Named after the nickname for Captain John Rackham, the English pirate captain who operated in the Bahamas and in Cuba during the early 18th century, Calico Jack was founded in 2011 by the brothers Toto (rhythm guitar) and Caps (drums) with the aim of merging legendary 80s heavy metal with modern Scandinavian folk metal, wrapping everything in a maritime atmosphere, inspired by folk songs and sea shanties of the Anglo-Saxon tradition. They make sure they present a flashback to those times with stage scenery and costumes.
“If you play pirate metal, you can’t help but fill the stage with bandanas, chests, skulls, cutlasses, and pistols. We are arranging to bring real parrots and cannonballs on stage, but we are meeting some resistance from animal welfare and pacifist associations… Aesthetics aside, our live shows are notorious for creating absolute chaos above and below the stage, so it is not advisable to attend one of our concerts if you are looking for meditative and intellectual listening. We also hold the record of never having played sober since the beginning of our career, and we offer unlimited drinks to any fan who asks!”
In 2013, they released the debut EP “Panic In The Harbour”, and first self-titled full-length in 2019. Now signing with Rockshots Records, the band will be rum running their sophomore album “Isla de la Muerte” out on June 30th, 2023.
For this new record, the band kept the style of their debut album but improved every aspect of their music. “Isla de la Muerte” is much more aggressive, the songs are heavier, more dynamic, and more powerful than past ones. The fiddle tunes on the release are more epic and refined, and there’s no shortage of some of Calico Jack’s trademarks such as the Caribbean sounds in “Antigua”. The band also added important elements such as a track of pure classic heavy metal Running Wild-style (“Bad Fortune”) and a journey through the eastern sounds of the Indian Ocean in the final suite “Sandokan”.
Calico Jack shares their first taste off “Isla de la Muerte” with their music video for the single “Broadside Attack”. The song is about one of the best-documented naval battles in the history of piracy, where pirate Olivier La Bouche defeated Captain John Frost. He attacked Frost’s vessel in July 1717. It took him a 12 hours chase to catch up to the vessel and when he did it was 9 o’clock in the evening. The pirate vessel had twenty guns and a crew of 170. Olivier La Bouche’s ship fired a broadside of double rounds and partridges, and a volley of small shots. The band was inspired by this epic event to write a folk-power broadside with which to cannonball the audience at live shows. The track, and the whole album, begin with real noises of Dave picking up his fiddle and breathing before starting to play.
The band adds:
“‘Broadside Attack’ is our attempt to narrate the epicness and tension of a naval battle through adrenaline-fueled folk akin to speed-power metal. This song contains cheerful guitar and violin melodies that contrast with the speed and rhythmic roughness in a way that results in overflowing energy, and it also contains one of our most beautiful guitar solos. We want this to become one of our wildest and most incendiary live anthems, and we chose it as the first single and album opener because we want it to provoke in the listener the sudden impact of a cannonball broadside.”