Striker - Armed to the Teeth (Napalm Records)

Pure, unadulterated metallic glory from Edmonton!
Release Date: 
27 Jul 2012 (All day)

 

Canada would appear to be the place to be, metal-wise, at the moment. What with the splendid Titan’s Eve, Anvil’s ever present classicism, an album from Cauldron on the horizon and this, the fantastic Armed to the Teeth from  Edmonton-based outfit Striker, Maple Leaf metallic mayhem is where It’s at, and you better believe it!

Operating in the area that MaF big cheese Scott Adams would label ‘proper’ heavy metal, Striker do indeed, as Rob Halford might have it, ‘take you back to the land of the Metal Gods’ with an album so well executed, and so authentic-sounding, you’d think it had been released in 1984 if you didn’t know better. Opener Forever is a classic ‘first track on a metal album’, busting your skull wide open and feasting on the warm, quivering mass within. Let it Burn rams the point down, a fast an’ furious speed hymn equipped with some magnificent axework from Ian Sendercock (stop sniggering) and Chris Segger. Til this point it’s been all heads-down-see-you-at-the-end stuff; next track Lethal Force drops the pace a little to become a mid paced Judas Priest/Armored Saint romp, pure classic metal at its best, right down to the amusing Accept-styled gang chant of the song’s title.

You need a decent singer to truly pull this stuff off of course – Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensryche et al could never have made the music they did (and still to some extent do, of course) with some sort of Karaoke jackass at the vocal helm, so it’s lucky that Striker singer Dan Cleary is a very capable throatsmith in his own right. He's got it all, and does something impressive vocally on every track, though the highlight for me is his consummate performance on the Seventh Son-ish romp All the Way.

To my ears the most refreshing thing about Striker is they don’t mess about. There are no attempts at prog-wankery here, no attempts to write 15 minute epics about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. All you get is lashings of short, to-the-point, melodic HEAVY METAL of the kind thst ruled the world in the mid eighties; Whatever Cleary’s singing about in the verses, you know you’re never far away from another fists-in-the-air chorus or another chance to get involved in some flamboyant air guitar action, and that makes Armed to the Teeth an incredibly compelling proposition as an album. If you grew up attending the old school, or simply enjoy a bit of a singalong with your daily headbang, you’ll not hear better this year! ALBUM OF THE YEAR ALERT...