Genre: Experimental Folk Metal Melodic Death Metal
Label: Self Released
Shtack is a new Dutch pirate metal band from Reuver that recently released its first work. They were formed in 2008 by Bram and Thimo and were soon joined by Tom. All three of them were members of the melodic death metal band Stygian Sun, who just wanted a new project to express some different ideas and play what they call “thick, fat, heavy pirate metal”. Schtack finally recorded their first full-length album “Shtack“, which was self-released in November 2013.
The most difficult thing about this review, is to try to categorize the band’s music. Well, the term “pirate metal” is too generic to describe their sound, since they are quite different from the typical examples of the genre. Shtack actually combine in their album elements from modern heavy metal, melodic death metal, folk metal, epic battle metal, alternative prog rock and symphonic metal in a quite personal and interesting mixture. The 11 songs of the album last for only 35 minutes, plus a 6-minutes “silence” and the short hidden track “Ik Ben Een MnM“, but the music is so diverse that you think it’s much bigger! Their rhythmic guitars have a somehow dry sound, yet they sound technical and they make a nice contrast with their epic melodic symphonic keys. The rhythms and moods inside this album change constantly. One moment they create dark doom drone atmospheres and the next they play happy drinking songs or epic symphonic melodic folk metal. There is an overall humorous, jazzy and sometimes almost improvisational approach in the whole effort.
There are 9 guest musicians participating in this album with their acoustic instruments (violin, alt violin, cello, flute, bass-tuba, trombones and trumpets) and many others contributing to the choirs! As you can understand their orchestrations are quite rich… Their vocals are also diverse, ranging from brutal death metal growls, to epic clean vocals and drunken choirs and they even include various animal sounds! The band members are definitely skilled musicians; after all it’s not easy at all to experiment with and combine all these genres. I think though Shtack need to improve a lot their production, since I find the sound a little “fuzzy”. Maybe this sound helps the band flatten the differences between the various styles they play, but for me the overall result would be much more impressive with a more clear powerful sound. Their lyrics are both in English and Dutch and they totally far away from seriousness
I admit I enjoyed very much Shtack’s version of pirate metal, even if there are some weaknesses in the album too. Not all parts are of equal quality, but the overall result is very good. There are some masterpieces in there, like the amazing closing track “Captain Iglo” with its unique oriental (Turkish I think) enchanting melody! “Shtack” is self-released by the band in a jewel case edition with 4-page booklet, illustrated by Rosanna Heuts. They have burned their logo in the plastic case, creating an unusual effect. If you are in the mood, you can visit the band’s official Facebook page in the link below and listen to their entertaining music!
Shtack @ Facebook