Dropkick Murphys
Signed And Sealed In Blood


3.0
good

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (181 Reviews)
February 25th, 2013 | 16 replies


Release Date: 01/08/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fun, but not too much more than that.

The fusion of folk and punk music must have been a real shock back in the ’80s; bands like The Pogues and Violent Femmes brought people one of the most unlikely genre combinations seen, and made extremely high-quality recordings to boot. The genre usually enjoys a party atmosphere, replete with drinking and dancing, and nowhere is that more evident than with the progression of Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys’ latest works. Starting in 1996, the band have been crucial to the popularization of the folk punk genre, with their forefathers The Pogues as their most evident influence. Unfortunately, as with many long running bands, Dropkick Murphys have been losing steam as of late, and their albums have become more run-of-the-mill; the band has a comfort zone, and it appears that they don’t intend on leaving it any time soon. With how surprisingly diverse their last record Going Out in Style (2011) was, however, it would be a challenge to accurately pinpoint the band’s next move. So what do they do? They create a fist-pumping party record with their signature sound! And the result? It is decent, but not much more.

While the party tracks are definitely entertaining, they’re coated in mediocrity; from the predictable song structures to the repetitive lyricism, an otherwise fun experience is mired in overall blandness. Songs like the adrenaline-pumping punk-fest “Burn” or the crowd-welcoming singalong opener “The Boys Are Back” suggest a great record on the surface, but they get surrounded by “been-there-done-that” tracks for the listener to trudge through. The fact that the lengthiest tracks drag beyond belief certainly doesn’t help matters, with closer “End of the Night” repeating its waltz-like swinging chorus to the point of pure irritation. It’s unfortunate because these songs begin with good intentions, and yet the dull patches plaguing the motifs weigh them down far too much. Luckily, with that said, the songs are usually very short, and the album as a whole goes by pretty quickly. Rarely was there a moment when I would look at a song’s running time, hoping it would end already.

Even the production, while clear, opts for the same atmosphere as the songs do. All the instruments sound like they should, but overall sounding very loose and relaxed, as do Al Barr’s gruff vocals. The biggest issue with the instrumentation in the album is that it sounds very by-the-numbers, there’s nothing really new or different about it. It’s a sound familiar to the aforementioned Pogues, but just a little too familiar. Bassist Ken Casey’s work on the album mainly consists of performing a bevy of variations on perfect 5th’s and octaves while the guitar work and folk-oriented instruments illustrate the foreground along with the vocals. Again, it’s not all too interesting compared to what the band have done in the past. With all that said, it sounds like the album is pretty awful, right? Well, not quite…

Despite the album’s numerous flaws, the electric atmosphere is something to be heavily admired; the repetition partially works to the band’s advantage, as they can repeat chord progressions to build up the crowd’s energy and, for lack of better word, morale during concerts. Signed and Sealed in Blood is a party record, and it makes no attempt to hide that fact. With that in mind, the best cuts on the album are the ones that fully showcase the band’s breakneck punk style. For instance, “The Battle Rages On” is exceptionally short but treats the listener to a head-bashing whirlwind of frenzied guitar riffs and blunt percussion, all while retaining its distinctly Irish flavor in the overarching atmosphere. Other songs continue in this vein, just with dull pieces to sit through to get to those special moments.

Signed and Sealed in Blood is most likely Dropkick Murphys’ worst album, but that’s not saying too much. Considering the band’s highly consistent discography, perhaps this record is the creative pit-stop they needed before moving on to better things. Listen to the album if you simply want to enjoy yourself; just leave your brain at the door before going in, as well as having the Skip button on standby for those dull patches.



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user ratings (78)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Jom STAFF (3.6)
The boys are back with an acceptable addition to their discography, but the reliance on their time-t...

Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Diminishing returns......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Necrotica
February 24th 2013


9885 Comments


I found this on my Alt Review account, and thought I'd share it. This is my last review for today

Gyromania
February 24th 2013


15941 Comments


superb review, brendan.

Necrotica
February 24th 2013


9885 Comments


Thanks, man! Feels good to be reviewing so frequently

Necrotica
February 25th 2013


9885 Comments


Btw, are you getting any new reviews in soon? It'd be cool to see you do a write-up again

Necrotica
February 25th 2013


9885 Comments


^ If that's what you want, it's fucking perfect, give it a 5/5 ;]

Necrotica
February 25th 2013


9885 Comments


Hellyeah, that one's great too. Honestly, though, I still prefer The Pogues in terms of the genre as
a whole

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review man, I more or less agree with it.

Necrotica
February 25th 2013


9885 Comments


Thanks man! Yeah, I saw that your review had a lot of similar points

nononsense
February 25th 2013


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rose Tattoo!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2013


19957 Comments


nice review as always necrotica

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Throw Me In The River

Necrotica
February 25th 2013


9885 Comments


@Atari: Thanks, man!

@nononsense: Fuckyeah! Speaking of tattoos, though, I totally want a tattoo of the album cover, that'd be badass :P

Necrotica
February 26th 2013


9885 Comments


Ok, I'm actually starting to enjoy this a little more. Still not amazing, but I may bump it up to a 3.5

nononsense
February 26th 2013


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see how it could get any lower than a 3.5

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2013


8012 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Blackout is their best, I own this but still haven't listened

nononsense
February 26th 2013


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Blackout is good.

Necrotica
February 26th 2013


9885 Comments


I just really like how consistent their discog is in general



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