|Striker - Road Warrior [EP]
01. Road Warrior
02. Lord Of The Sword
04. Dark Heart of the City
05. The Keg That Crushed New York [bonus]
06. You'll Wish that You Were Never Born [Grim Reaper cover] [vinyl only]
The revival of retro Eighties thrash has been well documented over the last couple of years. But what seems to go on unnoticed and what is almost as big, or maybe even bigger, a revival is that of "true" Eighties heavy metal, with such bands as R.A.M., Enforcer, Portrait, Atlantean Kodex, Dark Forest [UK], Scarab [UK] (although formed way way back in the early Eighties), Asomvel, Cauldron etc. And now we can add Cauldron's fellow countrymen Striker as well.
Striker's Road Warrior debut EP is brought to us by high quality German label Iron Kodex (of Procession, Portrait, Atalantean Kodex, The Gates Of Slumber vinyl, Slough Feg vinyl, Solstice vinyl fame). Anyone familiar with the label (and, since I just stated a bit of their roster, also those not familiar with the label) can safely purchase Road Warrior for it is another classy release.
The fist thing that one notices when picking up Striker's EP is its quintessential Eighties cover artwork, a kitschy cliché-ridden affair of a leather clad, cigar smoking, sunglass touting, motorcycle riding, metalhead being chased by zombies in a post-apocalyptic metropolitan setting. This, of course, bodes well for anyone into retro Eighties metal.
And boy these Canadians don't upset at all cause that's exactly what we get from the first notes of 'Road Warrior' to the last of 'The Keg That Crushed New York' (on the limited to 525 vinyl version of the EP proceedings are ended with a blistering cover of Grim Reaper's 'You'll Wish That You Were Never Born'). The first four song, 'Road Warrior', 'Lord Of The Sword', 'Fire', 'Dark Heart Of The City' have all been taken off their 2008 demo, so leaving the Municipal Waste/Troma Entertainment-inspired-titled 'The Keg That Crushed New York' as the sole new song.
Although one might expect retro Thrash on Striker's offering one is served with a deleicious offering of 'true'Eighties metal. A nix mouth watering mix of early speed metal and NWOBHM. So think a mix of early Helloween, Angel Dust, Restless & Wild-era Accept, Iron Maiden, Jaguar, eighties Loudness, a pinch of Judas Priest and you'll get pretty damn close to Striker. So, highly melodic heavy metal songs riddled with loads of guitar solos, sometimes single sometimes twin, vocals that swoop like an eagle from low to Udo Dirkschneider and Rob Halford highs. Just when thing tend to get a bit samey in the build-up of the songs 'Dark Heart Of The City' starts with an acoustic intro I am sure I have heard before before blasting off with a high shriek into the song proper. After a short but breathtaking 18 minutes new song 'The Keg That Crushed New York' ends the proceedings. 'The Keg' is characterized by its almost thrash-like speed and by its lyrics which could have been taken out of the Municipal Waste book of partying and a break that could have been written by early Sacred Reich. Unfortunately it all comes to an end after 22 minutes. Damn shame the Grim Reaper cover isn't included on the CD or else we would have had a couple of more minutes of fun on our hands.
So, all in all, if you're into 'true' Eighties metal (be it NWOBHM, speed metal, early thrash) then be sure to pick up this little ditty. You can't go wrong. I for one am really looking forward to the debut full-length of Striker and the next couple of releases by Iron Kodex, which are Dark Forest [UK]'s Defender single/EP and Rezet's debut full-length.