Mudmen - Defending the Kingdom (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Defending the Kingdom (2003)

Foreman Bros. Recordings

The Mudmen, from Ontario, Canada, formed in 1998 and have released seven albums since. Defending the Kingdom, released in 2003, was the final album featuring the band’s original lineup, with vocalist Zoy Nicoles. Defending the Kingdom is a solid rock’n’roll album, with a splash of punk and a lot of bagpipes thrown into the mix. The album itself is a little less Celtic and a little more rock’n’roll than the previous two releases, though there’s still enough bagpipes to satisfy anyone.

Zoy Nicoles’ vocals shine on this album. While not, perhaps, entirely unique, his voice is perfect for a rock album like Defending the Kingdom. They’re heavy to match the general sound of the album, yet still capable of overflowing emotion in slower songs like “Father” with its seething and bitter lyrics, or “How Do You Like Me Now”, brimming with anger.

The tracks on Defending the Kingdom had plenty to compete with: The band’s first, self-titled, album contained such notable tracks as “5 O’Clock”, “Saturday”, and “Drink and Fight”, after all. But the album has its own highlights and noteworthy songs, such as the lead track, “Defending the Kingdom”, “Money Me”, and “Stand Alone”, among others. “Defending the Kingdom” starts things off strong, with a tempo that picks up and builds towards the chorus. And bagpipes. It’s a track that lets you know exactly what you’re in for with the album itself. Heavy guitar riffs, powerful vocals, and infectious choruses. “Money Me” is, perhaps, one of the catchiest tracks on the album, with both verses and choruses perfect to sing along with. “Stand Alone” has a slightly slower tempo, but it isn’t lacking in the heavy guitars one comes to expect from the album, and, of course, the bagpipes.

Defending the Kingdom is, while not an instant classic, a very solid album. There’s nothing out of place, nothing unexpected. Each song is solid, itself, and the album highlights Nicoles’s rock’n’roll vocals. It’s an easy album to sing along with, and one best listened to loudly. Unless you don’t like bagpipes, in which case I recommend you steer clear.