Ye Banished Privateers – Hostis Humani Generis

Band: Ye Banished Privateers
Album: Hostis Humani Generis
Release Date: 7th February 2020
Record Label: Napalm Records

Ye Banished Privateers have been on my musical radar for a few years now, and I am very sad not to be going to Wacken Winter Nights this year to see them perform live, but unfortunately money is a thing and I can’t get over there. Hopefully next year instead!

Within my group of festival going friends, we have an accordion player and a viola player, so naturally there are always some folk nights where we wrap up warm, and have a sing and dance to some acoustic versions of metal, folk, and TV theme tunes. One of the staple tracks we sing is Annabel, and when I heard Ye Banished Privateers were releasing a new album, I had to see if this one had some singalongs in it too. Although I’m obviously a little bit of a lover of folk metal, I am also a fan of more traditional sounding folk music, especially something you can have a singalong and dance to.

All of the tracks on here seem to tell their own individual story, with a story arc over the top for the entire album. Overall the album is a swinging, toe-tapping ride, with a somber message at the end for one of our Privateer crew.

No Prey, No Pay sets some of the tone for the album, with a definite tavern feel, telling a story, and makes use of the sounds of the 1700’s with gunshots, cannon fire, and cries. And of course, there just has to be to some chants to sing along to. I can see a group sitting in a private room at a tavern with this one being sung while the instruments play. Hush Now My Child is a continuation with gun and cannon fire, cries, and horses making noises. To me this track really has the feel of a traditional folk song, with a chorus to sing along too. There is a great bit where it’s just a group vocal and a drum, and I am always a fan of musical sections of that style.

Blame the Brits, which has a fitting title given the current state of affairs, is a song where I can picture a woman telling her tale of frustration amid a group of her crew, with an ale or flagon of wine in their hand. She doesn’t seem happy with her choice (or lack) of crew. Capstan Shanty is a great track, it’s probably one of my favourites, orders given lead into a proper shanty which were originally used to help sailors keep in time and get into a rhythm for work. In a more modern world, I can see myself listening to this while sewing on some patches on my jacket and singing along.

Moving onto more boisterous tavern lyrics, Elephants’ Dance is indeed a more dancey and fast paced track. Swords to Plowshares starts off softly with fiddle, accordion and the gravelly male vocal, when it kicks into a full jig, I can see a big singalong in a tavern with dancing on tables and ales sloshing around, it definitely gives a friendly tavern atmosphere!

We then come to a ballad-like song Flintlock, and a tale of romance and woe, Parting Song. Both tracks portray the emotions of the lyrics, and the harmonies of the male and female vocals in Parting Song is beautiful.

We’re now in a courtroom, where a man is accused of smuggling and piracy. There’s a bit of a polka feel to Rowing With One Hand, where John is telling his tale of how he must be innocent of these crimes which could lead to his gruesome demise. I have images of a full song and dance happening in a court room and the judge clearly not being best pleased with the occurrence.

After being found guilty our intrpid banished privateers must go A-Swinging. A slow start with a death drum means that the privateers are saying “A-Swingin We Must Go” and although the track is a bit jiggy, you know that the end is near. They Are Marching Down on High Street is the execution gallows calling the unfortunate souls who have been sentenced to death. This one has a heavy fiddle melody, and it sees hanging as some kind of dance.

A funeral song for the Death of Bellows is next, with appropriately somber rain, and an almost church-like choir style vocal. The strings provide a suitably sad atmosphere. This is the only track I really have something negative to say, which is that for me it goes on a little too long as a track. A calming song about the true nature of life at sea, Why the Big Whales Sing is a beautiful track to end the album on.

Overall, I think Ye Banished Privateers have done a fantastic job of keeping to their style of music while still bringing fresh songs. Sometimes bands like this can rehash old melodies and the music starts to sounds the same, but this is a trap that Ye Banished Privateers have yet to fall into. There a few too many “slow” and “ballad-like” tracks for me, but that is down to my own personal taste, I prefer something with a good bit of toe-tapping and something you can sing or hum along to.
I have yet to see Ye Banished Privateers live, and unfortunately can’t make to it Wacken Winter Nights, but I hope that one day I can make a trip over the sea to watch them at a festival, or maybe they might even make a trip over to the UK some day…

Ye Banished Privateers – Rowing With One Hand

Verdict: 8/10

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