The three members of the band Shooting Daggers
Credit: Martyna Bannister

Shooting Daggers – Love & Rage (New Heavy Sounds)

“We want to spread a positive message, we are challenging rage into a good force, seeking for justice and unity. Anger serves us as a bodyguard for our personal pain and suffering. But when you recognise rage within you, if you handle it with attention, love, and compassion, it can be a powerful mobilizing factor to take action in solidarity and commitment to enacting social change.”

Shooting Daggers release their debut album Love & Rage on 16 February via New Heavy Sounds. It builds on 2023’s EP Athames, and from the outset the band state they did not want to limit themselves by any genre on this album. London based queercore trio Sal, Bea and Raquel are building a reputation based on their live performances including support slots for Amyl and the Sniffers and sharing the stage with up and coming American hardcore bands such as Scowl, Gel, Zulu and Spaced.

Album opener ‘Dare’ has a fast wind up and we are launched straight into the world of Shooting Daggers. Thematically this is brimming with empowerment while at the same time hitting a pace which seems impossible to achieve. What a start to a debut album. It’s followed by ‘Not My Rival’  which was released as a split single with label mates Ukranian’s Death Pill. Shooting Daggers proclaim:
“Break the cycle.”
We’re the new generation gonna shake things up”.
Scuzzy guitars and thrashing drums back up this intent. Shooting Daggers acknowledge its time for change.

Previous single ‘Smug’  is a highlight. With a calmer start, the guitar riffs are so hooky but then BAM. The vocals here shift between hardcore growling to glorious harmony but all the while those shredding guitars and thunderous drums never stop.

And no pause for breath yet as its straight into ‘Wipe Out’. This is Rock n Roll on speed with the hardcore vocal for chorus “Wipe Out”.  What is happening at the intro? The band explains:
“‘Wipe out’ is about skateboarding and we thought that it would be fun to use skate sounds in the track. The sample at the beginning is from one of Sal’s Skate edits. We also used a sample from the short movie “Skate witches” at the end of the track too. The director Danny Plotnick was kind enough to let us use it and that’s really cool.

And now there is a complete change in pace and atmosphere. ‘A Guilty Conscience Needs An Accuser’ is emotional and soaring, demonstrating the versatility of Shooting Daggers. The soundscape is perhaps best described as shoegaze grunge and the beautiful sung vocal proves this band are not one trick pony. There are echoes of Amyl and the Sniffers on ‘Tunnel Vision’ which can only be a good thing.  This is melodic hardcore, a groove as well as an edge. And the guitar riff throughout never lets up. ‘Bad Seeds’ immediately begins with thunderous drums at high speed. This is a punk banger, just 90 seconds of shredding guitars and shouted vocals which is perfect mosh-pit material. Title track ‘Love & Rage’ confirms the bands desire to achieve both the loud and quiet on this album.  It’s a gentler vibe with its combined sung vocals and slower pace, but no less enjoyable.

The biggest surprise on Love & Rage is the final track ‘Caves – Outro’. It’s simply vocals and piano. Shooting Daggers stated at the outset that they did not want to limit themselves with one specific genre.  ‘Caves – Outro’ calms down all the ferocity of what has gone before. Its a reminder of the importance of community and self-care in dealing with life’s challenges.

On creating this album Shooting Daggers share: “We just went with the flow and let our creativity run free.” They have produced a body of work full of fire and ferocity but at the same time sensitive and emotional. They are not afraid to share music outside of the expectations of their sound. Love & Rage incorporates both themes expressed in the title. I would still remember your earplugs for their gigs! Based on Love & Rage you just know live this music will be thrilling.

Fore more information on Shooting Daggers please check out their facebook and instagram.
To order debut album Love & Rage please check out their bandcamp.

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