We’ll jump straight into the fire and say traditional heavy metal trailblazers Striker have upped the ante on album number 4, scoring a massive hit rate with 11 tracks of blazing heavy metal beamed in directly from the decade that chrystallised metal’s core sound; the 80’s. In fact, Striker traverse every metal sound the 80’s had to offer with wild abandonment and apparent ease; straightforward Priest and Maiden worship nestling nicely next to the beefy pop-metal of Warrant with a bit of thrash quite literally “Locked In” here and there.
As energetic as an 80’s Jane Fonda aerobics video (though not quite so pretty), Stand In The Fire finds Striker ridiculously focused on riffing your tits off and unleashing huge, huge choruses. More importantly they’re backed up by some precision musicianship that’s served perfectly on the instrumental “Escape From Shred City” (how’s that for a song title!) that matches the meaty likes of Metal Church’s “Merciless Onslaught” and Anvil’s “March Of The Crabs”.
Striker are also brave, very brave. Ihsahn and Shining’s Jørgen Munkeby aside, we can’t remember the last time a ‘metal’ band incorporated a saxophone so brazenly as Striker do on “Out For Blood” and somehow they pull it off; the sax solo’s matching the raw energy of the guitar solo’s in the craziest multi-instrumental tag-team event of the year so far.
Deftly balancing all-out power blasts of hyper-speed riffing with borderline, radio-friendly, metal ballads, Stand In The Fire technically has it all. A nostalgic trip through the core of the 80’s metal scene – be that hair metal or thrash metal and everything else in between – Stand In The Fire is the equal of 2014’s priceless City Of Gold and cements Striker’s standing as the leading band of the new wave of traditional heavy metal scene! 9/10