Striker - Eyes in the night (2010) - Speedy thrash metal with a feel good vibe - 74% (28/05/14)
“Eyes In The Night” is the first regular studio record by the young Canadian speed metal outfit Striker. This release is a continuation of the previous EP “Road Warrior” and presents us an energizing, honest and powerful homage to the glorious eighties with bands like Annihilator, Crimson Glory, Grim Reaper and so on. A track like the melodic heavy metal anthem “Never Ending Nights” could come straight from one of those bands that haven’t written this kind of energizing tracks for quite a while.
This record also portrays an unconventional desire for fun and freedom in the music and lyrics. It also has a very positive and sometimes almost happy vibe to it. “We Don’t Play By Rules” perfectly portrays the spirit of the young band from Edmonton in its lyrics and its vivid mid to up tempo musicianship somewhere between tight heavy and controlled speed metal. Especially the unconventional and straight vocals including powerful screams and shouts happen to sound quite gripping. The energizing and a little bit over the top thrash and speed metal outburst “Terrorizer” also sounds much more positive than its song title. The furious song starts with low guitar riffs and a slightly menacing dark sound but the epic chorus with its grounded vocals shifts back to traditional fist-pumping heavy metal. This kind of music was created to be played live. I had the chance to see these guys in concert and think that their formula works much better on stage than on a studio record. If this band ever released a live album, this would be the record you couldn't get around if you like the genre.
In general, Striker shifts more and more away from its speed metal debut and heads for a more heavy metal infused sound. A fitting example is the very melodic "Never Ending Nights" that almost starts as a hard rock half-ballad before it gets a nostalgic New Wave of British Heavy Metal tone in the key of bands like Bronz and convinces with one amazing guitar solo after the other. The even more classic "Believe In Me" has a riffing that could also work in a Judas Priest song of the early eighties. The signature riff openings of "The Voice Of Rock" and "Hang On" remind me of slightly sped up versions of several German heavy metal legends like Accept or Grave Digger which aren't the worst references either. These songs really show a certain kind of nostalgic evolution between Striker's first EP and its first full length release.
There are still a couple of fillers on here and the band certainly copies its idols a little bit too much here and there but this fun ride of an album is a must have for nostalgic heavy and speed metal fans. Among many recent releases by revival bands influenced by the metal scene of the eighties, Striker stands out because the band members really know how to infuse their music with joyous emotions. The sympathetic band manages to sound different on its first album in comparison to the initial EP which proves that this band is able to move on and stay hungry instead of getting too easily stuck in the past.
Originally written for The Metal Observer« Nerve - Fracture (2013) - A growing firework of extreme metal diversity - 78% (28/05/14)Back to R'Lyeh - The Awakening / Last Fight of the Primordial (2013) - Sophisticated potpourri under a Lovecraftian flag - 86% (29/05/14) »
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