SHTACK - SHTACK (Independent)



Pirate Metal is a common definition of fighting and drinking, nautical adventures, black sails and a keelhaul now and then, but except for the lyrics, the musical approach is often related to Folk Metal with a lot of melodic winks. This, so far totally unknown band from Holland, is called Shtack and wants to set their boarders a little wider, they want to be liberated from pigeonhole thinking and accentuate that they bring their Pirate Influenced Metal with a little more heaviness while adding raucous and hoarse elements. At least, that’s what they promised us before sending over a promo package. The self-titled debut album of Shtack was recorded at Kink Studio and released by the band on November 1st , 2013.The members of Shtack are Bram Claessen (Bass/Voc), Thimo Gijezen (Guitars/Keys/Acoordian/Voc) and Tom Reinders (Drums/Trumpet/Voc) but they teamed up with a bunch of friends and musicians to complete the 11 tracks on this first output.  Guest musicians took care of Violin, Alt Violin, Cello, Flute, Bass-Tuba and Trombone and there was even a choir involved to give the songs the necessary feeling and eradication.

The musical direction of this band is Death Metal meets Folk, aggressive influences are mixed with non-conventional instruments, and their approach to levity and frivolity is captured by the use of unusual lyrics. Some songs are really hard to follow (‘Satésaus’, ‘Boeresjtink’ and ‘Hikke Pikke Takke Teef’) as it’s partly in their local dialect.  It indicates that this band is aiming for fun prior to success, although that’s my opinion. Perhaps, they had a blast while recording and editing the material, but they should question themselves if these things are relevant for others as well? Tracks like ‘Jolly Roger’ and ‘Captain Iglo’ are digestible, and the song ‘Pirate Metal’ delivers what the band stands for, but occasionally, I would like to know if they are dead serious in the whole idea of a band. Isn’t this a runaway joke, some kind of inside gimmick that is searching for the line between seriously and pleasantry… The total duration of this album is 42 minutes, but minus the intro and 7 minutes silence in ‘Captain Iglo’, it should take about half an hour to hear the material of Shtack. Best tracks are ‘Jolly Roger’, ‘Rock The Brazilian’ and ‘S.H.T.A.C.K.’, while ‘Boeresjtink’ and ‘Satésaus’ are really ogres and mishaps.

All in all, we must say that there are good elements in the songs, but at the same time, the band still has a long way ahead to bring their music to a larger crowd. This is their first step, and I know it’s not always easy, but if you want to stand out of the crowd, you really need skills and outstanding structures and arrangements, and I think that this might be the missing link for Shtack so far. The band wrote a typical liner note in their booklet, and I would like to quote, as it says a lot of this album: ‘We’re sorry for the crab in some of the songs, we promise that our next album will be more serious’. 

We’ll keep that in mind, sailors, otherwise we’ll force you to ‘walk the plank’!

My rating: 65 / 100


95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !

Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan

Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it

Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing

Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate

Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard

50- : Rubbish