The Tossers - The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Cover Artwork)

The Tossers

The Tossers: The Valley of the Shadow of DeathThe Valley of the Shadow of Death (2005)
Victory Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: William_DavidWilliam_David
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After three times, The Valley of the Shadow of Death gets better with each listen, but it still sounds weak and lax for the Tossers' first release on Victory Records. That's not to say it's a bad album, but after more than ten years, Chicago's Irish punks don't seem to be as innovative in their musi.
iTunes StoreAmazon

After three times, The Valley of the Shadow of Death gets better with each listen, but it still sounds weak and lax for the Tossers' first release on Victory Records. That's not to say it's a bad album, but after more than ten years, Chicago's Irish punks don't seem to be as innovative in their music as on previous albums. To be blunt, it just gets boring.

The album opens with "Goodmornin' Da," which is decent enough. However, it nowhere matches the humor or style of their earlier song on the topic of drinking, "Seven Drunken Nights." There is a lackluster tribute to Dee Dee Ramone, and later a tribute to "Irish balladeer" Ronnie Drew, opening with a poem spoken by Hugh Daly, who sounds like a B-level voice actor for a National Geographic film. The band continues the familiar and tired political punk ramblings with "Go Down Witch, Down." Going beyond the common anti-Bush/Iraq complaints, the Tossers go back in time, pointing out America's WWII wrongs, and then trash the methods of Columbus. As with everything else on the album, there may be a well-spoken point, but there is nothing to the monotonous music that makes you care.

This is really a shame, because the album is not bad. The song "Crock of Gold" has potential, and many songs tell decent stories. The band just seems lacking in the energy needed for a good album here. The fun songs aren't as fun as before, while serious songs don't evoke the same kind of emotions as the ballads of Long Dim Road.

Valley isn't awful; in fact, it's alright. But in a market where so many good, new albums are being put out, it would be hard to justify recommending this album to anyone but a die-hard fan.


People who liked this also liked:
Street Dogs - Savin HillGogol Bordello - Super Taranta!Dropkick Murphys - The Meanest of TimesFlogging Molly - Drunken LullabiesBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordDropkick Murphys - Do Or DieOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy [reissue]Street Dogs - Fading American DreamBomb the Music Industry! - Goodbye Cool World!Frank Turner - Sleep Is for the Week

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MN_punkmaster-skaman (December 28, 2007)

I'm part Irish and a very big sucker for this type of music. This is a way better album than what I've been reading here by the reviewer and other readers. If anything, I think it's equal to Agony, their latest release. "Goodmornin' Da" is such a great opener, just like Flogging Molly having "Drunken Lullabies" for an opener. The ballads "Late" and "Drinking In The Day" are very beautiful (especially with the poem being read at the begining of the later). If you want a good intro to the Tossers, get this or Agony.

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

Let me just say that I do like the Tossers....but no way can they come close to comparing to Flogging Molly. Dave King is a true irishman from Dublin. But screw that, F.M.'s music is just 100% better! And to th people who say they are just Pogues clones....go to the UK version of Amazon.com and read the comments on F.M. People from the UK even think Flogging Molly is better than the Pogues! Oh, and Fastway was not cheesy.......in fact, Fastway was one of the only metal bands from that era that was NOT cheesy!

Anonymous (October 20, 2005)

To do the dude going on about how Flogging Molly is so great and that Dave King is amazing.

Dave King is nothing but a rip off artist. If you were a true fan of irish music you would be able to relize that. Go listen to a few Pogues, Chieftans, and Dubliners albums and listen to all the rip-offs, i mean *cough* similarities.

I happen to live in Chicago and know the Tossers' bass player, Dan Shaw, personally. For those of you who didn't like the song selection for this album, wasn't their fault. In fact, they wrote over 20 songs for this album, Victory picked the ones they liked.

Personally, i liked this album a lot. I can see how it could get boring, but then i compare it to their other albums. "Communications" was like more than half traditional songs, so it just had to be good. "Long Dim Road" was alright, really political though. "Purgatory" was just long with a lot of acapella stuff.

But yeah, i liked this one a lot.

lulu_pansy (October 8, 2005)

these irish bands make me laugh...hard, laugh really hard. go ahead and cry, no booze...oh, and no loot... and no fun??

Anonymous (October 8, 2005)

"I love how that "Irish" guy used "arse" instead of "ass" to further validate his claim that he's from Ireland."

that "irish" guy is from "ireland" jackass. he runs a webzine i think and has come here awhile

Anonymous (October 8, 2005)

HAIL HAIL THE GANGS ALL HERE..oh wait..thats dropkick..i mean its folloging molly..i mean...its the tossers

Anonymous (October 7, 2005)

"7 Drunken Nights" is an old Irish standard, not a Tossers composition.....anyone who knows anything about Irish music knows this, so this review does'nt really have much credibility. And the poem was originally done by Ronnie Drew, have you heard that version? Maybe you think he works for National Geographic too!

pacer (October 7, 2005)

So what, i'm pretending to be irish now? Same as i have for the last six years i've been coming here?

RondoMondo (October 6, 2005)

I love how that "Irish" guy used "arse" instead of "ass" to further validate his claim that he's from Ireland.

Anonymous (October 6, 2005)

i love Flogging Molly but let's not forget that Dave King used to sing for a cheesy metal band, Fastway, before he ended up in LA and started FM

darkstarm (October 6, 2005)

he is right though. chicago has a shit ton of irish.

my connection with the tossers is limited. my ex and i fell for each other while the tossers were playing. that was nice. other than that, oh well.

bearvsshark owns.

Anonymous (October 5, 2005)

The tossers are pure shit. "Irish" punks from fucking Dekalb transplanted to Chicago. They should keep up their Shane imitation and drink themselves to death. Fuck them.

pacer (October 5, 2005)

Hello me

Please read again what i said, namely "chicago doesn't have an especially large Irish population, at least not enough to warrant the tag of "largest population of Irish this side of the emerald isle""

If you have any more problems, i can use smaller words.

Anonymous (October 5, 2005)

dear irish person,

chicago does indeed have a large irish population. there are lots of irish neighborhoods on the south side. also, the daley's are irish and have controlled the city for most of recent history. so stop saying stupid shit that you apparently dont know anything about.



Anonymous (October 5, 2005)

To the idiot who thinks this is more Irish than Flogging Molly, to the idiot who calls FM goofy, and to the idiot who says they've been at it longer than FM - take it from an Irish person who's lived in Ireland all his life, and who has lived in and around genuine Irish music all his life - you're wrong. Dave King has a long history with Irish music - the man sang with Luke Kelly for fuck's sakes. Get your head out of yer arses before you go spouting such bullshit.

And the same goes for whoever wrote the press release for these guys - for one thing, the term tosser comes from a medieval slag word for a toilet (goes back as far as Shakespeare), for another, Chicago doesn't have an especially large Irish population, at least not enough to warrant the tag of "largest population of Irish this side of the emerald isle". When we emigrated we did so straight across the water and were too poor to make it past Boston or NYC. Quit trying to claim irishness, ya fux.

Throw this band on the same heap as The Dropkick Murphy's please - yanks who wish they were paddies.

Anonymous (October 5, 2005)

the best named band in the planet only gets 3 stars out of 5 for their name? damn...you have some harsh standards

punkrocker4life (October 5, 2005)

score is for being the best named band on the planet!

William_David (October 4, 2005)

Responses to comments and questions:

gladimnotemo: that's about how it is, I like the Tossers, but this album just isn't up to par. That's what seems to be happy with a lot of the bands Victory is pushing. I'm listening to the advance of With Honor now, and it's pretty generic.

Marlon: Tossers are probably on victory because they've been around for awhile now, have had some strong releases, and are from Chicago, which is where Victory is centered

niveK82: ah nivek, do I know you? that's what I'm saying

ElVaquero: there is no extra influence to speak of, it's just boring, sorry you didn't like the review, if you aren't familiar with the tossers, this isn't an album you want to start your experience on, it wasn't recommended, so who cares how it sound

superdude: no comment

Anonymous moron: why do you believe this is badly written, and why won't you put your name to that

That's all I've got for now. As always, thanks to those with educated comments and criticism. The rest of you...I've got nothing.

Anonymous (October 4, 2005)

This is a terrible review - very poorly written. Really, punknews.org needs to implement some writing standards and quit posting reviews from every asshole with an opinion.

stevejonestherealbones (October 4, 2005)

i saw this in the store, what the fuck is up with the huge stickers victory put on this shit. i think the flogging molly and dropkick murphy's logo on the sticker is bigger than the tossers logo on the cd...

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- not really, but the sticker is fucking huge

GlassPipeMurder (October 4, 2005)

This is a very good album musically, but hardly any of the tracks could be considered anything close to punk. They're much more like traditional Celtic music than Irish punk a la Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys.

RondoMondo (October 4, 2005)

These guys can toss my salad any day.

gregs (October 4, 2005)

I'm not into the Irish punk thing, so I wasn't thrilled about them opening for Ted Leo a year ago or so. But god damn, they were very good and entertaining live. I still don't think I'd buy their albums, but I wouldn't mind seeing them open again. Hell, it probably would have been even better if I was drinking.

ElVaquero (October 4, 2005)

Why are people comparing The Tossers to Flogging Molly? Do they even count as a punk band? I didn't know being angry and political automatically qualified you for "punk."

localh (October 4, 2005)

enough of the cletic punk crap....

Anonymous (October 4, 2005)

an irish/ cletic influence punk rock band that has been around since the early to mid 90's, from the South SIde of Chicago. You can get all there pre-Vocitory stuff on Thick, and the fan favorite is probably Long Dim Road, so thats a good place to start. Like the other guy said these guys really do blow away Flogging Molly, and have been working at it for a lot longer so it's nice to see them get some press

etwiels88 (October 4, 2005)

Who the fuck are the tossers?

Anonymous (October 4, 2005)

Um these guys are easily the best celtic influencd bad in the U.S....being from CHicago im grateful to have had the oppurtunity to see them live many times. There always fun, always a good time...really fucking great guys...they deserve more attention than that goofy Flogging Molly bullshit any day of the week, and have been around and about 10X better for far longer. Its good to see them on Victory getting there dues....that being said T. Duggins doesnt have the ability to scream like he did in that past, the last tiem I saw them they hinted that it was kinda a sore spot for them right now...his voice cant handle it. I wouldve liked to have seen the go down the road of some more trad cletic here, and play up that strength...thaere completley untouchable in that respect

stevejonestherealbones (October 4, 2005)


if i wanted to write a review, but wanted to know how you would make it better before i submitted it, how would i go about doing that? i'm serious

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

SkolarX (October 4, 2005)

still makes me laugh that these guys toured with sum 41 and link 80.

superdude (October 4, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Come on - there's a "salad" joke in there somewhere.

2. I've got a big softball game coming up tonight. Should I listen to this before or after the game?

3. Pleae explain your answer.

4. And show all work

5. How come no one every takes my advice on how to write better reviews?

ElVaquero (October 4, 2005)

I have no idea what to think. I can imagine this review being pretty right on in terms of how good it is.... but then again, it's such a completely terrible review. You don't know what "Seven Drunken Nights" is? The politics discussion, GEEZ! I still have no idea what this sounds like in comparison to their old releases. Shit, if I didn't know any better I'd have no idea what they sound like. Is there more punk influence on here because of the Victory thing or are they continuing in the same style? Bitch, please.

Anonymous (October 4, 2005)

One of the better Victory Bands, and by "better" i mean better then any shitty metalcore/ faux emo they put out, so yeah this band's kinda boring.

niveK82 (October 4, 2005)

The single is catchy, but the rest of the album is tame for the Tossers. I expected more and was disapointed. I do agree that it does get better on each listed but it hangs at mediocore

Marlon (October 4, 2005)

Why the FUCK are The Tossers on Victory?

Anonymous (October 4, 2005)

The new DBS album will be called, "Up From the Basement"

AlmostPunkEnough (October 4, 2005)

hey, that was going to be the name of death by stereos fifth album assholes!

nah, too close to the other album. i think it's gonna be 'Death Leppard' or, 'Death by Anale Sesso'.

i still can't get over how good they were live.

and i wanna check out this Tossers shit. i really like the "single".

psychoos231 (October 4, 2005)

These guys are all over the new AP

stevejonestherealbones (October 4, 2005)

hey, that was going to be the name of death by stereos fifth album assholes!

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

gladimnotemo (October 4, 2005)

This band is really good, for the most part, I suppose. "Long Dim Road" (I think) is really passionately played and sung; this doesn't sound too good, though. I see this as one of those albums that Victory just pops out, with none of the marketing massacres they do for "good bands".

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go