Admiral Nobeard and Swashbuckle Tell Tales of Terror on the High Seas!

Nuclear Blast's Pirate Metal Thrashers, Swashbuckle, spin salty sea stories about their new album "Back to the Noose", appearing at Wacken 2009, their Splash-N-Thrash roots, the fine art of music video, the never ending quest for booty, and more while being mercilessly keelhauled by Wolven Joker Lokison... YARGH!!

Yar, ye scurvy land lubbers!! Sailin’ the High Seas, hijacking merchant vessels, soaking your liver in rum, embarking on a never ending quest for booty… and treasure, that’s the life of a Pirate!  I’m not talking about the new era AK-47 & RPG slinging Somali jerk-offs that are harassing cruise ships off the coast of Africa, no I’m speaking of the sword swinging, cannon firing, mainsail hoisting type of yore. The Raider, the Buccaneer, the Swashbuckler!! 

Other than being a Viking, being a Pirate would be pretty fuckin’ sweet as far as a career in the fields of raping, robbing, and pillaging goes. The only thing missing from making a pirate a perfect lifestyle choice, of course, is the METAL!  Keelhauling some royal douchebag from the yardarm is a pretty Metal act, but the act of metal is still missing! Of course, Running Wild has been sailing the Metal out of Port Royal for a few decades (sadly ending their voyage at this year’s Wacken Open Air), but who shall fill the gap left by these stalwart buccaneers? Keep one hand on your rum and one on your woman, because new Nuclear Blast thrashers Swashbuckle are about to come aboard whether you like it or not! Vocalist/Bassist/Rapscallion Admiral Nobeard spins us a yarn of piratical proportions and of the new album, “Back to the Noose”!

The best place to begin the sea-fairing tale of Admiral Nobeard, Captain Crashride (drums), and Commodore Redrum (guitars & keys) is at the beginning. Where did this trio of scallywags come from?

Admiral Nobeard begins, “Ahoy! We started our crew of rapscallions and bildgerats in early 2005.  We put out a few demos, played some local New Jersey shows before getting picked up by independent label Bald Freak Music in 2006, which we released our first album Crewed by the Damned. Aye, there were some previous bands that we took part in, but faltered before our age of piracy.“   

Ah, New Jersey! I should’ve known. Yeah, anyway, Nobeard went on to explain that the band spent the next few years 'Splashing and Thrashing' their way around the States until they caught the ear of Maurizio Iacono of (Kataklysm/Ex-Deo fame) Hard Impact Management. “Next thing we knew, Nuclear Blast was thrashing by our side and our piratical shenannigans were furthered.“ 

The Admiral also explained that Swashbuckle, along with Blackguard and Augury,  were the fortunate winners of a new talent contest sponsored by Nuclear Blast that landed them a deal.

Other than the aforementioned, Running Wild, not many metal acts have incorporated a pirate theme into their music and stage presentation. Not saying that it’s not cool, but I think many peoples’ minds these days have been polluted by the glamorous, dare I say “fruity” image of Johnny Depp’s famous Disney pirate. In reality, pirates were a rude, crude, lascivious lot. These dudes were ruthless, violent, scumbags that murdered and thieved their ways into history.  If ya think about it, true pirate lore and lifestyle go with metal like chocolate and peanut butter.

We wanted to tell tales of our piratical adventures on the high seas in a musical setting,“ Nobeard claims, “Since we’re a bunch of dirty, scurvy-ridden mongrels, thrash just seemed to fit our approach to our yarns of drinking, battleship, and trying to kill hellacious sea-beasts content on devouring the earth.  Just the typical everyday pirate’s life.“

So, this raucous troupe isn’t influenced at all by the Deppian pirate of the big screen?

"The Commodore(Redrum) enjoys the Pirates of the Caribbean films, I could give a shit less. Fuck Disney.“

Fuck Disney, indeed! However, is there a limit to how far the band can take the pirate theme? I remember reading an interview once with Amon Amarth where the question of running out of Viking material came up.  I asked Admiral Nobeard a similar question regarding whether or not he feared ever running out of pirate tales to tell.

"Probably not.  I’m a pretty retarded pirate, so I can think up some major shenanigans to throw the ‘buckle into.  I’m not worried about running out of ideas, I’m more worried about running out of rum.“

We got to the bottom of where these pirates three came from, but where did the metal take hold? Listening to the new album, Back to the Noose, I immediately recognised a hint of classic crossover thrash. The songs are that fine mixture of hardcore and thrash that cause the listeners’ head to bang without a thought. The vocals are more brutal and have more in common with death metal than sing-song vox found on some thrash records. Most songs clock in under the three minute mark, giving them the feeling of a musical attack. The only breathing room is found on the tracks that resemble a minstrel setting the soundtrack to a bard’s booze soaked story. And sure, all the tracks are tongue-in-cheek. I mean, how serious can you take guys dressed in frilly shirts these days? Nevertheless, the output is pure fun. The first band that came to mind for a comparison with Swashbuckle’s sound was S.O.D and I suppose I was surprised that it didn’t sound like Running Wild. Damn those preconceived misconceptions!

"S.O.D., Anthrax, Megadeth, Leeway, Blind Guardian, Death, Morbid Angel, Rage, Yanni…ya know, the classics,“ Nobeard quipped, “We have a heavy thrash influence, along with a punk/hardcore background, toss some death metal in there as well as some grindcore, bake for 5 years and BAM!  Ye got our piratical shenanigans. I grew up on all the old thrash/crossover stuff, so it’s just the type of metal I want to play and craft piratical lore about.“

Be sure that Swashbuckle is not one of those fake "retro thrash“ bands that were particularly prevalent during the late 90s! No stolen riffs, or lyrics that seem amazingly familiar to those you may have heard throughout the 80s are found on either Crewed By the Damned or Back to the Noose. No, these guys are playing a style of "Splash N Thrash“ all their own!

The Admiral explains, "Growing up on this music and not being able to experience it in the early/late 80s probably played a part in [the formation of Swashbuckle’s sound].  The bands that are raging on thrash today want to experience the stage-dives, the high-fives, the neck-breaking speeds, the mosh parts, the stomp riffs, the messages, most of all the fucking fun.  Metal always ends up coming around full circle, it seems now was just the time for it to happen.  We be proud to be apart of this resurgence, there’s a shitload of killer bands out there ripping it up like all the older scallywags that did so, so it’s time for their shot.“

Back to the Noose was produced and engineered by Len Carmichael of Sound of the Revolution Studios, and friend of the band, Ron "Bumblefoot“ Thal (best known for his guitar work with Guns N Roses, as well as the theme songs for television‘s MXC and VH1’s That Metal Show) contributed with further production and guest solos.


"Overall, the record sounds fucking awesome and we’re grateful that both Len and Ron could lend a hand on it,“ Nobeard adds. "I guess that’d be the major difference (between the the two records), the amount of shenanigans on Back To The Noose out-weigh the ones on Crewed by the Damned.  Listen for yarselves and judge wisely, or perish by our sabers!“


For Back to the Noose, Nuclear Blast granted Swashbuckle the opportunity to film a video for the track Cruise Ship Terror. I’m sure you can figure the theme of the track, but I’ll break down the video for you.  A young woman stands on the deck of a yacht  in the midst of being home videoed by her boyfriend when she spots a mysterious vessel on the horizon. Uh-oh! It’s Swashbuckle on a raid! Chaos ensues, the bodies begin to pile up, the boyfriend gets shot in the face, and Swashbuckle make off with the damsel. This action is punctuated by shots of the band thrashing away on the deck of their ship.  Check it out for yourself and play the Cruise Ship Terror Video Game at the band’s Myspace page (where you can also check out the entire Back to the Noose album streaming live). I commented on the excellent quality of the video to Nobeard.


"Thanks, it came out fucking awesome.  David Brodsky (the video’s director) knows his shit around that camera, that’s for sure.  Basically it was the worst day to do a video shoot ever:  cold as fuck, pouring rain and three miserable pirates on a boat.   We had no idea the footage would come out as good as it did, so big thanks for David again.“


Any chance we’ll see another killer video for any other tracks off Back to the Noose?


"As far as another video, it all depends on Nuclear Blast and whether or not they want to do another piratical video.“


The official release of Back to the Noose is scheduled during this year’s massive Wacken Open Air Fest in Germany, which coincedentally marks the swansong of German Pirate Metallers Running Wild.


"We are fucking beyond stoked to be playing Wacken this year, let alone to be taking part in the last Running Wild show ever.  It’s a bummer that they be callin’ it quits, but it’s awesome that they’re going out at Wacken the way they are.“


How excited is the band to be dropping their debut for Nuclear Blast at a festival gig a legendary and massive as Wacken?  


"It’s an awesome feeling that we basically get to throw a record release rager at Wacken this year. 70,000 people partying, drinking, and loving metal is the way to go.“


Wacken is, of course, a major conquest for Swashbuckle, but true pirates spend the majority of their lives terrorizing the briny blue. How important is it for these modern day musical buccaneers to be on the road?


"About as important as it is for ye to wipe yar arse after taking an explosive shite!  Touring be the way we get our shenanigans across to the masses, so it be very important for us sea-dwellers to venture on land, thrash and pillage cape to village!“


"Do pirates score a lot of booty while on tour?“ I asked.

Nobeard replied, "It be our duty to please that booty.“

Swashbuckle's Back to the Noose is out on Nuclear Blast/Riot on 24 July in Europe and everywhere else on 11 August. Read our review of this album here.

In the meantime, discover where these Swashbucklers like to hang out: