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July 24, 2024

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Dropkick Murphys
Do or Die (Hellcat Records)

By: Alex Steininger

In a world of punk clones and sound alikes, it's always refreshing to hear a new, innovative spin on punk rock. And that's exactly what Dropkick Murphys provides to its listener. Mixing the spirit of the Irish with a working mans mentality, they develop a brutal combination that will leave your ears stunned and wanting more. On their debut full-length (Hellcat Records), they serve up their style hot and harsh, and listener ready.

The CD kicks off with "Cadence to Arms." It starts off with a bagpipe solo, now that's something you don't hear everyday. Then fifty seconds into it, the guitars come crashing down on you, while the drums start spilling heads. The bass throbs in the music, becoming the pulse and life of the song. A quick jam, with the bagpipes still in the background, and the album has begun. "Do or Die" blasts through your speakers ferociously, with the guitar leading the race. The song is the 90's anthem for the working man. "Your dreams are in danger, and 'we must rise.' Our time has come we are under the gun, 'it's do or die,'" shouts out the chorus, as a way to unite workers and fight for what is rightful theirs...respect and freedom! Fighting for their roots, they make you believe and want to fight with them with their powerful and catchy punk. "Caught in a Jar" is an Irish pub song blended with punk. The verses are done in the classical Irish drinking song style, bringing you to a pub while you and your buddies slam down a few and sing out loud for fun. But the chorus brings you the punk that will whip your ass if you're not looking. Loud guitars with hooks, a very deadly weapon, combined with a series of bass assaults and percussion mayhem add up to a great time. The vocals also carry a heavy Irish accent, which lends a lot of credibility to the music and helps them pull off the song perfectly. The backing vocals on the chorus keep the Irish hope alive, with the drinking pub sing-a-long mixed in nicely over the punk backing. "Barroom Hero" is another punk assault that adds the bagpipes in and has a very Irish feeling to it. The guitar is always fresh, never stale, with its quick and furious screams through the music, while the bass is heavy and powerful, adding muscle to the song. The drums also contribute a lot of muscle to the song, as they pound in the background, keeping everything hard edged and painfully loud. The band, always keeping in touch with their roots, even slows the song down a bit to give a shout out to all their friends. This is one band that will never forget where they came from, as it has a heavy influence on their music, and is kept close to their hearts. "Noble," the best track on the CD, is memorable for it's musical strength as well as it's reason for existing. The band lost a friend, and this is there way of saying thanks for touching our lives, and here's a song in your memory. A very upbeat number, full of bouncy bass that gets your body shaking, this song is no depressor. Obviously they have fond memories of their friend, but no way are they going to tribute him with a depressed number. They would rather remember the good times, and as it shows, they do. The guitar is full of hooks, and will eat you alive if you don't pay attention, while the bass is quick and full of moves, and the drums keep the energy alive with their assault on the skins. "Skinhead on the MBTA" closes the CD the same way it opened...powerful and full of energy. As the punk rock winds down, the sound of men singing and drinking in a bar can be heard. Tipping their glasses and cheering for each other, they close out the album with style.

Dropkick Murphys are powerful and full of life. They represent everything that is right with our world, helping to give the working man a fighting chance in a society that sometimes over looks him. This CD is punk rock bliss, and is not to be passed up. This CD will bring many hours of fun, so go out and get it now. A definite A+.

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