Striker- Armed to the Teeth

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, January 13, 2013

It can be hard for younger speed/heavy metal bands to gain recognition these days, especially since many of the big names in the genre are still active. But considering that a lot of the originators will someday have to hang things up and the younger acts will continue in their absence. This is where acts like Striker come in, as the Canadian group released their sophomore effort Armed to the Teeth last summer and it’s full of killer riffs that shows these guys understand what makes this style so enjoyable.

The instrumentalists waste little time in establishing their hooks, as the opening song “Forever” starts off at full speed and throws out some killer riffs almost immediately. Armed to the Teeth has a nice balance between pure speed and energy and slower sections that up the grooves, and the album is able to consistently vary the tempos and riffs so that it doesn’t feel like Striker is merely repeating themselves from one moment to the next. Stylistically there’s a lot of Judas Priest influence evident throughout these tracks, but there’s also traces of some of Canada’s influential metal acts like Exciter present. It’s the type of album that should instantly feel familiar to fans of old school heavy metal, but the group does it with songwriting that is focused around guitar leads that instantly hook you and the album is able to do this on almost every single track. The production values are also top notch, giving Striker a sound that’s a nice balance between modern and traditional.

Lead singer Dan Cleary has the type of pitch that is perfectly suited for heavy metal as he starts off with a slightly lower, aggressive style and soars into much higher ranges. A lot of younger bands run into issues with their singers when this occurs, as there are just too many vocalists that try to hit ranges higher than they are capable of but Cleary hits them with relative ease and gives a versatile performance throughout the course of Armed to the Teeth. The lyrical content offers exactly what you’d expect from this genre, and song titles such as “Feed the Fire” and “Lethal Force” should clue you in to exactly what Striker has to offer. It may be a bit cheesy, but there’s no denying that the chorus lines are often quite catchy and get stuck in your head.

Quite often newer heavy/speed metal bands either falter in their ability to write consistently engaging songs from beginning to end or have vocalists that aren’t capable of the singing range they are being asked to do but Striker is able to succeed in both of these areas. Armed to the Teeth has great riffs and a very capable vocalist, and this makes it a worthy endeavor for fans of the style. If the group can continue to maintain this level of energy and strong songwriting in the future they look to be one of the more promising young acts that will be able to keep the spirit of this genre going strong.

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