Striker Album Review – ‘Stand In The Fire’
Canadian classic metal outfit Striker is at it again. The guys had a relentless schedule with an EP and three full-length albums released in the last six years and numerous tours throughout North America and Europe. Somehow they found some time to write and record another album. ‘Stand In The Fire’ is the band’s fourth album and will be available via their own label Record Breaking Records on 5 February.
Striker have gathered a solid fan base with their previous releases and their in-your-face approach to classic 80s-style metal. To cut a long story short, ‘Stand In The Fire’ is no exception and follows the same, proven concept. Melodic guitar solos and lots of twin-axe action, Dan Cleary’s screaming vocals and shouted gang vocals, garnished with heaps of shredding and classic riffing. With this mixture ‘Stand In The Fire’ aims at bringing metal parties to the boil. And it works. The opener ‘Phoenix Lights’, a classic mid-tempo metal track à la Saxon, immediately initiates a rhythmic contraction of my neck muscles. The following ‘Out For Blood’ with galloping riffs and some twin-axe action is just the right track to warm up my neck muscles further.
There are many highlights on the album. There is ‘Locked In’, which comes with a killer riff that reminds me of Pretty Maids’ ‘Future World’. ‘Outlaw’ is another track with a galloping song structure, melodic hook lines and screaming vocals. Also among the highlights is the short instrumental ‘Escape From Shred Island’, which is – yes, you guessed it right – mainly about shredding.
The remaining songs all rock nicely without any further surprises and with varying degrees of power and aggression. A couple of the tracks drop the energy a bit. Songs like ‘Too Late’ and ‘The Iron Never Lies’ just don’t reach the level of outright headbangers like ‘Locked In’ and ‘Out For Blood’.
Unfortunately, just as my neck muscles had a proper workout and were looking forward to a final assault, Striker finish the album with a completely dispensable metal ballad. ‘One Life’ has just too much 80s-big-hair feeling for me. Across the first ten songs of the album Striker show what they are good at and that’s playing hard and fast. Striker clearly shine through songs like ‘Locked In’ and ‘Out Of Blood’ and don’t need a ballad to prove anything.
Bottom line is that ‘Stand In The Fire’ is a good classic metal album with a powerful production. The only real negative is the expendable ballad ‘One Life’. By finishing with that track the album lost a bit of its overall impact. Nevertheless, ‘Stand In The Fire’ is an album that should get a party going.