DAGGER - NOT AFRAID OF THE NIGHT (1985, VIPER RECORDS)
Frank Ross - vocals, guitars
Syd Brophy - lead guitar, backing vocals
Danny Clout - bass, backing vocals
Gil Heynemann - drums, backing vocals
This album is so soaked in that mid-eighties era US rock. In that, we are talking Lion
. The influences hung out to dry for all to see. However, the irony is that they are from Canada, and a rare jewel they are too! Speaking of Canadian, a little bit of Helix
sneaks out from time to time, plus a bit of Beau Geste
, and though there are keyboards in the mix, the guitars tend to dominate. From Quebec, the band started out life in 1982, and as so many bands from that era were prone to doing, they got a kickstart due to an appearance on a local Canadian HM compilation called 'Moose Molten Metal'. They were then picked up Viper Records, who were the HM arm of Attic Records. The album was produced by Pierre Bazinet, responsible for the debut Boulevard
album, plus Sass Jordan
's 'Tell Somebody' album. A respected name in Canadian circles at least. Musically, the band were pigeon-holed as HM, but really, to be honest, these guys would've been more at home playing the Whiskey A-Go Go, or any of those bars on the L.A Strip. Their music, notwithstanding their image was tailor-made for the 80's L.A market, though in hindsight, they may have been cut up and spat out in five minutes knowing the volatility of the rock industry in Tinsel Town. Probably the smallest issue with this band are the vocals. Not the best, though the songs are pretty good, but a guy like Lion
's Kal Swann for instance, would've eaten this stuff for breakfast!
Gotta like a lot of these songs though. The opener 'Do It Again' is a Lion
esque belter, aggressive, melodic, and softened slightly by the keyboard melody. The title track is a big booming raucous affair, anthemic chanty choruses, and the right mix of keyboards and guitars to get the head-bangers interested. It's Alright' is more keyboard oriented, sounding like the Chicago band Jamilya
though a lot less heavy-handed as those guys. The pairing of 'Give Em What They Want' and 'Hungry For Power' are prime-time LA hard rock excursions complete with every cliche imaginable from that scene. The big surging power ballad 'As The Heart Falls Down' has lean slices of Angel
like hard rock and tries to close out the album in an epic-like way, though sadly only just miss the mark.
This is certainly an album which missed the radar back in the day, and only this year have this lot come to the fore. The album is now available on CD via Attic Records. Check out the site of New World Records, A Canadian Mail Order specialist. The CD can be obtained from there for those that are interested.
01 Do It Again
02 Not Afraid Of The Night
03 It's Alright
04 Give 'em What They Want
05 Hungry For Power
06 Raise The Titanic
07 Crawl For Me
09 Once Again We're Rocking
10 As The Heart Falls Down
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