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Great Master - Skull And Bones - Tales From Over The Seas

Great Master
Skull And Bones - Tales From Over The Seas
by Quinten Serna at 21 January 2020, 10:32 PM

There exists few things in this world that pair as well as pirates and Metal, and GREAT MASTER manages to take such musings to a genre defining substance such as the likes of ALESTORM, SWASHBUCKLE, and RUNNING WILD. Having their fourth studio LP come out nearing the end of the decade, the swing and amble of each section and piece of music juxtaposed to its haven and blatant rhythm and percussion does well to illustrate the tension found within its themes.

“Hostis Humani Generis”, or the “enemy of mankind”, was a law of admiralty predating the adopted tidings of international law which served to dictate that pirates, slavers, and those of the same ill ilk could be dealt with by any nation regardless of their involvement with people of those nations. The song commences with the washing of waves with an acoustic that cleanly cuts through the tides before an accordion and female alto join the mix only themselves to be washed away by the full onslaught of the band as a prelude to “Shine On”.  The culmination of all musings prior the song commences with a strong guitar riff accompanied by some vocal trills before the entirety of the band joins only to refrain from intensity for the verse’s progression. “Urca De Lima” tells the story of the Spanish treasure galleon which met its end 200 yards off the coast of Jack Island Park within Florida in July 1715 with its grounding in the river due to a hurricane; the song tells the story of an expedition for the treasure held by the ship, although the specific ship in the Spanish fleet mostly carried cowhides, chocolate, vanilla, and such. “A Hanged Man” begins with a piano quickly adjoined by a marching beat, chorus, and an acoustic guitar before a heavier beat and the full-blown distorted guitars come in. The song itself is an encomium of sorts to the idea of a pirate facing their end and performed in the likes of a solemn and somber sea shanty. “Skeleton Island” is a quickstep composition revolving around an altercation between Captain Flint, Billy Bones, and Woodes Rogers whereupon Rogers is defeated and Billy is marooned upon the island after falling into the sea leaving only Captain Flint surviving knowledge of the treasure buried within the island.

The music is composed in due reverence of its influences, those ancient shanties, jigs, reels, and such from the Caribbean and beyond. Each instrument defines its own space and carves its own path layering and blending with each other to create an unique soundscape expertly crafted to showcase the prowess and skill of the band.

The entirety of the album is composed of different machinations, motifs, and musical methods lending mostly to its charm and unique nature, the sea shanty style singing, the constant roar of the surf pounding against the tracks, the jig and reel style rhythms, and of course the nature of the progressions all things greatly influenced by the history of the sea and its people. The nature of the album of course would draw in just as many people as it would throw off, by being within such a discrete niche there are few people who would outright fall in love with the music and themes, but at the end of the day, who doesn’t like pirates?

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Hostis Humani Generis
2. Shine On
3. Urca De Lima
4. Over The Seas
5. War
6. A Hanged Man
7. The Black Spot
8. Long John Silver
9. Towards The Sunset
10. Skeleton island
11. Skull And Bones
Massimo David - Bass
Max Penzo - Drums
Jahn Carlini - Guitars
Manuel Menin - Guitars
Giorgio Peccenini - Keyboards
Stefano “Stex” Sbrignadello - Vocals
Record Label: Underground Symphony Records


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Edited 30 September 2022

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