The track titled “1978” on this Swedish retro-metal band’s debut album tells you everything you need to know. Guitarist David Blomqvist layers fat melodic leads, while singer Jani Kataja eulogizes ’78-recorded platters like Judas Priest’s 'Stained Class' and Thin Lizzy’s 'Live and Dangerous.' Death-metal freaks would never guess that The Dagger features three ex-Dismember instrumentalists. Sometimes fist-raising epics like “Dogs of Warning” get overly derivative of Dio, but The Dagger pierces your heart enough to make this a killer outing. LUCAS AYKROYD
Check out “Skygazer” from 'The Dagger.'