Friday, October 2, 2009

Review -- ENTER THE HAGGIS -- Gutter Anthems

GUTTER ANTHEMS
Enter the Haggis
Firebrand
9.75-out-of-10

It was back in July 2007 I reviewed a CD called Live In Northampton by a band called Enter the Haggis. It was my first introduction to this modernistic Celtic band, and I was totally blown away. The disk garnered a 9.5, and readers will know I just never give out 10s.
So now we have Gutter Anthems and a bar set very high by the band's aforementioned effort. I gave this latest disk a spin with huge expectations, to the point there was nearly drool on the CD cover before I got the cellophane off it.
The CD starts off with a short little instrumental intro, then hits us with The Litter and the Leaves, the song from which the CD title is plucked. Guess what folks, Enter the Haggis has not lost a step in the two years since I reviewed Live In Northampton.
The band is still true to the obvious Celtic roots of their music. The tin whistle work on a song like Cameo shows that.
Yet, they still manage to add another level to the music. This is not the Celtic of a John Allen Cameron, although it isn't so far removed either.
What Enter the Haggis does though is update the sound just enough that it fits the modern era, and broadens the fan base. Listen to the intro to DNA and you hear how they blend the modern with the heritage of Celtic music.
That is the strength of Enter the Haggis, the ability to bring the past so vividly into focus in terms of soft rock, yet maintaining the storytelling heart of Celtic music. In that regard they hold a lot in common with Great Big Sea, who just happens to be another favoured band of mine.
The songs here tell stories, the music fleshes out the pieces, and the result is simply put; great.
An example of the story song is the upbeat Noseworthy and Piercy, one of the most interesting songs here. The Death of Johnny Mooring is another story that is great, aided by the most rock instrumentation on the disk – wow it cooks. Both the songs come in at over four-minutes, so they get to tell fleshed out stories too.
The disk is also wonderful in that there are 16 pieces here, including a couple of shorter interludes which serve the overall package well in setting the pace.
So I don't give out 10s, but boy I want to here. There is nothing I don't like about this CD. Absolutely a must for any music lover. Just buy it.
Check it out at /www.enterthehaggis.com/
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 23, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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