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The Dagger – The Dagger

Label: Century Media
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8.5/ 10

Getting into the Swedish homage to old school hard rock/early traditional metal are Grave bassist Tobias Christiansson and former members of Dismember (drummer Fred Estby, guitarist David Blomqvist, who also did a stint in Entombed) with this debut. Complete far afield of their collective past, The Dagger take a stab at England, circa '78, influenced by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Riot (while American, definitely bigger overseas) and the emerging NWOBHM.


The lead track ‘Ahead Of You All’ owes a debt to atmospheric Iron Maiden (down to the gong crash), before setting the Way-Back Machine for a decade earlier. Recalling the vinyl era, the ten tracks run 44:22, enough to squeeze on one side of a 90 minute cassette, although there is a CD bonus, the cover of Quartz' ‘Mainline Riders’ (previously issued as a 7 inch single on High Rollers). Gives some insight into the mindset. That, and a song called simply ‘1978’. ‘Call Of 9’ reminds me of the Tygers Of Pan Tang, while the late Jon Lord would have enjoyed the keyboard filled drone on ‘Ballad Of An Old Man’. Not only the title as a veiled reference, but musically ‘Skygazer’ appears to be a dedication to Ronnie James Dio's days in Rainbow. Wah wah guitar in the more upbeat ‘Electric Dawn’, while ‘Dogs Of Warning’ slows to a plodding heaviness. ‘Nocturnal Triumph’ has a Godz feel to it, accented by cowbell and clap-along chorus. ‘Inside The Monolithic Dome’ would have been called proto-heavy metal, once upon a time. Not too far afield to countrymen Grand Magus. The closing ‘Dark Cloud’ is easily the fastest tune, yet still possible to hear all the instruments, including Estby's swing drumming. One for the old-timers, or kids interested in looking back, yet moving forward. Cool this got some big label support!

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