Striker - Play To Win

Striker - Play To Win

Striker - Play To Win

(CD, Record Breaking Records, 2018)

STRIKER have become a consistent band releasing albums in a yearly basis, but this has not affected the quality, because sometimes quantity does not see eye to eye with quality. “Play To Win” is the band’s sixth studio album and if you spend a couple of minutes observing the cover artwork and notice its color palette, you should be able to understand that there is boatload of '80s nostalgia infused in the ten tracks. No, I am not saying that STRIKER have gone on the reviving-old-stuff wagon, because to me, it seems these Canadians are just playing by their influences.

Even though the riff in the beginning of “Heart Of Lies” will fool you that Thrash will be on the menu, the Hard Rock groove will show you the right way to follow. STRIKER have a strong sense of melody with the vocals lines being the tip of the spear, delivering some ‘have-to-sing-along’ lines. Still, this is a powerful album opener that may as well be the odd one out and I will explain myself soon. The guitar duo has a deep knowledge of how to write classic-sounding double harmonies, setting a strong footing on traditional Heavy Metal. On top of this, this album was released in October of 2018 but the summer season would have been more appropriate. You see, there is this night-drive atmosphere all around that shows its face in “Position Of Power” with the fist-pumping groove and the catchy backing vocals. There is this inescapable almost Glam Metal backbone that, for me, makes this so appealing and so sticky. This is exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the color palette in the album’s cover artwork. Again, I feel the need to repeat myself that what makes this a ‘spin-a-lot album’ is that it sounds genuine and honest. Oh my, check the funk-y rhythm guitar action in “Head Fist”, the killer vibrato and the once again sing-along chorus. Having entered the mid-40s age-range this type of Metal resonates with my listening-roots and this is why I am using the word ‘nostalgia’ when talking about “Play To Win”. However, this does not mean that this is an ‘adults-only’ album but that it’s a great representation of how awesome music can sound, if the focus is on great melodies and catchy choruses.

STRIKER have drawn some inspiration from JUDAS PRIEST’s “Turbo” era as heard through the rhythm guitars in “The Front” before diving headfirst into the '80s through some Synthwave-sounding keyboards in the mid-tempo “Standing Alone”. That’s right; STRIKER have searched deep into their cassette collection and have put together another killer tune.  Daniel Cleary has the right set of pipes to handle the vocals, changing his pitch at ease, without losing anything from his vocal power and at the same time bringing so much emotion. In the same vein and a little bit on the softer side, stands “Hands Of Time” that gave me a UGLY KID JOE taste, with the smooth vocals, the keys and the relaxed funky rhythm.

“Play To Win” does not have any filler songs, with every track having something different to offer. The general vintage atmosphere breathes through the guitars and gets flesh and bones via the awesome vocal melodies and choruses that, I am sure, will sound even better in concert. Of course this album sounds better on vinyl - you shouldn't have any doubts about that.





01. Heart Of Lies
02. Position Of Power
03. Head First
04. On The Run
05. The Front
06. Play To Win
07. Standing Alone
08. Summoner
09. Heavy Is The Heart
10. Hands Of Time


Chris Segger - Guitar
Daniel Cleary - Vocals
Tim Brown - Guitar
William Wallace - Bass