January 18, 2014 by Dan Swinhoe
Stone Dagger – The Siege Of Jerusalem
Given the plethora of metal styles and sub-genres that make up the scene today, it’s very easy to forget what metal was like back in the early 80s. It’s also very easy to look down on those early NWOBHM-style records as mostly cheesy and amateurish, where Denim and leather ruled and it was all about the swords and sorcery lyrics. But there’s a host of classics in there, and without them metal today would be a very different beast.
Stone Dagger revels in the glory of old-skool traditional heavy metal; epic uptempo riffing, fantasy lyrics and soaring vocals. SD is fronted by Brendan Radigan, who seems to live a double life as a snarling punk by day fronting hardcore group The Rival Mob and wailing 80s metal revivalist by night with the excellent Battle Ruins and Magic Circle.
Originally released on Cassette [but quickly sold out], SD’s debut release is the two-track The Siege of Jerusalem demo, soon to be released on 7″ vinyl. They’re billed as a Radian (Vocals, Bass, Guitar) solo band, “With the help of a couple of studio musicians, delivering the kind of working class power metal the USA has been historically known for. For fans of Manilla Road, Dio, Cirith Ungol,” which sounds about right.
The two studio hands Justin DeTorre (Drums) & Chris Corry (Lead Guitars) have a good CV when it comes to classic metal as they were both in Magic Circle with Radigan for last year’s sublime self-titled debut. And on The Siege of Jerusalem, as with his work with MC and Battle Ruins, Radigan has a penchant for mixing classic riffs with energetic songwriting and epic caterwauling vocals that show deference to influences but without sounding like a rip off.
The title track opens with mid-paced riffing and melodic wailing and cuts a fairly solemn tone before it breaks out into breakneck speeds, power chords, air raid vocals and flurrying guitar solos. Epic air guitar music if there ever was. ‘Black Clad Rider’ is more of a mid-paced rocker littered with even more guitar histrionics and massive stadium chords, but is no less enjoyable.
Stone Dagger accomplish the impressive feat of sounding like a long lost classic but without sound dated or hackneyed. Hopefully a full length will soon be on its way.Well worth your time if you claim to be a proper metalhead.