Glam rock was, and still is, effectively the pinnacle of decadence and kitsch in our favorite genre. Much like the premise that everyone is entitled to an opinion is used to falsely conclude that everyone’s opinion ought to be taken seriously, glam rock is not a serious type of music but it can still be thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a big, loud, and fun spectacle, essentially fun pop music with loud guitars. It’s candy-coated escapism, and fortunately, unlike the bland preteen-oriented fiction of Harry Potter, grown adults don’t embarrass themselves by orienting their moral compass and judgments on the real world to its contents. Unlike the beer that goes so well with the sound, nowadays glam is enjoyed responsibly. With that preamble in mind, let’s tackle the highly anticipated (at least for me) new record from Canada’s Striker.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of these Albertans’ sound. It’s basically the best parts of the 80s glam scene roughed up a good bit (to refer to Steven Tyler’s famous thoughts on, the dudes no longer look like ladies) by the addition of modern heavy metal party rock like Holy Grail and their ilk. Striker’s sound is similar to a well-made cheap beer like Old Style Pilsner: perfectly agreeable, easy to swallow, easy to enjoy in large quantities, even better when inebriated, and palatable to a wide range of folks. Beer, like everything else, has calories and can satisfy thirst and even hunger. The question is, how many of these calories are fleeting and empty?

Striker, like City of Gold, begins with some strong hooks and tight performances. “Former Glory” sets a confident tone with its lyrics, leaves little if any room for improvement in its structure, and sees Dan Cleary delivering his Belladonna-ish vocals powerfully and fittingly. It’s a quintessential Striker song, and it rules because of it. “Born to Lose” apes Lemmy’s old mantra and mixes in some clear Motorhead influence into the verse, leading into one of the better singalong choruses Striker has written; this is a live staple in the making. “Over the Top” adds more heaviness than normal to the proceedings, and exploits this fully with a tremendous lead and a rough-edged arena rock chorus that’s unfairly catchy.

Despite all of the above praise, I just can’t bring myself to like Striker nearly as much as City of Gold. “Pass Me By” gets heavier than anything off that record, but it loses a lot of that big grin that made City so palatable. “Cheating Death” is an interlude that adds nothing to the record. “Freedom’s Call” is a good enough song, but it never fires on all cylinders; the verse is okay, the chorus is short of the mark and falls flat, and the solo is competent but unmemorable. “Curse of the Dead” sounds like an inferior knockoff of City of Gold’s excellent “Crossroads” in too many spots, and while it’s still an enjoyable track it’s irritating because Striker is, as they’ve shown before, better than this.

What’s difficult about this record, and why it took me so long to hand my almost too forgiving bosses here my final draft of this review, is that all of the elements are here: the band sounds essentially the same with a few minor tweaks, the production is polished, convincing, and thick like their last rodeo, the songs are structured well yet familiarly, and Cleary is still a great frontman. And yet, something is a wee bit off. Striker is neither as fun nor engaging as City of Gold, and there were times when I found myself wanting to just spin that record before this one ended. At the same time, I don’t dislike Striker; there’s quality material here, and the band hasn’t lost their creative spark. Off-days and minor setbacks fortunately aren’t the end, and Striker is still a fresh and hugely entertaining force in the arena-ready metal world. I was hoping for a homerun, but Striker hit a single with a bit of fanfare; safe, but not as exciting as it should’ve been.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Record Breaking Records
Websites: striker-metal.com | facebook.com/strikermetal
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2015

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  • Paul VH

    Not Stryper or Stryker……but rather Striker……

    • sir_c

      exactly my thoughts!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      It certainly is no Stinker.

  • herrschobel

    well..the cover would make a great label on a bottle of beer

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      The name of the beer? Satanic Doctor Feelgood.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Nice job, Dia. Do you mind if I call you Dia? Mirrors my thoughts quite a bit, more empty calories than was really necessary. Good fun, though.

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    Oof, even the band photo is boring and lazy. No unicorns for you!

  • gus rodrigues

    good review, but this band is not my pint of beer, if you get my draft…

  • Eryops

    Clicking a link to a glam metal review makes me thing that this stupid manbun RotM on the sides is going to be the ‘hair metal’ of the ’10s. GET THAT FUCKING FEBRUARY RotM DONE, KIDS!

  • robpal

    With a bit of embarassment I have to admit that… I really like this album. It’s just shamelessly catchy and optimistic.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s good! The band have just done better before though. More of a clumsy lateral step; they’re definitely not on a real decline, in my opinion.

  • Bortman Begins

    Did you hear last year’s Stand in the Fire? This album feels like a bit of a rushed afterthought in comparison.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Yes to both. I’d written about City of Gold here, so I figured that was a good reference point for the review.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    File under 80’s Party Metal.

  • contenderizer

    Takes big balls to call a song “Born to Lose” at this point. Nothing here to trouble Ted Daffan or The Heartbreakers tho.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Good ol’ Born to Lose. A well-used song title. While I think of Black Sabbath, I’m partial to the Social Distortion song, despite the pedestrian lyrics.

  • defjam

    I love this band.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    How dare you call Vitamin P cheap! I’ll have you know, good sir, it was the beer that Her Majesty chugged when she went out for wing night during her last provincial visit.

  • CarvedInStone

    Striker is Glam Rock? What the hell are you smoking and can I have some? When I thin Glam Rock or Modern Hair Metal or Party Rock or whatever you want to call it I think of bands like Steel Panther or Swedish bands such as Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstar or Crazy Lixx. Stuff like this or Holy Grail or Momentum I file under the category Neo Traditional Metal.

  • WIRED_Metal

    i’m old enough to have bought an album like this when glam / hair metal was new… this fills me with nostalgia…

  • Gloomer88

    only 1 listen, it does fall a bit short maybe because their last three outings were amazing, its back in the glove box, might pull it out when Pain of Salvation stops getting so good!

  • Tofu muncher

    Am listening this one, while awaiting you guys reviewing Blaze Bayley’s Endure and Survive.