Spiders’ Second Full Length LP Is One Of This Year’s Best New Pure Rock And Roll Records

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Sweden has for many years been considered one of the music world’s most well-known nations.  It has been called home by some of metal’s most aggressive names including: In Flames, At The Gates, Soilwork, Evergrey, and a number of other big name acts.  However in recent years, it seems that the tide has shifted somewhat, bringing other lesser known acts to the fore.  At one point some years ago, The Hives brought out Sweden’s more mainstream side.  The Flower Kings have represented the progressive rock world.  And this year alone, both Freak Kitchen and The Dagger have proven that Sweden offers more to the rock world than just death metal, black metal, and aggressive metal in general (I.E. At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, In Flames, etc.)  Now another band has added its name to that growing list of bands proving Sweden has plenty to offer audiences. That band goes by the name of Spiders.  Spiders will release its second full-length studio effort tomorrow.  The album, titled Shake Electric, is even more ammunition in the argument that rock and roll is not dead nor will it be on its death bed anytime soon, despite what one Gene Simmons might like to believe.  The album’s ten total tracks will transport listeners back to rock’s golden era.  Vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles sounds like Janis Joplin at some points.  At others she sounds like a cross between Pat Benatar and Joan Jett.  And at a wholly other point, one could argue she sounds like Heart’s Ann Wilson.  The talents of Hoyles’ band mates–John Hoyles (guitar), Olle Griphammar (bass), and Ricard Harryson (drums)–add even more enjoyment to the songs on this record.  The end result is a work that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.

Spiders’ new sophomore album Shake Electric is, much like The Dagger’s new self-titled Century Media debut, a record that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.  the album takes listeners on a musical trip back to rock’s golden age.   It all begins with the album’s opener ‘Mad Dog.’  Its old school stoner/garage rock sound coupled with Ann Sofie-Hoye’s vocals make it the perfect first impression for the band on this record.  The song opens with a bombastic attack from Hoyles’ band mates before she comes in singing, “I hear you barking at my door/See you crawlin’ on the floor/I know you don’t mind/But I know your kind/The way you scream/The way you howl.”  the term bad dog is obviously a metaphor for a really bad man.  That becomes especially obvious as the song progresses.  Even with this knowledge, the song still proves to be a great addition to this record.  The power in Hoyles’ delivery coupled with the talents of her band mates in this bluesy rocker will have every rock purist jamming along both by themselves and along with other fans at the band’s live shows.  Being such a solid song both on record and for a live setting proves even more why this song is one of so many great additions to this album.

The members of Spider made exactly the right call when they opted to open Shake Electric with ‘Mad Dog.’  the song’s bluesy rock sound  coupled with Hoyles’ vocals instantly take listeners back in time to rock and roll’s golden era.  Unlike so many other bands’ albums past and present, the enjoyment doesn’t end for audiences after this track.  Rather, the band keeps the energy flowing and listeners *ahem* shaking and singing along from start to finish.  One prime example of the band’s ability to maintain that energy comes in the form of ‘Control.’  The band’s members launch right out of the gate on this full-forward rocker with Hoyles’ exhibiting her Joan Jett/Pat Benatar-style vocals.  [John] Hoyles and drummer Ricard Harryson provide most of the driving force behind this song with bassist Olle Griphammar holding his own, too.  Musically speaking, there’s almost a sort of Led Zeppelin-style sound to the song.  The energy in Hoyles’ voice as she seems to sing about a woman that drives men crazy adds even more depth to the song.  She sings of a man “calling out her name/think I need control…here I go  again/Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”  That could very well be the wrong interpretation.  It is merely the interpretation of this critic.  As always, apologies are in order if it is indeed the wrong iterpretation.  That aside, the song’s energy and its sheer power make it another leg of a wonderful musical trip back in time.

Both ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Control’ serve as great examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the bestnew pure rock and roll records to be released this year.  As if those songs aren’t enough, the band’s obviously Heart-inspired ‘Bleeding Heart’ will definitely have audiences taking note.  That is because if audiences didn’t know any better, they would think that they were in fact hearing Heart in this song.  [Ann] Hoyles sounds almost identical to Ann Wilson.  Is it a coincedence that both women bear the name Ann?  Probably.  But it’s still fun to consider the possibility especically since Hoyles sounds so much like Wilson here.  The song in whole even sounds musically like Heart’s ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ thanks to John Hoyles’ guitar line here.  Paying such homage to one of rock’s great names whether intentionally or not, it is one more part of the whole that makes Shake Electric a great new release from Spiders.  Together with the likes of ‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and the remaining seven songs not noted here, the album in whole proves once again to be one that every rock and roll purist whould hear at least once before the year is out.

‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Bleeding Heart’ are all excellent examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the year’s best new pure rock and roll records.  There are seven other tracks not noted here from which audiences will each find their favorite(s).  The album’s title track, the mroe reserved, bluesy tones of ‘Hard Times’ and the bombastic ‘Back on the Streets’ each offer their own share of enjoyment, too as do the album’s remaining tracks.  All ten tracks together make Shake Electric an album that while not a major label release, is still just as good as any other retro style rock record released via a major label this year.  The album’s songs prove collectively that this is truly an album that every rock and roll purist should indeed give a chance even if American radio stations won’t.  Spiders is curently on tour in Europe in support of Shake Electric.  The band is in Hamburg, Germany tonight and will be in Munster, Germany tomorrow.  Audiences can see the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online now at:

Website: http://www.wearespiders.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wearespiders

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wearespiders

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Dagger Debuts Video For Latest Single

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Swedish modern classic rock band The Dagger debuted the video for its new single ‘1978’ this week. The video can be viewed online now at http://www.teamrock.com/news/2014-07-10/premiere-the-dagger-1978. The video features footage of the band performing its single inside a mansion mixed with footage of front man Jani Kataja singing his part as he drives a classic muscle car along an unnamed road. If the band’s new video and single aren’t enough for fans, the videos for ‘Ahead of You’ and ‘Skygazer’ can both be streamed online now via YouTube and Soundcloud respectively at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLFKpWMjVec&feature=youtu.be and https://soundcloud.com/centurymedia/the-dagger-skygazer. A demo take of the song ‘Dark Cloud’ can also be streamed online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imbk-v_1myE.

The Dagger’s self-titled Century Media Records debut will be available in stores and online Tuesday, July 22nd. It can be pre-ordered now with both the CD by itself and with a souvenir t-shirt online now at http://www.cmdistro.com/Artist/The_Dagger/96644. The album’s track listing is noted below.

The Dagger track-listing:
1. Ahead Of You All
2. Call Of 9
3. Ballad Of An Old Man
4. Skygazer
5. Electric Dawn
6. 1978
7. Dogs Of Warning
8. Nocturnal Triumph
9. Inside The Monolithic Dome
10. Dark Cloud
11. Mainline Riders (CD-only bonus track)

The Dagger is currently scheduled to perform live at the Close-Up Baten Festival Thursday and Friday, September 1th and 19th. More information on that festival is available online at http://www.closeupmagazine.net/sept.php. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Dagger’s CM Debut Is Pure Rock At Its Finest

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The self-titled debut record from The Dagger is a solid first effort for the Stockholm, Sweden-based four-piece. The Dagger isn’t the first band to ever take listeners back to rock’s golden era. But it still has done something special on its debut that other bands of its ilk (E.g. Horisont, The Sword, Gypsyhawk) have not done. What it has done on its first full effort for Century Media Records is crafted an album that exhibits one of the widest swaths of influences to date from any band of its kind. That’s one part of what makes this record one that purist metal heads will appreciate about this album. Also noteworthy about the album is its overall production values. That, too will be discussed shortly. And last but far from least are the lyrical themes that run through the album. All three factors together make The Dagger an album that any purist rocker and metal head will enjoy just as much with each listen.

The Dagger’s debut record is a good addition to the library of anyone that is a fan of The Sword, Horisont and Gypsyhawk. Much like those bands, The Dagger takes listeners back to the golden era of rock on its Century Media Records debut. As much as it carries a sound similar to those bands, it actually takes things a step further on its self-titled debut. Instead of focusing primarily on one specific classic rock sound, the members of The Dagger—Jani Kataja (vocals), Fred Estby (drums), David Blomqvist (guitar), and Tobias Cristiansson (bass)—exhibit influences from a rather wide swatch of veteran bands. Those bands include the likes of Judas Priest, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and even Deep Purple among others. Such a wide array of influences having been exhibited here, it makes the album one of those rare albums that is actually worth listening through without skipping a single song. That’s truly saying something, especially in an era when audiences seem to be increasingly downloading single tracks from the likes of iTunes instead of purchasing entire albums. Taking this into consideration, it shows that The Dagger’s debut record could very well be one that older audiences will appreciate just as much as younger audiences. To that extent, it shows great potential for this record.

The sound crafted by the members of The Dagger on the band’s self-titled debut is the most important factor in the overall enjoyment of this record. The band doesn’t stick to just one influence, even in taking listeners on a trip back in time to the golden age of rock. It exhibits all of its many classic rock influences. Just as important to the album’s success as its sound is the album’s production. The separation that was formed between The Dagger and other “modern classic rock” bands thanks to The Dagger’s extensive background of influences is made even wider thanks to the album’s production values. Painstaking efforts were made to not only bring out the band’s veteran influences, but to make the band’s album sound like it was itself a product of rock’s golden era. From Blomqvist’s powerhouse guitar playing to the almost hollow sound of the drums made popular in the 1960s and 70s to Kataja’s own vocals, and even Cristiansson’s bass work, each part was given special attention. When all four parts came together, those behind the glass exhibited expert talent, crafting an album that sounded like it came right from the era of so many great garage rock style bands. Credit is most definitely to be given in that area. It wonderfully compliments a sound from the band that is already impressive on its own.

The songs that make up The Dagger and the production values that make the album even richer are both integral parts of the album’s success and enjoyment. They are but part of the whole, though. There is still one more factor to consider in the album’s enjoyment. That factor is the variety of lyrical themes that run through the album. As [Fred] Estby noted in an interview with Terrorizer magazine, the influences behind the songs’ lyrical themes come from a number of sources. Those sources include the news, novels, and even lyrics from contemporaries such as Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler, and Blue Oyster Cult. That means that unlike so many rock bands out there, The Dagger tries its best to avoid the standard themes of relationships. Rather the themes on this album vary just as widely as the band’s musical influences. It’s a breath of fresh air, considering just how many bands even in today’s world of hard rock and heavy metal base their songs on that standard fare. That factor, alongside the album’s overall sound and production values make this record, once again, one that any purist rocker and metal head will enjoy just as much the fiftieth time around as the fifth.

The Dagger will be available in the U.S. Tuesday, July 22nd and June 30th in Europe.  It will be released both domestically and internationally via Century Media Records. The Dagger is currently scheduled to perform live September 18th and 19th in Stockholm Sweden as part of Close-Up Magazine’s Close-Up Baten Festival. Until then, audiences can keep up with the latest news and more from The Dagger through its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/daggerofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Dagger Reveals Cover Art, Track Listing For Debut Album

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Swedish metal act The Dagger recently signed a deal with Century Media Records. The band’s self-titled debut album is slated to be released June 30th in Europe and July 22nd in North America. The album will be released via Century Media Records both overseas and in North America.

In anticipation of the upcoming release, the band has released the cover art for its album as well as the video for its lead single, titled ‘Ahead of You All.’ The song conjures thoughts of Judas Priest and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal during the 1980s. Audiences can hear the song now online via YouTube at YouTube: http://youtu.be/wLFKpWMjVec and via SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/centurymedia/the-dagger-ahead-of-you-all.

The Dagger also included a song titled ‘Dark Cloud’ as the closer for its upcoming self-titled debut. Audiences can hear an early version of that song now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imbk-v_1myE. That early version was originally released on a 7” through High Roller Records. The album’s complete track listing is noted below.

The Dagger track-listing:
1. Ahead Of You All
2. Call Of 9
3. Ballad Of An Old Man
4. Skygazer
5. Electric Dawn
6. 1978
7. Dogs Of Warning
8. Nocturnal Triumph
9. Inside The Monolithic Dome
10. Dark Cloud

The Dagger is currently scheduled to perform live September 18th and 19th in Stockholm Sweden as part of Close-Up Magazine’s Close-Up Baten Festival.

Jani Kataja leads The Dagger on vocals. He is joined by David Blomqvist (guitar), Tobias Cristiansson (bass), and Fred Estby (drums). More information on The Dagger, its upcoming self-titled album and eventual tour news is available online at http://www.facebook.com/daggerofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.