As a rule, sub-genres are pretty meaningless. Sub-genres of metal seem to be the most meaningless, especially when you get right down into the realm of post-this or that-core. But as soon as I saw, those three words… Nautical. Folk. Metal… all strung together, I knew that this was for me. And as a label it is perfect too, summing up Stormseekers’ incendiary, heavy and heart of oak deliveries of shanties and folk reels perfectly.
This, their third album, sees them navigating some exciting waters and firing off some sumptuous sonic salvos along the way. Opening, naturally enough, with How To Be A Pirate, this first song acts as the perfect taste of the voyage that you are about to embark on, its blend of metal power and folk prowess allows you to test the water before shipping out for parts unknown.
It’s a blend of sonics and styles which has been tried before but never to such success, most bands merely opting to crack up the guitars, explore a few folk cliches but on silly hats and say “arrrhhh” rather too often. What makes Guns Don’t Cry work is that Storm Seeker manages to embrace the beauty of both genres perfectly. Take a song like Shoot This Ship Down, a blend of aggressive old-school metal grooves, more symphonic overtones, overdriven folky jigs, barking gang, sing-alongs, harmony vocals (which naturally hit the high C’s effortlessly) and sweeping strings all woven into the sort of shanty sung on the Flying Dutchmen to while away the cursed hours of the sailors cursed lives.
Row, Row, Row is a growling and gruff song to pull the oars to, Maelstrom is suitably squalling and spray-soaked and Compass is a wonderfully brooding and bruised folk dirge.
And if you haven’t realised that this is a band that makes seriously great music whilst not taking themselves too seriously by now then the fact that they sign off with Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand Bikini, rocked up and sung in their native German tells you all that you need to know.
Storm Seeker is a tonic in this day and age where earnest metallers are still trying to impress us with their testosterone-fuelled music and pst its sell-by date posing. Guns Don’t Cry ticks all of the required boxes for musical prowess, technically and speed of delivery but it is the band’s ability to splice genres together without sacrificing one for the other, their sense of fun and adventure, their cheeky asides and their historical narratives which make them a real treasure.