“City of Gold” marks the third full-length album for Canadian speed metal juggernauts Striker. While their first album was pretty great in its own right, the band took a huge leap forward with their sophomore release. Despite taking a slightly different direction, “City of Gold” continues the band’s streak of great albums. In general, the sound of this album is similar to the prior records, but the main reason it feels different is because “City of Gold” appears to be more serious than the last album. “Armed To The Teeth” was the sort of record that you could throw on at a party and sing along to easily. While “City of Gold” still has plenty of catchy choruses, they are presented in a different way.
One reason why the album sounds a bit different is because it can get incredibly thrashy at times. Opening track “Underground” is an absolute speed monster, delivering some riffs that would not be out of place on an album adorning Ed Repka’s artwork. Even the next song, the title track, takes a thrashier approach with its verse riff. Both of these songs, along with nearly every other track are driven by melodic, awesome choruses. Vocalist Dan Cleary sounds as good as ever; he manages to unleash some banshee-like screams, alongside his normal singing voice. The vocal lines are all incredibly memorable. Even just looking at the track listing now, many of the choruses immediately come to my head. Other unforgettable tracks include "Crossroads", "All For One", and "All I Want". It's absurd how this band will manage to keep songs stuck in your head for hours.
One song that deserves special mention is “Bad Decisions”. This song shows Striker abandoning speed metal and going full-on AOR. It’s pretty tame, and even a bit out of place, yet completely amazing. As a sucker for glam metal, arena rock, or whatever you want to call it, this song is pure magic. Cleary puts forth his best performance, as the song is more dynamic, giving him more space to work with. The main riff strings together a few power chords quite effectively, not unlike “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, while the verse shows the band channeling their inner Def Leppard.
As a whole, “City of Gold” is an impressive offering. I would be surprised if any Striker fan dislikes this. The band has had a bit of turnover since their last full-length, but it doesn’t appear to be affecting them at all. This album has all of the Striker essentials: high-speed riffs, energetic and enthusiastic vocals, shredding guitar solos, and just killer songs. While I still think I prefer “Armed To The Teeth”, there is no doubt that this album is incredibly strong.
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"All I Want"
4.4/5 or 88%.
Written by Scott