The pinnacle of battling-Mick punk polka, Dropkick Murphys’ The Warrior’s Code furnishes beats for every beating. The title track is an anthem to boxing—”Another murderous right, another left hook from Hell-l-l-l!”—and Vince Lombardi, “A quitter never wins!!!” (Arrrghh!) For “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” the Murphys turn lyrics attributed to Woody Guthrie into a soused metal jig for throwing your elbow gaily into the orbit of a stranger, preferably someone shorter than you, in the moshpit. There are two punch-outs for the dead: “The Last Letter Home,” a thrash for a drunken brawl at the interment of an Iraq war vet, and “Your Spirit’s Alive,” for a fight in honor of a dead pal. Finally, “Tessie” is the Paddy from Boston boogie to play when you’re getting pumped to scrap for glory and victory at Fenway Park.
Bagpipes and accordions are stupidly glued on, but they’re mixed so they don’t interfere with the righteous prole men in sports bars sing-alongs and rallying music for fists ending where noses begin. Dropkick Murphys’ talent resides in the sinews of their wrists so those who sell beer to partly downtrodden 21-year-old boys should love it. For others, it’s at best jubilant shite except for two traditionals, Brendan Behan’s prison song, “The Auld Triangle,” and the dolorous anti-war “The Green Fields of France.” By substituting stateliness and grace in the latter for the cant of the Vans Warped tour, the record is almost redeemed.