Dropkick Murphys- The Warrior’s Code
Calling all Americans of above-average intelligence…
College graduates, apply today…
Come decimate dictatorships and overthrow regimes
In exotic far-off places, the vacation of your dreams
You’ll assemble puppet governments and play the hand of God
We’re an equal-opportunity crime fighting squad…
1- Set standard tempo to 220 bpm.
2- Apply ardent, angry array of musical chaos attacking from 5 directions
3- Administer fiercest vocals this side of the northeast
The presence of the track Citizen C.I.A.
can bring back what the Dropkick Murphys used to assemble and let fans encounter in their earlier days. The Dropkicks formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995 by old vocalist Mike McColgan. It became a daily routine to practice in the basement of a friend’s barbershop; experimenting with such sub-genres as the infamous OI!, hardcore, Irish rock (or celtic rock), and with a faithful dose of punk. They made it work eventually, and released a number of E.P’s before getting picked up by Hellcat to produce their first full-length, Do Or Die
. The sound on Do Or Die doesn’t compare to some of their later stuff, as it seemed like both the members of the band, and their sound itself went through phases frequently. The tunes back in their late 90’s material was far more aggressive than anything they might produce in the future, and the Dropkicks came to be a bit more down-to-earth and pick up other roots that show in their later music. But hell, why not bring back old memories once in a while, and making it into one hell of an exhibition for the crowd?
By 2005, the Dropkicks consisted of pretty much new members that were eager for a fresh start, with (in this case) something very different and atypical from something that you would hear today with the “punk" label on it. The Warrior’s Code
was released on June of 2005, and for me, has easily come to be one of my favorites of the year, most likely the decade. The title of the album calls on the story of the boxer Micky Ward, from Massachusetts, that apparently, over-came feats to come out a champion. He’s the guy on the front cover as well. This is another evident sign of what the boys have accomplished this time around.
Lyrics on here are mostly about not taking it, coming out on top, even if it’s just you coming along for the ride. Romance and faith are also present here with a delightful twist from other musicians. As it doesn’t seem so, the band have an impressive way of writing, and take a song that much further. Vocals are taken over by another of my favorites. Al Barr has the abilty to turn any lead-part into, a brutal, dynamic, dog-eat-dog discharge of disarray and chaos. But the man holds plenty of variety as well. The Green Fields of France
holds place as the only ballad on the album, and Barr leads the way with a very sentimental lead, accompanied with excellent musical arrangement. Citizen C.I.A
and the title track show off some of his heavier tone, and shows that Barr is really one of the very few that could have brought the single track to glory. He also does an astonishing job with maintaining vocals as he plays the piano on The Auld Triangle
, and his track, The Green Fields of France
. You just cant accomplish a good Dropkicks song without Barr.
As far as I’m concerned, the musicianship on The Warrior’s Code is excellent. The first five tracks on this album have to be one of the best starts to any album I have heard in quite some time. I easily don’t say that often, and for that, deserves recognition. Much of the musical lead here consists of James Lynch on guitar, and Scruffy Wallace’s bagpipe action. James Lynch does a lot of chords while Marc Orrell follows when he reduces the childs-play and ignites into a blazing solo that is taken that much further. It sounds excellent, and the solo on Citizen C.I.A.
shows for something. Bass is taken aboard by Ken Casey, one of the band’s proud veterans. He does about one third of vocals as well, and while his work doesn’t show well, due to the constant high frequency by the others, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. The Walking Dead
features nifty work done by Casey, and his vocals are done very well overall(Sunshine Highway
), at times clashing with Barr’s, and at others, leading into a song, opening up a story, leaving Barr to the rest.
Marc Orrel, Tim Brennan, and Scruffy Wallace are the astonishing add-on of folk counter-parts to the band, and on this album, produce most of the melody. Marc plays the accordion apart from the rhythmic guitar, and does a fine job when he does actually switch instruments. Shipping Up to Boston
is one to look out for. Tim Brennan is indeed styling the folk-attitude, and is probably the second-best musician in the band. Shipping Up to Boston
is as well the ideal track for Brennan, as he shows off what he can do with a mandolin. In a nutshell, this is the track to go to if you want to hear more of the folk-counterpart that is offered, and it’s the album’s true progressive instrumental. As we all know, the bagpipes have to be one the most awesome, and unique instruments out here. Scruffy Wallace owns, to put it in simple terms. It’s his melody that fills in the void that is necessary for each song on here to proceed. It’s his work that starts off the album, and keeps it on fire, just for your enjoyment. He works in a few styles, depending on the styles, and would leave the band in a rut if he wasn’t here. Wherever Scruffy is, I congratulate him. He also wears a kilt, so he must be cool.
Matt Kelly. Easily my favorite drummer in the modern punk genre, and with the speed and coordination that would take another three or four drummers to achieve. I wasn’t going to forget, and in my opinion, he is the very best musician in the band. It’s his speed, and his art to execute in such evidently helpful fill-work that wouldn’t make a track progress as far. He is much more than the rhythm section. No stand-out tracks here for Kelly, as it really is every one on here that shows some credibility. I’m not going to get annoyingly technical, but hopefully, you understand. If your ears could blink, you’d miss this guy almost every time.
Focusing on such realities as dirty love (Captain Kelly’s Kitchen), faith (Take It And Run), anarchy (Citizen C.I.A.), war (The Green Fields of France, and determination (The Warrior’s Code), and bringing truly brilliant musicianship with ethnic twists along for the ride, the album has earned a very important place next to my Flogging Molly collection. It really is wrong to say the Dropkick Murphys are NO Flogging Molly, because in the world on celtic punk, the Dropkicks dominate the punk portion, as Flogging Molly dominates the folk area. Both hold an extremely high point of variety. On the whole, they both come out the same, but the Dropkicks have something to show for all their years hopping genres and settling with a lineup. Plus, Scruffy wears a kilt.
You’re the fighter, you’ve got the fire
The spirit of a warrior, the champion’s heart
You fight for your life because a fighter never quits
You make the most of the hand you’re dealt
Because the quitter never wins.
–The Warrior’s Code
- The Warrior’s Code
Al Barr- Vocals, Piano
Ken Casey- Vocals, Bass
James Lynch- Guitar
Marc Orrell- Guitar, Accordion
Tim Brennan- Mandolin, Tin Whistle, Acoustic Guitar
Scruffy Wallace- Bagpipes
Matt Kelly- Drums
Stand Out Tracks
The Warrior’s Code
Captain Kelly’s Kitchen
The Walking Dead
Take It And Run
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