Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the band is simply called The Dagger.
Their self-titled 10-track LP is just as straight forward and direct as the band’s name. From the lead-off track, “Ahead of You All,” to the last song “Dark Cloud,” it’s a no-frills ride to say the least.
Vocalist Jani Kataja sings straight from the gut with a very distinct sound and a thick layer of 70’s influence reminiscent of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, or even Sabbath.
Guitarist David Blomqvist takes no prisoners with straight ahead chest pumping riffs mixed with licks and solos but not many effects or studio tricks, which I found extremely refreshing in today’s world of overdubs on top of overdubs and click tracks galore. David’s sound and overall style could be compared to Blackmore from Deep Purple or maybe Sabbath’s own Tony Iommi.
Drummer and founding member Fred Estby perfectly compliments the band’s sound with his throwback drumming style complete with rolls and fills, but again, no shiny decorations. Fred’s technique and personal style exploits his early 70’s influences such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Iron Butterfly, and Deep Purple.
Bassist Tobias Cristiansson rounds out the band’s line up and when guitar solos and drum rolls are bouncing off the walls in the climax of songs like “Inside The Monolithic Dome,” and “Electric Dawn.” Tobias is the glue that manages to reunite the guitar and drums with the song’s natural progression and keeps the band’s music tight and perfect with every change like a football coach directing his players to adapt to all possible scenarios at a moment’s notice in a sudden death playoff game.
Collectively these musicians are a Stockholm force to be reckoned with and perhaps on the brink of something huge with the stripped down, old school, let’s-get-our-hands-dirty approach to writing.
The Dagger is a band that rocks just as hard as anyone out there. The difference is they do it themselves live and in the studio. No studio musicians or layers of the same instrument on top of each other to create a “full” sound. Again… no frills here whatsoever.
This album is highly recommended for those that like their music more bare bones and less produced yet uncompromising. This is an in your face, straight up hard rock record with ten head banging tunes. With that being said, I highly recommend setting the time aside to listen and get to know these Swedish rockers for yourself.
I give this album three and a half devil horns out of five!
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