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Calarook - Surrender or Die Award winner

Surrender or Die
by Joseth Radiant at 08 October 2020, 3:17 PM

Pirate Metal? From the landlocked country of Switzerland?!? You wouldn’t think that it would work, but it actually sounds fabulous. The debut album from CALAROOK is a surprising amount of fun to consume, and their sound has the unique twist of adding blast beats and death metal growls a genre that at times can be formulaic to the point of absurdity. I always say that Pirate Metal is at its best when the bands performing it don’t take themselves too seriously and are self-aware enough to be in on the joke. These are clearly in on the joke and that fact alone makes this music fun. In the bio that came across my desk was the line that states that their sound is “Folk Metal parts, Death Metal rolls and sometimes a pinch of bullshit, a sound is created that makes nobody stand still and stay sober.”

SURRENDER OR DIE opens with the moody instrumental 47°30’18’’N 8°51’52’’E. For those not familiar with global coordinates, a quick Google search will show you those are a spot in Switzerland. So being the curious person that I am, I messaged the band on social media and Philipp responded letting me know that it was the coordinates of a spot located near their rehearsal space. CALAROOK even buried a treasure chest at that spot for a fan to find stuffed with goodies from the band. Philipp informed me that a day after they released Surrender Or Die, a fan found that treasure chest. Here I was thinking that this was the location of some place of historical nautical significance such as the place where Blackbeard the Pirate died or the location of the Battle of Trafalgar. But no. Well-played, CALAROOK.

The album then launches into a vicious assault of the senses. What really impressed me was that as brutal as their sound is from start to finish. There’s enough melody peppered throughout the album that encourages the listener to sing along when it calls for it. My only critique comes from the fact that at 16 tracks, it’s almost too long of an album. They could have easily split the album in two having two albums with eight tracks each, given them their own separate album release cycles and call it a day. There are some strong tracks on the latter half of the album, but after Davy Jones’ Locker, I had to take a break from listening. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, as I was still entertained for most of my first listen. But to all you new bands out there, remember that you only need eight songs at the least and twelve songs at the most for your debut album. If you want to throw one or two tracks on for some kind of special release on iTunes or for overseas fans, then you have a lot more options to work with by limiting the amount of tracks to include. But overall, this was fun to consume. It shows that there’s a way to expand the genre of Pirate Metal without becoming too generic. Pay attention to these guys, and once this pandemic is over, GO TO THEIR SHOW AND BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. 47°30’18’’N 8°51’52’’E
2. A Cursed Ship’s Tale
3. Quest For Booze
4. Into The Storm
5. Surrender Or Die
6. Invisible Pineapples
7. Kraken’s Chest
8. Paul The Parrot
9. Jack Rackham
10. Kicking Flamingos
11. Davy Jones’ Locker
12. Tentacle Explosion
13. Loyal To None But Rum
14. The Legend Of Liquor Island
15. The Feast Of Emerald Meadows
16. The Undying Sailor
Philipp Wyssen – Vocals
Lukas Mischler – Violin
Nico Wiget – Guitar
Flavio Pompeo – Bass
Yves Locher – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 20 October 2020

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