History and notable bands
Commodore Redrum of Swashbuckle
The earliest example of pirate metal appeared in 1987, when German heavy metal band Running Wild released their third album, Under Jolly Roger. According to Rolf Kasparek, lead singer and guitarist for Running Wild, the album's pirate theme was not planned. Instead, it grew from the album's title song. Eventually, the album's artwork was changed to match the title, and set decorations and costumes for future concerts were designed. The piratical lyrics also became a way to convey the band's political message, since their use of the devil as a symbolic figure was being misunderstood on their first album Gates to Purgatory. Kasparek began reading about pirates and, after finding "everything very interesting", he incorporated the motifs into their music. The subject matter was expanded during rehearsals for the fourth release, Port Royal, and their trademark style was solidified.
Although Kasparek was more interested in the true histories of the Golden Age of Piracy, pirate metal would eventually be inspired, to a greater extent, by the inaccuracies as invented or portrayed in novels and Hollywood films.
In 2006, after a two-year hiatus, Christopher Bowes and Gavin Harper reformed their band, Battleheart. Napalm Records signed them to the label, and they were told to change their name; Bowes and Harper easily agreed and settled on Alestorm.
Swashbuckle is another band labelled pirate metal, known for its pirate image and humorous stage performances.