Striker - Striker review
|Release date:||February 2017|
01. Former Glory
02. Pass Me By
03. Born To Lose
04. Cheating Death
05. Shadows In The Light
06. Rock The Night
07. Over The Top
08. Freedom's Call
09. Curse Of The Dead
The opening track of Striker's self-titled fifth album tells of a return to former glory, that of the band or the vocalist or the same ambiguous subject of every metal song sung in the first person for no particular reason. Striker might struggle harder against the bonds of mediocrity than did Stand In The Fire, but to the extent Striker ever possessed anything so magnificent as "glory," this album hardly represents a return to it. Rather, the opposite.
Striker has always been merely one more in a long succession of "classic metal" revivalist bands that have made names for themselves by reminding people of what the '80s were like before they died out (and often why they died out). Blending the dredged-up ruins of the deceased speed metal genre with the cliché, hooky choruses of glam, occasionally with some angry thrash-style chugging (borrowed from fellow revivalists more than the originators), bands like Striker thrive on nostalgia and the novelty of dressing up songs written 30-40 years ago with faster drum fills, chunkier guitars, flashier solos, and more flattering production. I have been able to enjoy a few Striker songs here and there, for they, too, are capable of stumbling upon a lick that really sinks into my brain (or, more accurately, filming an amusing music video that acclimatizes me to the store-bought material soundtracking it through repeated viewing), but most of these airy, layered choruses are living out second or third lives. For the most part, Striker has nothing to offer but a hot-rocking image and a party-hearty philosophy, with music as an afterthought - melodies and riffs that were written to solve the problem of "how do we get from point A to point B?" and not out of any divine inspiration.
"Shadows In The Light" kicks off with such a thin, fragile bass sound that the 2010s Anthrax heavy/thrash muscling in afterwards has to pull damage control on top of continuing the crescendo, and there just isn't enough riff in those three chords to cover all the bases. "Over The Top" embraces a more modern sound, finally ditching the sing-along glam chords for something a little more musically adventurous, but in an instant, the momentum shatters with an afterthought of a chorus that forgets the song's direction. Striker may not be what I'd call the epitome of average, since it does at least pick up speed in more places than Stand In The Fire, and guiltier albums than this have already been released in the last few months, but I find it difficult to express any more glowing sentiments about the album; Striker is a band of considerable talent, but all too often that talent seems content to confine itself to roads traveled a thousand times before.
This sound was old before any of the members of Striker were born, and writing increasingly lifeless material does little to dissuade me from ignoring them. I referred to the band's style as "revivalist" earlier in this review, and no doubt you'll hear a lot of other people describe Striker and countless similar bands in the same terms, but that isn't really an accurate term. Striker haven't revived anything. The style is as dead as it has ever been, because none of these bands has advanced it; nobody has capitalized on the evolution music has undergone since the '80s. It's not revivalist if you're copying the same old tropes and customs that caused the genre to grow stale in the first place. Thrash suffers from the same problem as its more melodic cousin, embodied by Striker. This album is a return to somebody's "former glory," but it doesn't belong to Striker, and it doesn't belong here.
||Written on 16.03.2017 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.|
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