These Canadian traditional metallers have been busy of late. With last year’s Stand In The Fire still garnering repeat plays with its modern speed metal sensibilities it’s heartening to see Striker refusing to rest on their laurels and a new album is already upon us!
With Striker’s profile steadily rising over the last few years an inevitably familiar situation has arise; how do they reach the next level? Sadly, the answer is just as inevitable…..with a softening of sound.
While Striker have never shied away from a commercialised sheen there was always some edge to their sound, a little darkness, a little danger. Well, no longer. With as close to a pop metal sound as you can get, the likes of “Born Too Lose” and “Rock The Night” reek of the 80’s and lack the intensity of old. That being said, the riffing strikes harder and faster on “Pass Me By” and “Over The Top”, providing the thrills we’d previously become accustomed to. Yes, the choruses are suitably huge and performances are damn near exemplary but the hair metal nostalgia act is a little too cliched and a little too trite to linger long in the memory.
There is, of course, nuthin’ wrong with a little fun in metal. However, Striker seem to have lost the delicate balance between fun and ferocity they had previously exhibited and the high points are now less effective due to their relatively bland and safe surroundings.
Less speed metal and more hair metal, Striker is a step back from the onslaught that was 2016’s Stand In The Fire but, at times, it’s still a damn fine slab of traditional heavy metal nonetheless!
Just a bit more bite next time, eh lads! 6/10