Don’t worry about the wealth of the Belgian hardcore scene; it’s doing just fine. Between the recognized ones (Deathwish affiliated bands, Church of Ra), newcomers and old legends; some equally hard-working and assiduous bands follow their way. Among them, there’s Daggers, a grubby hardcore-punk oriented quartet from Liège. Born in 2007, they already got quite some material under their belt, released on many quality labels. The first S/T EP was released in 2008 on I For Us Records, Along The Acheron in 2009 via Anchors Aweigh Records and Euphoria in 2011 through Holy Roar Records and Twelve Gauge Records.
It’s Not Jazz It’s Blues is the 2014 follow-up and restarts in a rather same approach than their latest production. Recorded live at Ben Phillips’ Lightship studio and mastered by Magnus Lindberg from Cult of Luna, this record is a seamless illustration of Daggers’ determination to stray from the path. In their early years, the band had accustomed us with an explosive mix of hardcore and crust but things have taken a slightly different path now. There’s plenty of different material and sonorities on this record, which makes it really great. ‘Apex’, the opening track gives an accurate outline of the dark things that lurk in here.
As its name indicates, the album is filled with gloomy blues sonorities, noisy riffs and cavernous vocals. You can easily navigate through hypnotic ambiances (is that a saxophone on ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Labyrinth’?) and animosity-infused blasts (‘Woolgatherer’, ‘Blues’), Daggers carries a more anxious and surly sound than ever (‘Evermore’). Yet, they’re still able to deliver more straightforward bursts (‘Asunder’, ‘Beacon’) with remarkable drum parts (‘Cultist’) and this corrosive voice coming from elsewhere. The whole mood here is really murky. It’s modern, it’s baffling and it sounds, most of the time, really pissed off. There’s an impression of unrest and confined rage on almost every tracks: It’s furious but things doesn’t explode in regards of other productions from the same genre.
The band genuinely succeeded in delivering a mesmerizing 12 track-whirlwind filled with disturbing atmospheres, rusty metal riffs and a humming bass sound (‘Dorment’). Freed from all restrictions, Daggers’ musical universe is now redefined again. It’s clearly bounded to a wide range of violent styles and it still sounds far beyond noisy and unkind (‘Sovereign’, ‘Citadel’, a different and bleaker version of ‘Apex’).
Daggers showcase more skills and demonstrate more confidence and strength. This new record is the manifestation of a band whose approach is deeply personal and uncanny yet sounding unusual and pretty damn good. It’s Not Jazz It’s Blues will be released on March 31st through Throatruiner Records but it’s already up for free download and pre-order. Make sure to get your hands on it!
Track list – It’s Not Jazz It’s Blues:
Written by Alex Tabankia