I was always fascinated by the lost recordings. For some unexplainable reason, I wanted to hear stories about how particular albums got lost and eventually emerged back to the surface after a while. Shoot To Kill is one of those lost recordings or, should I say, forgotten recordings by the Ann Arbor’s Dog Soldier. It was supposed to be a follow-up release to Name Your Poison, a critically acclaimed debut by the beforementioned band. However, it has never seen the light of a day. According to the story by Matt Singleton, their guitar player and now president of SMTM Records, Shoot To Kill was far from finished mainly because the guitar tracks didn’t sound as planned. After over thirty years, the album comes back to life after putting some finishing touches, keyboards, textures, so the album could sound like it was recorded with a big budget.
If you pay closer attention while listening to these tracks, you’ll notice that Dog Soldier are not just another regular rock band. Quite the contrary, their music explores many different subgenres of rock at once. That’s especially notable on Shoot To Kill. While maybe this material leans towards much calmer waters than its predecessor, it also showcases the natural progression of the musicians involved in the band at that time. Dog Soldier expanded the sound by adding elements of proto-grunge, grunge, alternative rock, and punk rock without missing the initial rock base. This recording goes in so many ways, but in the end, it sounds like a thoughtfully assembled, compact, energetic material that would probably cause havoc on the scene if it was published back in the day.
The best part about Dog Soldier is that you can’t compare them with any other band. You can’t even classify them under one musical branch. No matter if the band currently performs straightforward hard rock, pulls some psychedelic rock tricks out from their sleeves, implements some creative proto-grunge virtuosities, dives deep into the depths of grunge and alternative rock aesthetics, or simply kicks hard with some proper punk rock riffs, you will get the feeling that you listen to confident musicians fully aware of their musical abilities. Shoot To Kill sounds even better with all the textures, keys, and finishing touches added, but the album also carries the ambiance of the particular era. I guess these songs would lose their soul if the sound engineers and record producers did it any other way.
As far as I am informed, SMTM Records aim to release all ten tunes as singles every four weeks and then publish the entire album on streaming services. There are also plans for a limited vinyl release, so keep your eyes peeled on SMTM Records website for more information about it.