Ferocious Dog – Ferocious Dog (10 Year Anniversary, 2CD Set)


There’s something very magical happens when punk rock collides with folk. It’s a volatile mixture of two types of protest music that once were diametrically opposed, and when those chemicals are mixed right, the result is an explosive (Molotov) cocktail. Warsop’s Ferocious Dog are undoubtedly master alchemists, and their take-no-prisoners ethos has seen them hit some heady highs over a 30+ year career. One of those peaks was their self-titled debut album released via Weird Sounds in 2013, and it found the band arriving with all guitars firing (and fiddles flying), planting a seed that’s grown into a mighty oak. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Ferocious Dog gets the remaster treatment which gives the original album a spit and polish, along with a bonus live disc making this the definitive edition of a classic album.

Disc One: Ferocious Dog (Remastered)

When Ferocious Dog first hit the streets, it arrived fully formed, leading many to think that the band were an overnight sensation. However, the truth was far more prosaic and the band had been toiling in pubs and clubs for many years, which is where these songs were honed. Years in gestation it may have been, but Ferocious Dog has no time to waste on fancy introductions or preambles and it gets straight down to business with the infectious ‘The Glass’. At once both lively and morose, it perfectly encapsulates the Ferocious Dog ethos; even at your lowest ebb staring down the barrel of a pint glass, you should always push onwards, and this band are all about dusting yourself down and continuing the fight, and Ferocious Dog provides the perfect soundtrack to life’s battles.

What elevates Ferocious Dog above their peers is the sheer depth and breadth of influences that plays into their sound with ska, punk and rock all shocking their brand of folk into life with 240 volts. This is an album that can be enjoyed on several levels; on the surface it’s a collection of 15 rowdy songs made for a boozy Saturday night, but scratch the veneer and you’ll find lyrics that cut to the very bone. A prime example is ‘Freeborn John’, a song that marries a historical tale to a modern reggae beat, and it’s a juxtaposition that works rather well. From the gypsy jazz of ‘Pocket Of Madness’ to the Celtic punk of ‘Paddy On The Railway’, Ferocious Dog is a constantly evolving beast that turns with a dynamism that ensures things never become staid. If you want to know who dragged punk into the 21st century, the answer’s here.

Disc Two: Live At Leeds Orchestral

While Ferocious Dog always managed to capture a ‘live’ feel on their studio outings, it always seemed as if a sweat-soaked gig was their natural habitat. Just a cursory listen to their debut album should tell you that these are songs which demand that thousands of voices sing-along, and Live At Leeds Orchestral confirms that notion. A live album with ‘Orchestral’ in the title brings to mind a Metallica S&M type offering and, while this recording does add a string section, there’s been no radical interpretation of the songs. The strings tend to get subsumed on the more raucous parts on numbers like ‘Broken Soldier’, but come to the fore on cuts such as ‘Mairi’s Wedding Pt. II’, and add an emotional depth that was buried on the original.

Those lucky enough to have experienced Ferocious Dog live will attest to their prowess, and with very little razzmatazz, their show becomes more of an event than a regular gig. It is a gathering of the tribes and a show like you’ve never experienced before, and Live At Leeds Orchestral recreates a little of that magic. With the crowd prominent in the mix, you feel as if you are actually part of the show and you’ll soon be immersed in the good vibes that were obviously flowing that evening. If you’ve yet to see Ferocious Dog live then you need to rectify this as soon as possible, but until then here’s the next best thing.

The only downside to this set is the lack of contemporaneous bonus material. The live set is culled from a recent tour and the re-recording of ‘Too Late’ dates from 2022. It would have been nice if the band could have unearthed some unreleased tracks and/or rough mixes from 2013 to give us an inside glimpse of those times. However, a 10-year anniversary is a good time to revisit an album, and with the recent remaster, Ferocious Dog has never sounded better.

Track List:

Disc One: Ferocious Dog (Remastered)

  1. The Glass
  2. Lee’s Tune
  3. On The Rocks
  4. Too Late
  5. Freeborn John
  6. Hell Hounds
  7. Quiet Paddy
  8. Lyla
  9. Criminal Justice
  10. Pocket Of Madness
  11. Blind Leading The Blind
  12. Freethinker
  13. Mairi’s Wedding Pt. II
  14. Paddy On The Railway
  15. Verse For Lee

Disc Two: Live At Leeds Orchestral

  1. Landscape Artist
  2. A&B
  3. Class War
  4. Mairi’s Wedding Pt. III
  5. Yellow Feather
  6. 1914
  7. Justice For 96
  8. The Demon
  9. Broken Soldier
  10. Lacey-Lee
  11. Criminal Justice
  12. Blind Leading The Blind (2022, Studio Rerecording)