The second “Get Out Of Our Way” kicks in, you get a feeling that The Old Firm Casuals aren’t fucking about on “Holger Dankse”. There’s no holding back from bassist Casey Watson as he leads the beginning of the album with a menacing snarl, delivering a statement of intent and a spit in the face to those that would write the band off as a mere side gig.
Once the middle finger to the world is over, The Old Firm Casuals enter into more familiar territory with Lars Frederiksen’s trademark wail on “Motherland”, an ambitious, anthemic street punk track firmly rooted in the big chorus approach he’s become known for over the years.
From here, “Pendulum” begs you to throw your weight around in a pit, and the anti-fascist tones of the record reach their first climax here before “De Ensomme Ulve” segues into the title track. “Holger Danske” tells the tale of the album’s eponymous Dane, in what feels like the original album opener enduring on the tracklisting despite more visceral content entering the fray as the writing went on – for all its intent and swagger.
Next up, “Casual Rock-N-Roll”, creates an effortless marriage of AC/DC and Lars’ “…Wolves” era that throws up visions of Mashall cabs and mohawks, letting the band cut loose and have fun before “Traitor” brings The Old Firm Casuals right back to the line of punk and hardcore that they’ve walked so well in the past.
The album’s such a patchwork of genres at this point that it’s almost disorientating, but that’s meant entirely in a complimentary way: it’s a “best bit” of sorts from each genre that the band touch on, living as both a throwback and a breath of fresh air, so much so that the uplifting “The Golden Fall Pt. 1” giving way to Casey Watson’s growl on Sick Of It All-esque throwdown “Thunderbolt” doesn’t even feel jarring.
“Overdose On Sin” kicks in with a solid bass solo and bulldozes through a snotty, two minute hardcore before the woahs return for “Nation On Fire” (which could easily have been a lead track on the record) and the record yields with a five minute epic in “Zombies”.
“Holger Danske” is a landmark record for The Old Firm Casuals. It’s an album by a group of experienced and confident musicians making music on their own terms, with little regard to what other people expect them to sound like. There’s no hammering the songs into a fixed genre, no restrictions on the ideas, and it’s a thrilling listen because of it – especially if you’re a fan of the collective work of its members.
The Old Firm Casuals have delivered a well balanced full length that has depth, quality, passion and piles of energy in “Holger Danske”, and it’s absolutely one of the best punk records of 2019 so far.