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City Of Gold

Napalm (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Canadian rockers Striker are very much part of the classic metal revival trip, first making waves in 2010 with their debut Eyes In The Night, followed by 2012’s Armed To The Teeth. Prolific as ever, the quintet are now back with a new slab of molten metal.

For this platter we have a new bassist in William Wallace and as of 2013 a recent acquisition with guitarist Tim Brown, who joins fellow axeman Chris Segger, vocalist Dan Cleary and drummer Adam Brown for another supercharged effort of solid power metal.

Those of you who are regular readers of my reviews will know that I’m not the biggest fan of bands trying to bring the 80s back – it’s become too clichéd – but with Striker there is such an energy and fury about their sound that one cannot help but bow down and worship. These guys have the talent and know-how to do things right when it comes to bringing traditional metal to the modern era, so while the tracks have a no frills quality they are bolstered by fiery dynamics and the excellent vocal delivery of Dan Cleary, who has a set of pipes that many a frontman would kill for.

Marrying the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with a European flavour, Striker’s third instalment displays a maturity not present on the first two records. This time around the songs are stronger both musically and lyrically; still combining classic metal influences such as Iron Maiden, but taking on a far more powerful and, dare I say it, thrashier elements hinting at Helloween and even Annihilator at times.

Of course, there’s such a versatility within Strikers repertoire. For instance, ‘Crossroads’ is a downright thrash assault on the senses with its blazing guitar sound and rampaging drums, and yet with ‘Bad Decisions’ we have an almost hair metal-styled chant. Elsewhere, there is further fury with the title track which is pure power metal to the extreme, and then we have the galloping metallic subtlety of ‘Start Again’ and the hyper ‘Second Attack’, which in turn is contrasted by the big melodies of ‘All I Want’.

It’s clear that with Striker we have a band that are able to push all the right buttons and pull the correct amount of punches too; each one lands with great effect from the blazing guitar work, through to the barrage of bass and drums which collide behind that excellent vocal display. This is modern, yet retro metal combined, adding extra gleam to today’s climate, but refusing to be polished to a blinding glint. Striker still harbours that nostalgic steel to slay dragons at a swipe.

Neil Arnold

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