a show at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow on 29 August.
By September 2008, guitarist Gavin Harper had left the band. Tim Shaw was Harper's replacement, but after a brief period of touring, was fired from the band. To fill the guitarist position, Dani Evans switched instruments from bass to guitar, and Gareth Murdock of Waylander joined as the replacement bassist. In March 2010, Ian Wilson left the band and was replaced with a new drummer named Peter Alcorn. Alestorm's third album, Back Through Time, is Alcorn's first appearance on an Alestorm album. In October 2011, Elliot Vernon of the band Windrider joined the band's live performances as keyboard player; he has since joined Alestorm as a full-time member.
The band released their fourth record entitled "Sunset on the Golden Age" on 1 August 2014, a week before its appearance at the 2014 edition of Heavy MONTREAL.
In late February 2009, after a second European support tour, the band embarked on the Pagan Knight's tour across North America with Týr and Suidakra.
From April to May 2009, Alestorm, Týr, Heidevolk, and Adorned Brood took part in another European tour, titled Black Sails Over Europe. A tour CD limited to 1,000 copies was released by Napalm Records, which contained three new tracks from Alestorm's second album, Black Sails at Midnight.
Alestorm played three additional tours in 2009: Paganfest in Europe, Heathenfest in the United States and a headline tour of the UK.
In 2010, Alestorm played a few shows as guests on selected dates of the Paganfest tour through Europe. That tour was headlined by Finntroll and Eluveitie.
From 17 to 20 June 2010, Alestorm played various shows around Australia.
In late 2010, Alestorm toured Europe along with Sabaton, (they also played together with Sabaton at their hometown festival of Falun named Rockstad: Falun during the 28-29 May) as well as playing at Hard Rock Hell: Road Trip in Ibiza.
On 24 September, Alestorm debuted a new song from their third album called "Rum" live in Karlstad, Sweden in support of Sabaton's World War Tour. On the 17th of October, they played a cover of a Gloryhammer (a side project of keyboardist Christopher Bowes) song called "The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee" in Brighton, England.
In order to promote their third studio album Back Through Time, Alestorm went on a large world tour, entitled "The Back Through Time World Tour". The first part of the tour was held in Australia and New Zealand from 10 until 15 May., This was followed by many summer festivals in Europe including Sonisphere Festival in the UK. The band then went on to be main support for Kamelot on their headlining North American tour. This was followed by the Heidenfest European Tour also featuring Finntroll, Turisas and more.
Alestorm played on the '70000 Tons of Metal' cruise in the Caribbean. Shortly after that, the band toured around the UK and Ireland on the 'Useless Drunken Bastards' tour with Claim The Throne and Darkest Era.
The band played on the Paganfest tour of North America with Turisas and Arkona in April. In October 2012, Alestorm toured North America with Epica, Insomnium, System Divide, and Destiny Potato. Alestorm dressed as characters from Batman in honor of their Halloween performance in Toronto and introduced themselves as Christian Balestorm.
Starting from late September, Alestorm toured as the main support band for DragonForce. They appeared third at all shows after Cavorts and The Defiled.
In January 2013 Alestorm returned to Australia and New Zealand filming their first live DVD."Live at The End of The World" was released worldwide later that year. This DVD release followed their cover of the Village People track "In The Navy"
In July 2013, Alestorm played at Metalcamp and at Wacken Open Air in Germany in August.
In November and December 2013, Alestorm headlined a tour in North America supported by Trollfest and Gypsyhawk.
Throughout October 2014, Alestorm toured Ireland and the UK supported by Nottingham's Red Rum, Lagerstein from Australia and American one-man act Rainbowdragoneyes.
Alestorm play a combination of styles of metal. They are generally classified as power metal and folk metal. The band refer to themselves as "True Scottish Pirate Metal" and are identifiable by the pirate-themed lyrics in their songs. Alestorm's music utilizes the upbeat style of power metal with many orchestrations commonly found in folk metal. Songs adopt a pirate sea-shanty feel, utilizing accordion synths in songs such as Keelhauled and The Sunk'n Norwegian in order to convey a pirate feel. The band embellishes the fact that imitating pirates can be a jovial matter, using this factor of amusement to their advantage. Alestorm uses factors of absurdity to bring a jocular feel to their music. They have also been known to experiment with different metal genres, going from songs that are predominantly thrash metal ("Black Sails At Midnight") to a switch to a black metal sonority mid-song ("Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid"). 'Sunset On The Golden Age' also saw the band experiment with death growls in certain songs.
Christopher Bowes - lead vocals, keyboards, keytar (2004-present),
Gareth Murdock - bass guitar, backing vocals (2008-present),
Peter Alcorn - drums (2010-present),
Elliot Vernon - keyboards, backing vocals (2011-present),
Máté Bodor - guitar (2015-present),
Gavin Harper - guitar, backing vocals (2004-2008),
Robin Hellier - lead vocals (2004-2006),
Graham Motion - drums (2004-2006; his death),
Stuart Finnie - bass guitar (2004),
Tom Mitchell - guitar (2004),
Jason Heeny - bass guitar (2004-2006),
Dani Evans - guitar (2008-2015), bass guitar (2006-2008), backing vocals (2006-2015),
Doug Swierczek - drums (2006-2007),
Ian Wilson - drums, percussion (2007-2008, 2008-2010),
Alex Tabisz - drums, percussion (2008),
Tim Shaw - guitar, backing vocals (2008)