Released: 2016, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I don’t remember how or why I got turned on to Striker and their latest release STAND IN THE FIRE. 80’s nostalgia metal that’s a little tongue in cheek and totally over the top; it’s usually the kind of thing I steer clear of. But dammitall if it’s not a totally fun and infectious slab of classic metal worship.
Songs about alien encounters (“Phoenix Lights”), songs about sticking to your beliefs (“Stand in the Fire”), songs about being a renegade (“Outlaw”) and an obligatory power ballad single (“Too Late”) are all delivered with stone faced conviction and an impressive degree of musical prowess. The vocals soar almost as high as the wammy bar solos, and the guitar runs are always tasteful and slick. I imagine that the exceptional “Out For Blood” is the soundtrack to a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie that was never made. A disgraced cop is out for revenge against those who’ve wronged him, complete with a saxophone lick and the catchiest chorus I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve caught myself singing “You know this time that it’s personal…” For a tune like that to have an impact on a cynical old grouch like myself, it must be something special.
STAND IN THE FIRE burns hot and fast, losing a little bit of steam towards the end of the record. But it’s like powering through a case of beer on a Saturday night; you don’t remember as much about the last six as you do about the first six, but you know you had a great time the whole way through. You power metal types can all shame me for not being on board with Striker before now, but better late than never, right? STAND IN THE FIRE is totally the album you want blaring through your car speakers while racing your Camaro down the highway, it’s the album you want to pre-game to while you’re in the parking lot waiting for the Priest show to start, it’s the album that reminds you that metal can be fun and doesn’t always have to be grizzled and gnarly. Great stuff.