ALBUM REVIEW: Dagoba – By Night

With steadfast ambition and faith in leaving their comfort zone, French Industrial and Groove Metal band Dagoba have made a bold return with their first album in five years, By Night (Napalm Records). While some songs share a familiar territory for the group, others reveal a whole new side to them. Chugging guitars and double-bass drums unveil a certain fierceness in the electronic hooks, while frontman Shawter adds his lionhearted approach to vocal dynamics.

Menacing instrumental ‘Neons’ kicks off the record with a peculiar tension of synth layers and harmonized guitars. A warped, stuttering effect then starts following track ‘The Hunt’, sucking you into the sonic rabbit hole. Shawter makes his entrance count with brutal screams that draw the ear in instantly. What sounds like a heavily processed, high-pitched chant repeats constantly in the background, adding an intriguing polarity between vocal tones.


The impassioned ‘On The Run’ offers something softer with light piano and an unnamed female vocalist who could have the band mistaken for Evanescence (in a good way). The determination in the chorus is contagious with its harrowing yet uplifting melody and lyrics, “Send an army, send all the gods, I’ll take my chances against all odds, I’ve been running all my life.” While some old-school Dagoba fans might not appreciate the calmer change in tone, it’s hard to deny how well they pulled it off. Electro-interlude track ‘Break’ ties it together beautifully with the slightly faster ‘City Lights’, making for a gradual build-up back into the madness with ‘Nightclub’. Its synth melody bears a thematic appeal that sounds enormous with the raging guitars, making the breather all the more worth it.

The band turns the tenacity up to eleven with penultimate track ‘The Last Crossing’, wielding blastbeats and booming drum fills that flourish through thunderous guitar rhythms and barbarous screams. Shawter sings his heart out, “Run all the lights at the last crossing before I die, there’s time for one last ride”, presenting the song like a war cry before the final fight. The album ends with the ominous outro ‘Stellar’, closing the curtains on a desolate battleground’s aftermath.


Dagoba are mastering the art of combining several different styles without losing their Metal edge, and By Night proves it right off the bat. Summoning circle pits one minute and tugging at your heartstrings the next, this album is a proclamation of confidence in being emotionally open while maintaining a vigorous image.

Buy the album here:

8 / 10