For those of you old enough to remember a time when rock and metal REALLY meant something, especially the warmth of it on vinyl, then here’s a great band for ya, THE DAGGER, whose self-titled debut comes out July 22 via Century Media Records. With a sound firmly rooted in the NWOBHM glory days this one is sure to turn some heads. And yeah, the retro-sound craze is everywhere these days, but this band does it right. And when you listen, you’ll swear it’s 1980 or 1981 and you’re back home in your room at Mom and Dad’s, air-guitaring in the mirror (you know you did it, we all did!!). And let’s not forget the vintage drum sound, with some fat-ass snare and deep tom fills. Plus a vocalist who knows how to play to the song, and not get lost in all kinds of vocal histrionics make for a real groovy listen.
“Ahead of You All” gets this party started with a straight-ahead riff rocker reminiscent of early SCORPIONS and JUDAS PRIEST and “Call of 9” takes that formula and ups the ante considerably, singer Jani Kataja utilizing just the right amount of reverb and guitarist David Blomqvist employing some serious overdrive to give it that oomph we’re used to hearing on albums like BLACK SABBATH’S Heaven and Hell, or IRON MAIDEN’S The Number of the Beast. From here we move to a smoke-filled, bluesy, darker side with “Ballad of An Old Man” while “Skygazer” is more of an up-tempo take on the blues progression. Both songs also feature some nice organ work in the background and the leads are played with a flourish.
That old MAIDEN influence rears its head on “Electric Dawn”. I imagine this is what they would have sounded like if Paul Di’Anno could actually carry a tune on those first two records. Definitely a song that flies the flag for the days of yore, waving it in the face of any and all naysayers. “1978” sounds exactly like, well…1978, which was a very good year! Really the first song that didn’t grab me was “Dogs of Warning” and at nearly six minutes it’s kind of the same thing over and over for much of it. Nice phaser during the major drum fill, though. Other than that it just wasn’t for me. However “Nocturnal Triumph” puts us back in high gear with some cowbell that I’m sure Christopher Walken would heartily approve of. I think I just found my new Saturday night drinkin’ anthem.
The dual guitar lines on “Inside the Monolithic Dome” are sweet as candy before it bares its fangs and morphs into something thick and monstrous. Credit bassist Tobias Cristiansson and drummer Fred Estby for giving the song some extra balls. They play well on everything, but on this number they really shine. Closer “Dark cloud” is exactly what you’d expect on this type of record: short, fast, and one last kick in the balls before you go. Bottom line, this is a great and fun record that will probably have you pulling out some old albums on vinyl just to keep the vibe going when it’s over. And if THE DAGGER makes this debut available in that format, I strongly urge you to pick it up. Good signing by Century Media, and I’m curious to see what else this band has up their sleeves.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ahead of You All”, “Call of 9”, “Nocturnal Triumph”, “Inside the Monolithic Dome”, “Dark Cloud”