Ferocious Dog – 'The Hope (Deluxe Edition)' Album Review
1. Port Isaac
2. Haul Away Joe
3. Pentrich Rising
5. Broken Soldier
6. The Hope
7. Exiled Life (The Chase)
10. Born Under Punches
11. Punk Police
12. Slayed Traveller
13. Parting Glass
Digital Album And Deluxe Digipack CD Bonus Tracks
14. Sea Shepherd
15. Will You (Featuring Hazel O’Connor)
I’ve heard the name Ferocious Dog numerous times but if I’m honest they are a band I’ve never really paid too much attention to. I’ve seen them support The Levellers in Plymouth and The Wildhearts in Nottingham snd they’ve always put on a very hectic show but something just never clicked with me until now.
Opening track 'Port Isaac' is a very atmospheric dark opener that really captures the essence of the storm battered North Cornish coast at its worst in the 1700’s with wreckers waiting to lure ships onto the rocks. It’s a brilliant start that made me really take notice, before I knew it 'Port Issac' had segued into 'Haul Away Joe' with added thunder rumbling in the background to add to the vibe. An accordion starts playing what sounds like a sea shanty as a huge sounding kick drum starts the song going along with a fiddle, the intensity is building until all hell breaks as the rest of the dogs kick in with acoustic guitars, bass and electric guitars. 'Haul Away Joe' is the perfect Punk sea shanty and catchy as hell. I can’t wait to see them play this live as it’s a great one two punch to start the album.
The pace doesn’t drop as 3rd track 'Pentrich Rising' continues the Punk pounding, at times its really had to focus on what to listen to as there is so much going on (which is great as you’ll be hearing different things for a while).
'Victims', Hang on a minute I swear I’m listening to the main riff from Iron Maiden’s 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' on fiddle or something so close it to it, damn that fiddle hook is so catchy and the rest of the dogs are going at it full throttle.
'Broken Soldier', I really don’t know how to describe how I feel about this song because I have mixed emotions about the subject matter and the emotion of the song. The song starts with a monologue about the Taliban and in light of recently cowardly events by the US and UK governments in Afghanistan it made difficult listening and musically nothing has happened yet. 'Broken Soldier' talks about how many of these brave men come home only to end up losing their families and become homeless before turning to drink and drugs to block out all the horrors they have witnessed. It’s a heavy, heavy subject matter that is being dealt with by Ferocious Dog as the forces and this government care very little about the PTSD our brave men and women struggle with when they come home from duty. Please watch the video for 'Broken Solider' as it takes the song to another level emotionally. I really have commend Ferocious Dog here for the subject matter and video as Combat PTSD is something that is not spoken enough about, sadly many of our brave men and women will be left with no support but for those amazing charities trying their hardest to support these heroes. I did end up crying after watching the video as although I have never served, I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD & I did end up homeless for 3 years before getting my life back together, so this touched a very raw nerve. 'Broken Solider' is so catchy and upbeat that I think if it were musically dark it would lose itself in its own blackness. The guys all play amazingly here as the dynamics are perfect and they back off when needed to allow the song to get the point across before going full on, the chorus is absolutely huge and will be chanted on mass at Ferocious Dog shows. 'Broken Solider' is so full on musically and emotionally that it would be impossible to keep up this level of intensity without something having to give and the sequencing of the album is perfect here. After the emotional battering of 'Broken Soldier', the release comes in the form of the title track 'The Hope' which starts with gentle piano and turns into a sad ballad. Again, the dynamics are nearly perfect and you can feel the sadness coming out of the speakers in waves especially as the female choir join in. It’s a very moving end to what would be Side one on either a LP or cassette.
'Exiled Life' picks up the upbeat Punk tunes once more and lifts the mood with its catchy chorus and cheerful melodies before moving to an extended fiddle solo. I’m trying to so hard to not to reference another extremely well-known Folk-Punk band with fiddle but its so damn hard at times, especially when the fiddle melodies get going on song like 'Khatyn'. However, the dogs do have a few tricks up their sleeves and move all over the place musically during 'Khatyn'. Just when you think you’ve got the song figured out it changes tempo – Brilliant.
'1914' is a beautiful moving acoustic ballad that again changes the dynamic and adds another emotional layer to an already stacked album.
'Born Under Punches' is the typical Folk Punk that Ferocious Dog did which never connected with me before but it’s hard not to get sucked in especially when it’s driven by some huge drums and great melodies.
'Punk Police' is straight up Punk with some added fiddle that again see’s Ferocious Dog raise that intensity level to levels I hadn’t expected.
'Slayed The Traveller' almost had me fooled as it starts of all atmospheric before being driven by the catchiest bouncing bass line I’ve heard in a while, if the boys play this live it’s safe to say the crowd will be bouncing on mass. This really is a cracking tune that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
Album closer 'Parting Glass' starts all moody before descending into another of those Irish sounding Folk Punk songs that I previously didn’t get but now am loving. The boys are really rocking out here and I’m loving it; this is a great ending to the regular album.
Extra Tracks: 'Sea Shepherd' a ridicoulsy catchy Punk sea shanty that will have you smiling and bouncing along (even if your sat in a seat like I am – it’s making it bloody hard to write a review on a laptop when you’re bouncing along ha ha). The final track on the deluxe edition is a cover of Hazel O’Connor’s 'Will You' featuring Hazel herself. It’s a rather subdued ending to the album and I find myself expecting Ferocious Dog go full on one more time, but it never happens before gently drawing to a close.
Before the CD went in the player I was kinda meh on Ferocious Dog – A great gig but nothing stuck with me. However, by the end of this album I have zero shame in admitting I am converted. Now I’m off to buy the LP & see if I can get our leader to bag me a review/photo pass for the Falmouth show as I want in – Now that should tell you all you need to know about how I rate 'The Hope.'
Website - ferociousdog.co.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FerociousDog
Review - Aleutia Shannon