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Finland’s Daggerplay are back with their second album of high-energy classic punk, Subterranean Reality. The band sounds stronger and the walls of distorted guitars are more muscular than ever, but the pop hooks are equally prevalent. The band’s sound is firmly entrenched in the punk and power pop of the ’70s like the Ramones and The Clash, but they also add a touch of ’90s aggression inspired by Social Distortion and Rancid. Daggerplay is at the peak of their abilities live, and in many respects they are a live band, but Subterranean Reality does a fantastic job of recreating that energy and rawness in the studio as accurately as possible.
Whereas many punk band straitjacket themselves and limit their sound to one specific style, Daggerplay samples different subgenres from the entire history of punk at will. The band isn’t afraid to play dangerously with ska as on “Black River,” while “Don’t Give Up” has strong overtones of The Jam. There are moments that even verge into heavy metal territory like “Cruel Wind Blowing,” but the band never once sacrifices these experiments for their core sound and it is never at the expense of having a good time. Subterranean Reality isn’t groundbreaking, revolutionary punk, but nevertheless it’s punk at the highest caliber and of a quality that will even rival the band’s heroes.
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