Flogging Molly well known for their Celtic punk-inspired sound decide to shift the tone of their forthcoming fifth studio release, Speed of Darkness. The seven-piece ensemble breaks from their writing niche of Los Angeles to journey around Detroit, to observe first-hand the economic collapse of the United States. The product – a down tempo concept album dedicated to today’s working man, although a Celtic album still filled with the usual unchecked fiddles, accordions and disheveled guitars.
Running throughout the release are political tones indubitably depicted in the fitting titles “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down”, “Revolution” and “Rise Up”. The twelve-track concept album enthralls listeners with the prefatory and title track “Speed of Darkness”. The opening of the track embodies the same pace as their previous records, acting as a fitting transition. Dave King’s intense vocals cut through their fiery Celtic music. On the other hand, the hackneyed “Revolution”, is a catchy song acting on the verge of a punk empowerment anthem – examining the struggles faced by blue-collar workers “I spent twenty-seven years in this factory / Now the boss man says, hey, you’re not what we need / The penguins in the suits, they know nothing but greed / It’s a solitary life when you’ve mouths to feed / But who cares about us?”
“The Heart of the Sea”, a mid-tempo track dabs into their Celtic folk roots. Their first single “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” is definitely a crowd pleaser for Flogging Molly fans – sticking to the characteristic Celtic rock flavoured style – guitars with plenty of distortion and a driving intrepid feel. Not to mention, the guitar impelled, “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” hits the mark on a compelling working man anthem – one everyone can sing along to in economic crisis.
Flogging Molly show off their slide guitar craft in “The Power’s Out”, a gritty intense ballad with a foot stomping beat. Moreover, the intransigent vocals shed hope on the economic crisis, embellishing this optimism with bluesy guitar and endearing accordion.
Their newest release works suitably to contrast between the smooth fiddle and the distressed accordion mellow ballad “So Sail On” and the pleasant brief duet with King’s wife in “A Prayer For Me In Silence” with the rocking banjo and fiddle in “Saints & Sinners” and “Rise Up” filled with radiant mandolin.
Greatly affected by their stay in Detroit, Flogging Molly’s writing and tone were more than enough evidence. Flogging Molly defy the punk boundaries producing a substantial thoughtful album filled with more pretentious anthems. As front man Dave King put it Speed of Darkness ‘wasn’t the album we set out to write. It became the album we had to write.’