The coveted arrival of Striker’s fourth studio album, Stand In the Fire is finally upon us. Friday February, 5th, 2016 is when you can get your hands on the bands most recent works. Through the years, the group has reflected different stylings of playing between the thrash metal and speed/hair metal genres but have always stayed true to the unique sound that is Striker. Within Stand In The Fire (2016) you get a taste of everything that Striker has been, who they are now, and who they’re going to be.
Getting a chance recently, to see some of these new tunes performed live, totally heightened my appreciation for Striker, Stand In The Fire (2016) and the artists behind the music. Singer, Dan Cleary is so consistent throughout the album and his vocal contribution to Striker’s sound is detrimental to what made this record come out the way it did, giving it the signature sound found within past efforts from the group.
There are very few, in his generation and within the genre that do it quite like he does and at various parts in the album his howl made my neck hair stand up on end. At moments through the record, there is a feel that Cleary’s vocals give; noted in the track United, it almost gives you a sense of being in the eye of a storm; with all of the instruments wailing around him but hearing him so clearly and his voice being so natural. Never actually being in an eye of a storm, I can only speculate this is similar – just without the immanent danger. It’s a phenomena hard to put into words, and best left to be felt while listening to the song.
Musically this group of guys have taken their talents and mastered them. Tim Brown has an arsenal of riffs, and licks, and spared no expense when it came to his role on guitar for Stand In The Fire (2016). His playing brings that element of surprise to the album with breakneck speed and an intricate styling. It leaves you guessing what is coming up next and then always wanting more. Escape From Shred City, a three minute instrumental showcases the talents of the band musically and even includes a great guest solo from guitarist of Cannabis Corpse, Brandon Ellis. The guitars are super dominant on the album and packed with so much energy, it’s almost impossible not to air guitar and throw your head around.
Behind the kit on the album was well known past Primal Fear drummer, Randy Black. Member Adam Brown was unable to do the recordings for the band’s most recent album but is touring with the band again in the live line-up. Black was able to capture the essence of Striker and provided the perfect ground work for the band to feed and play off of. He keeps the work fun and full of life, and does well to give that heart thumping pace listeners are accustomed to when listening to a Striker record.
Out For Blood, the second song of the collection had to be the one that stood out to me most. The chorus, “You know this time, that it’s personal…” grabbed me right way and the next time it came around I was ready to belt along with the song. Out For Blood also showcases every element of the group so well, and I would call this my personal favourite from Stand In The Fire (2016). What was hard to miss on the album is the quality of each track as Striker once again worked Frederik Nordström who produced the most recent effort.
What I dug most about Stand In The Fire (2016) is the fact that the band used their past influences and combined them in a way that reflects a perfect balance between some of their more thrashy sounding material, and their more speed metal inspirations. Striker works well to ensure the contrast is dead on, therefore not giving a feel of drastic change throughout the album. There are some slower moments but they allow the band to show depth within their writing and show diversity through their sound, also including some heavier moments. Stand In The Fire (2016) is unique, technical, fast, and sentimental and every key element needed in a great metal album was met. If this is the kind of music 2016 has in store for us, then this is going to be a fucking great year. Be sure to pick up your copy of Stand In The Fire tomorrow February 5th, 2016 because this is one you’ll hate to miss.