The Dagger – The Dagger (Century Media)Monday, 7th July 2014
The result of when a bunch of veteran Stockholm death metal dudes want to try something new, but not really new, The Dagger come in on the back-end of the retro/70’s rock action with this, their self-titled debut. Frankly, the album is not as 70’s-sounding as suggested; the band’s proto metal musings depict the early 80’s sorcery of various NWOBM outfits, along with the sweet licks and vocal kicks of a band like UFO, who…were of prominence in the 70’s. As crossed up as DR is, The Dagger emerges as a heavy-duty, no-frills chunk of work that is a total 180 from their sloppy, skin ‘em alive period 20 years ago.
Production presented at an appropriate vintage level (one must love those crisp tone and natural-sounding drums), the songs, as expected, have ample swagger. (Swagger + Dagger. Of course.) However, this isn’t cheeky or booze-addled rock, rather, it’s more in tune with Rainbow’s heavier period, as heard on the excellent “Skygazer,” which is nothing like “Stargazer,” but would be awesome if such were the case. Heads-up on the Judas Priest circa Hell Bent for Leather ramble of “Nocturnal Triumph,” then the Killers Maiden work on “Inside the Monolithic Doom,” which stands as the album’s most definitive and persuasive cut.
How far a band like The Dagger goes is totally dependent upon how the European metal scene views them. If they’re taken as a bunch old chums from the Stockholm death metal scene trying to cash in on the retro movement (wait, there is money in metal?), then they will fall by the wayside pretty quickly. But, should punters find value in the The Dagger’s well-honed proto-metal/NWOBHM depiction, then the band should be able to add substance to a style that has a questionable amount to begin with. Your call.