Flogging Molly has never conformed to industry tastes; they’ve always been the outcasts who put their fans before commercial success, and they’ve always put their music before marketability. The rewards of such independence and integrity are undeniable on Speed of Darkness. You feel it from the first note to the last, the pathos and the passion, the sweeping and rollicking electricity of inspiration.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1997, Flogging Molly has always defied categorization. The infectious originality of their songs is a badge of honor and key to the band’s creativity, their urgency. They infuse punk rock with Celtic instruments—violin, mandolin and the accordion—and they merge blues progressions with grinding guitars and traditional Irish music, the music of King’s youth. “We’re not a traditional band,” explains Dublin-born King. “We are influenced by traditional music and inspired by it, but without question we put our own twist on it.” Theirs is music of exile and rebellion, of struggle and history and protest. It’s music of a country torn down the middle; a deeply beautiful and wounded country that knows no quit, and Flogging Molly pays homage to that resolve in every note. Whether it’s a driving anthem like “Black Friday Rule” or the upbeat duet with Lucinda Williams, “Factory Girls”, the band’s only criteria for its music is simple and bone-deep: that it matter.

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