Released: 2012, Napalm Records
Canadian Metal Spotlight-Part 1
About once a year (maybe twice) or so I’ll dig down deep into the frozen permafrost of the Canadian Metal scene and share some worthy releases with a wider audience. Since we don’t get summer up here in the Great White North I’ll bring you a little cold front of Metal albums and do a quick review of seven recent albums by newer bands from coast to coast. Being a Canadian writing for a Canadian site it is the least I can do, in a patriotic sense, to help give a little exposure to my fellow Metallions of the north but that doesn’t means they get a free ride, just because they are Canadian! These bands actually deserve your attention;
Haiduk (Calgary, Alberta)
Kemilon (Montreal, Quebec)
Striker (Edmonton, Alberta)
Titan’s Eve (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Valfreya (Montreal, Quebec)
Ye Goat-Herd Gods (Calgary, Alberta)
Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature. Next month we will feature:
Auroch (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Begrime Exemious (Edmonton, Alberta)
Black Moor (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
Dark Forest (Calgary, Alberta)
Maglor (Calgary, Alberta)
Odium (Walkerton, Ontario)
Ze (Calgary, Alberta)
I’m always so pleased when local bands make it to the next level. Not just because it gives me bragging rights and increases my Metal cred for knowing about bands before the metal masses (ha!) but because I’m delighted when young, talented musicians who are dedicated to Metal get rewarded for their talent and hard work. It sort of helps validate my feelings. I’ve seen local bands that I love, never go anywhere. I’ve seen local bands I don’t like at all get lots of recognition and I’m left scratching my head. There are those times when everyone (locally) seems to agree and pull for a band to ‘make it’ and Striker is one of those few bands. This is my third Striker review for Metal-Rules.com but they key difference is that the quintet is now in Napalm Records, one of the very few signings of an Albertan Metal band to a big international label, in fact I could probably count them on one hand!
ARMED TO THE TEETH is the bands second full-length album and there has been a change in that a new skin-pounder has joined the ranks. Striker have pretty much perfected their signature sound early in their career and are smart enough not to mess with the sound that got them into the big leagues in the first place. The album cover is pretty cool, a skeletal dinosaur dude with some awesome weaponry. I didn’t know that dinosaurs actually carried single-barreled .50 cal machine guns, what with their little arms and a lack of opposable thumbs and no trigger finger/claw. Not to mentioned the six barreled, belt-fed (?) laser cannon strapped to his back. However, I guess it takes a hell of lot of firepower to take out a brontosaurus and shooting one beats trying to bite a behemoth that outweighs you by a ton or two. Just go for the kill! On a serious, note, this is a contender for album art of the year.
The music inside ARMED TO THE TEETH is no less lethal. Striker strike with another 10 song, 40 minute album that is pure metal start to finish. Cleary’s vocals are still loud and proud and a highlight of the songs. His powerful sound and good range take the songs to great heights. The songs have simple and effective arrangements of a conventional verse, chorus, verse, chorus solo etc… nothing new but executed with enthusiasm. Striker sound like so many great 80’s bands but at the same time like no one else I could cite as a reference. That is part of the charm of this classic Metal band: they have a sound that can stand toe-to-toe with say… I dunno that whole, Reverend/Metal Church/Heretic/Wayne/Malice group of bands and yet Striker have their own sound. The songs are maybe just a shade more straight-ahead on this record and this album doesn’t have a couple of those huge visceral, immediate impact songs (that they used to call hit-singles, back in the day) like ‘Full Speed Or No Speed’ on the last album. It grab me as fast as EYES IN THE NIGHT, however, it’s still a fantastic work. There are well over a dozen bands called Striker but ARMED TO THE TEETH will make this the band that everyone thinks of when you hear the name Striker.