Release Date: September 17, 2013
Run Time: 39:54
2. Farewell to Drunkenness
3. The Cabin
4. I Heard Jesus Was
5. Glasses to the Sky
7. L.L.L. (feat. The Pipers of the Quebec City 78th Fraser Highlanders)
8. D.O.E. (feat. Jef Fortin)
9. The Fields of Athenry
10. The Bear and the Maiden Fair
11. The Wearing of the Green
12. A Lad and a Hag
Raise Em’ All opens up with ‘The Cabin.’ This track showcases great production and mixing capabilities from the very get-go. An intriguing intro makes way for a very unique display of dueling instruments. At many times during the song, there is a whole lot going on; at no point does the mix become muddied or overpowered by any one instrument. Each instrument performed extremely well, and the singing is very finite. The harmonies, both instrumentally and vocally, are fantastic; not enough can be said about how strong this song actually is.
The band has obvious knowledge musically and theoretically, and this is directly showcased in this all around outstanding recording. The track is up-tempo, high energy, and hard-hitting from start to finish. ‘I Heard Jesus Was’ contains another intro that immediately draws the listener in. There are performances from a few different singers, and their vocal tones compliment each other nicely. Female vocals are also introduced on this track, and each instrument sounds outstanding and performs very nicely.
‘Glasses to the Sky’ includes bagpipes, and while the song is slower, the band does not lose their focus or intensity. Each of the songs on this album are mixed to a very professional standard, making it easy for listeners to focus on the lyrics and instrumentation.
Irish Moutarde makes it very clear (through great story lines and emotive phrases) that there is a large spiritual side to their lyrics. The chorus lyrics of this particular track are especially encouraging, the instrumentation and vocal performances exceptional as well.
The structure of the song is very good, making for a very memorable chorus. Bagpipes open ‘Olaf’, and this song is completely in French. The picking and riffing displayed in this song (and much of the album) is so exact and precise it will make your head spin. The drums are super intense throughout the whole album and are no different on this track.
This song is made up mostly of female vocals, which was a first of the tracks I heard. Again, it is up-tempo, and to be honest, you hardly know what hit you before the song is finished. ‘LLL’ is completely instrumental, bagpipes and mandolin carrying the melody. The guitar just provides rhythm on this track and lets the other instruments do the talking during this very anthemic and patriotic performance. ‘DOE’ is reminiscent of similar bands such as Dropkick Murphys, and the language sung shifts back to English.
‘DOE’ features another memorable chorus due to the harmonies and is joined by some very skillful work from the lead guitar during the solo section of the song. The bridge is then subdued, as the vocalists begin chanting in whispers; the intensity stays, leading to a final phrase which is screamed with the utmost passion. This and ‘Olaf’ showcased outstanding cymbal work by the drummer; each song was incredible, these two just stood out more than others in this department.
‘The Fields of Athenry’ switches things up completely. The song begins acoustically as male and female vocals trade off until they join together in the chorus. What we have here is stripped-down version of the band for the first verse and first chorus with no drums or percussion. Many bands would fail or falter in this recording environment, yet Irish Moutarde shines. As the first chorus ends, bagpipes join, as do drums. The drums still play a large part in the mix, but are less intense and raucous as compared to previous songs we’ve heard from the band. Towards the middle of the song, the tempo changes, led entirely by the drums, and the song is transformed.
The song maintains this new feel until a bridge brings everything back down to a certain extent. Vocals then excel over top of a picked acoustic guitar pattern, as the drums encourage a build which develops and accelerates into a double time pattern to close out the track.
‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ closes my review for Irish Moutarde. This cover is from the book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin, better known as “Game of Thrones” from its HBO adaptation.
The rough, aggressive male vocals work well for this song in particular. The verses are more exposed than others on the album; bagpipes and the mandolin parts emphasize the choruses, coupling with more voices to strengthen the overall impact of that particular section of the song. The vocals throughout the album are very expressive, and this band takes their talent seriously.
This album is an excellent production all-around, and I was thoroughly impressed by what this band was able to accomplish with this album. Their musical expertise and desire for excellence is extremely evident, and the knowledge expressed by the lead guitar and mandolin players is expansive.