Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dagger Moon – Citadel (2016) / 80%

Moonlit easy riding

This quintet from Washington plays an interesting sort of crossover genre. Blending the heaviness of crust with the moody darkness of doom wasn't quite enough for them. They decided to add a massive amount of synth to their music and it really works.

Sharing two members with Ilsa (one of them do the artwork for both bands), Dagger Moon are much more subdued and laid back as they don't have the same pissed off sludgey Cianide influenced bludgeoning sound. It's a bit hard to describe their style since the mix is done effortlessly and with care. The really loud synths make them sound like dangerous punks driving through an industrial city in decay on their loud bikes, they drank too much cheap beer so they're a bit drunk so they're not driving too fast. Just fast enough to create some roadkill on their way to hell. As illustrated on their vinyl release, we could also envision this big ass punk on his bike just floating around on this apocalyptic moon. This album would probably fit Stranger Things if the TV series would be even darker to give you an idea of how lush it is.

The bass has this huge, hardworking sound and it's often louder than the guitars. The drums are simple yet effective and like the compositions, they're more smooth and contemplative than heavy and suffocating. It's metal mostly because of the way the riffs are composed and the epic song structures. It can be repetitive at times but I think it fits their idiosyncratic feel and almost gives a synth drone ambiance to the album. The guitars still have some shining moment such as the ethereal leads of "Black Water" but overall, they could be perceived as secondary here despite establishing Dagger Moon as a metal band. The metal is perhaps not the first thing you'll notice but it's there and its carnal embrace with the synthrock elements is fairly nice.

The six lengthy songs combine groovy mid-paced riffs, synth influences and clean Napalm Raid-esque crusting. Their approach could also be compared to Tau Cross in spirit, a melting pot of good things related to both the metal and the punk worlds but Dagger Moon's vocals are more cryptic, buried and harsh and there's of course the omnipresent synths. Comparisons aside, there's basically nothing truly similar to them and they're pretty refreshing.

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