Striker - Armed To The Teeth (2012) - Firing improved heavy metal hits at full speed - 88% (26/05/14)
Striker's second full length record "Armed to the Teeth" is a decent step forward for the five young guys from Edmonton in Canada. This new record shifts a little bit away from American power and speed metal and covers a more heavy metal orientated approach. One can clearly hear more European influences from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or also from the central European heavy and power metal scene of the mid 80s. Bands like Annihilator still shape the band's sound but one might now also cite legends like Accept, Dokken, Gamma Ray, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and sometimes even hard rock bands like AC/DC. Those who might think that the band covers too many genres and might sound directionless are wrong. The band has kept all its trademarks from the previous efforts and the band's attitude and their unconventional lyrics haven't changed for a bit. They only opened up their minds to a few more influences and sound even more passionate.
Instrumentally, the five young men have improved their skills and sound more mature but never boring and have still a lot of fire that burns in them. Old fans should adore this record but I'm sure that this release might get Striker more than just a couple of new fans as this release is more versatile and accessible than anything these guys have done before.
It's not easy to point out highlights on here because there is no stinker on the album and each track has that great unconventional attitude plus a talented and passionate musicianship that harmonize so well. The short and perfectly executed opener "Forever" is already the first living proof of the band's positive development and has a quite intriguing instrumental work.
In over 43 minutes, the band employs first of all some cool hard rock anthems with rebellious lyrics and an unconventional attitude as in the leading single "Let It Burn" that has also been honoured with a video clip that represents the spirit of the band very well. The bonus track "Poisoned Mind" is a little bit more heavy metal orientated and quite a fun ride. If you can get your hands on the edition with that bonus track, you should definitely do so. We can also hear more and more melodic and technically appealing heavy metal songs as in the beautiful "Fight For Your Life." As a third point, the band also offers a few slightly progressive surprises as in the imaginative "Land Of The Lost" that features more atmospheric moments and small sound experiments with the guitars than before.
A few other songs remain close to the speed metal origins of the band and should please to the older fans. The amazing up tempo banger "Wolf Gang" mixes pure energy with a few imaginative parts on form of a strong bass guitar play and a few sound effects in the middle part when one can hear a few wolves howling. "Can't Stop The Rush" incarnates an even better mixture of Traditional heavy metal and energizing speed metal and this perfect album closer is even crowned by a very anthem orientated chorus you won't forget anytime soon.
In the end, this record shows a more melodic, progressive and especially technically appealing version of the five Canadian guys from Edmonton. The band has kept its rebellious lyrics, its speed metal moments and its unconventional party attitude but they added a more versatile song writing to the formula. This brand new ingredient makes the main menu even tastier. The band is "Armed to the Teeth" with catchy, diversified and powerful heavy metal anthems that don't only kill it on stage but that also easily lead to the best studio record by Striker so far. If you didn't have this outstanding 80s metal revival band on the radar yet you now should have without the glimpse of a doubt.
Originally written for The Metal Observer« Psychotrain - Crossing The Threshold Of Hell (2010) - Thrash metal attitude with unique vocals - 78% (26/05/14)Gabriels - Prophecy (2013) - This conceptual release comes a decade too late - 61% (26/05/14) »
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