EP REVIEW: Air Drawn Dagger – Songs To Fight The Gods To
Air Drawn Dagger are putting Sheffield back on the map, as vocalist Maisie Manterfield, guitarist Lewis Budden, and drummer Ross Dore remind the world that emo was never a phase. Drawing on inspiration from early Paramore and My Chemical Romance, their 2023 EP Songs To Fight The Gods To blends this early 2000s sound with flavours of 80s hip-hop. Furthermore, this marks the return of concept EPs. For Air Drawn Dagger, this EP explores storytelling as each song develops the journey of one person’s battle at a fabled mountain, where they are to face and destroy gods.
As the lead single, You Should Have Known Better is a strong start for the band. With high energy and angst, Manterfield sets listeners up with the entwined story throughout the entire EP. By referring to Greek mythology, Manterfield is flipping the patriarchy on its head. By simply including lines such as “with Medusa in mind, Persephone as our guide”, Manterfield is flipping the monster trope associated with Medusa to someone who overcame adversity, and you can too. Like Medusa, Persephone’s backstory becomes flipped; she is a bad arse and knows what she is doing. Neither of them are weak. The track is for screaming at the top of your lungs.
If heavy guitar riffs, 808 beats and EDM production are your thing, Stigmata is the song for you. Budden and Dore craft the track well and demonstrate how 80s hip-hop works perfectly with 2000s emo. Although Stigmata is the most personal on the EP (as there are feelings of fate being against you), the tracking makes this the best track on the entire EP. Budden and Dore demonstrate their influences from Paramore, My Chemical Romance and 80s hip-hop to create a sound that even the great bands of the early 200s would be jealous of.
Drawing the EP to a close, Air Drawn Dagger hit listeners with The Collapse of Mount Plethora. In contrast to the other songs, The Collapse of Mount Plethora starts slow, and there is a do-or-die vibe to this song as Manterfield oozes the desperation to fight the gods as she reminds listeners that “you deserve more”. Whilst this song draws some conclusion to the concept EP, it still does not feel complete as there is no satisfying resolution to the story, despite being over five minutes long.
Overall, Songs To Fight The Gods To is an ambitious concept EP with an interesting subject matter. Working with classical mythology and weaving it into emo and flavouring with 80s hip-hop is a bizarre concept, but it works to an extent. Furthermore, with enough teenage angst to fill any nostalgic millennial who misses the good old days of 2000s emo, Air Drawn Dagger are ones to watch as they develop their sound and skills.
Standout Tracks: You Should Have Known Better, Title Fight, The Collapse of Mount Plethora
For Fans of: Paramore, Sleeping With Sirens, Our Last Goodbye
Written by: Jo Lisney