The Privateer – Monolith

The Privateer
Monolith
Released 15th November 2013
Power Metal/ Folk Metal
Released via Trollzorn Records

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‘Monolith’ is the second album from the pirate themed German power metal band The Privateer. It is the follow up to their debut The Tempest’ which was released in 2011.

After a short instrumental intro it’s straight on to the first full track; the folkish sounding, violin-infused ballad A sequel from a distant visit, which seems a world away from the usual pirate themed metal clichés such as Alestorm. Although this is still technically falling under the power metal banner, there’s a lot more depth to The Privateer than your standard “let’s all dress up as pirates, drink ourselves silly and wave some plastic swords in the air” -metal. For starters, violin is a prominent feature in their music, giving the songs a slight melancholic feel which is evident in tracks such as Ember Sea, a track packed with atmospheric elements mixed in with the guitars and catchy “epic” choruses.

There’s also a handful of faster, catchy and more upbeat songs on here such as the title track, which brings back some of the “fun” and energy that was missing earlier. The aforementioned track incorportates elements of Ensiferum (the chorus singing style) along with hints of both Eluveitie and Apocalyptica. They have even decided to add a German-language track Störtebeker, which reminds me of earlier works by Die Apokalyptischen Reiter for some reason. The lead vocals tend to vary slightly in style depending on the track, offering a somewhat unusual mixture of rock and melodeath-styled semi-growls.

Then it’s back to good old “epic” power metal for the remainder of the album with tracks like their namesake The Privateer, providing the obligatory pirate anthem complete with lyrics about “Jolly Rogers” and For what lurks in the storm, which features a female backing vocalist. The only exception is the melodic, acoustic instrumental The Tides, which highlights the skill of both the guitarist and the violin player. A pleasant addition but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make this album stand out.

Overall ‘Monolith’ reveals the ambitious nature of the band and their willingness to experiment with different genres. Mixing folk and power metal may be a bold move but it’s not an easy one to execute properly. Whilst I value the effort and applaud their skills as musicians, I think that The Privateer have bitten off more than they can chew with this release.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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