Reviews

Ferocious Dog – The Hope


Ferocious Dog – The Hope

Release: 15 October 2021
Label: Graphite Records

The Hope vinyl and standard CD tracklist:
01 Port Isaac. 
02 Haul Away Joe.
03 Pentrich Rising. 
04 Victims.
05 Broken Soldier 
06 The Hope.
07 Exiled Life (The Chase).
08 Khatyn.
09 1914.
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)
Digital album only bonus tracks 
16 Mairi’s Wedding pt.4.
17 1914 (Reprise)

Opening with the sound of creaking fishing boats, stormy seas and ghostly violins, the hauntingly dark, atmospheric “Port Isaac”, begins the journey. I love the way that this builds and builds to an anticipated explosion that comes in the form of second track “Haul Away Joe”. The foot stomping release is a full out attack on the whole body. You just want to dance, sing, and clap to the beauty of the music. This upbeat shanty-style rhythm continues into the next track, the revolutionary “Pentrich Rising”. The punk infused shanty continues to hit you in the face with layer upon layer of musical devilry. “Victims” with its catchy riffs and hooks will have you clapping away to the galloping beat. “Victims” is a very serious song containing lyrics like “Victims of our circumstances, prisoners of the system that we hate”, very deep.

Probably the most important and definitely the most personal song on the album is “Broken Soldier”. This horrendous tale about the monstrosities of war and how our government fails to support our returning heroes. How they struggle to adapt to ‘normal’ life, how they lose all that they once had in regard to family, home and respect, but ultimately, how they are let down by a government that doesn’t care.

The track hits home for singer Ken Bonsall, whose own son Lee was so badly let down on his return from the horrors of war in Afghanistan. Losing everything in a world that didn’t care. Struggling with PTSD and eventually, tragically taking his own life. “Broken Soldier” is such an important song that needed to be written. It needed to be told and heard. There are so many lessons to be learned in this oh so imperfect world, so many tragedies, so many mistakes, a lot of these can be avoided if only we can learn from these mistakes. The track asks a lot of questions, who has the answers?

Title track “The Hope” is quite a sad song. It will have the lights out swaying in the air at the gigs. A beautiful track that is engulfed in melodious violins. The more upbeat “Exiled Life (The Chase)” with its cheery punk vibes, soon lightens the mood and gets the listener tapping their feet again. The stand out part of this one has to be the superb fiddle solo. How it dances majestically along.

“Khatyn” starts Side 2 of the album and continues in much the same vibe. I love how the track entices you in to a bit of swaying in the middle, only to get you jumping about soon after. “1914” is about a young soldier setting off to WW1. A very sombre track that balences the emotions and anxiousness of not knowing if a loved one will return. Simply beautiful. “Born Under Punches” raises the tempo again. It’s a tale about escapism, getting away from a disruptive homelife. But is getting away a saviour or a curse?

“Punk Police” starts like a police siren and is a total ‘punk it out’ number that calls out the stupidity of judgemental actions within certain elitist groups (“your band’s not punk, your band’s not cool” etc). Who gives someone else the right to judge? Next we have “Slayed Traveller” a politcal track that starts off quite slowly, then thunders along as a high tempo jig with attitude. The album closer is the resplendent “Parting Glass”. Boasting all the musical splendour of what has come before and more. A great number to end with.

The Digital album and deluxe digipack CD contains the following bonus tracks:

“Sea Shepherd” is a traditional sea shanty with a Ferocious Dog vibe. Very catchy and entertaining. Then there’s the excellent cover of Hazel O’Connor’s”Will You”. As covers go, this is certainly one to seek out. I love how the violin replaces the sax for the epic end solo it adds an air of beauty to this already amazing track.

The Digital album also containsMairi’s Wedding pt.4.” which is quite different to the rest of the album, in regards to style and format, it’s more mainstream than the other tracks and quite a delightful ballad. The last track is “1914 Reprise” which just perfectly brings it all to a close.

“The Hope” is an album that is strongly ingrained with meaningful, intimate songs. Songs about personal tragedy, loss, anger and love. It is filled with passion and dispair, but surrounded by the longing for hope. It is a powerful and important album that will draw you in. The more you get to know about each track, the more you get to respect the mastery of these commanding songs. The political views and history of the band is very evident here and in a true ‘hearts on their sleeves’ fashion, burst through the lyrics and propel the record to greater heights.

With “The Hope” Ferocious Dog have produced an album to be proud of. It is an album that old fans can use to introduce new fans to this wonderful, ‘energetic’ band.

Pete Devine Dec 2021
Ferocious Dog links:
Band/Artist location – Nottingham UK
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