Canadian heavy/speed metal giants Striker are picking up momentum faster than ever. While we typically had to wait 2 years for a new record, the band’s self-titled album comes just one year after their last release, and the band shows no signs of slowing down either as they’re constantly touring. The most immediate concern when a band releases multiple albums in a short period is that it comes at the expense of quality, but that isn’t quite the case on this release. Though “Striker” doesn’t immediately rank amongst my favourites of the band’s work, nearly all of their albums have been growers, and this album’s general sound is consistent with everything else the band has done. It helps that this album is a bit shorter than their other records, meaning that the band didn’t feel compelled to write any filler in order to justify another record.
“Striker” is an album predicated on upbeat songs that are overflowing with hooks, good riffs, and plenty of leads and solos. There are efforts like “Pass Me By” where the band experiments with some heavier moments by utilizing both crushing riffs and plenty of gang vocals (though nothing quite like the thrashing “Underground” from “City of Gold”), but this album remains quite accessible most of the time. The band’s previous flirtations with AOR-esque songs (“Too Late”, “One Life”, and “Bad Decisions”) are much less frequent on this album, as there aren’t any ballads or feelgood songs. Everything on “Striker” is pure heavy metal, with only the occasional slower section, such as the intro to “Freedom’s Call”. However, the band does have an uncanny ability for moving from more serious riffing in the verses to giant, bombastic choruses that are easy to sing along with.
This record doesn’t have any weak songs, but there are definitely a few standout cuts. The pre-release single “Born To Lose” was chosen appropriately, as it manages to be one of the catchiest songs on the album. It is matched by the opener, “Former Glory”, and the aforementioned “Freedom’s Call”, as one of the songs that should be in heavy rotation in the band’s live sets. The remaining songs rock as hard as they need to, but don’t necessarily compete with some of the band’s strongest work. Nevertheless, they’re enjoyable tracks because the band makes no compromises on their sound. One could argue that waiting a bit longer to put out another record may have benefitted Striker, but their self-titled remains a very worthy release that will likely be a grower (as all of their albums other than “Armed To The Teeth” have been for me).
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"Born To Lose"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott