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Striker - Play To Win Award winner

Play To Win
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 11 October 2018, 1:41 AM

It was totally obvious, I knew where I was treading, and it stuck to my shoe. Well, not exactly my shoe, I wanted it high level metaphor as you read this. Nothing made me happier and cheery than hearing that the Canadian Metallers, STRIKER, will be releasing a brand new album. That was months ago, and I have to admit I missed the single. However, when I got the chance to crack open the entire album, I probably needed a bomb shelter. Coming in hot and straight from the 80s, an era that these guys didn’t experience physically but only spiritually, I give you “Play To Win”, released via the band’s own label Record Breaking Records.

While somewhat leaving a bit of their toughened attitude behind, yet still with enough to have your skull as a main course, the 2017’s Juno nominees took a position of power with a smashing effort to keep you tangled in their reins. Keeping it constant with delivering 80s Heavy Metal material, “Play To Win” is a product of a good use of the old Metal flame dancing in the ruins along with sharpened spikes of the Hard N’ Heavy nation. IRON MAIDEN meets WARRANT, HELLOWEEN meets MOTLEY CRUE, JUDAS PRIEST meets DOKKEN, letting these gods roll together in a circle pit and you have yourself a gigantic party of melodic, and punishing on several occasions, Heavy Metal. When it comes to STRIKER, quality is a big time deal, there is no less than excellent, period, and you might guess that they didn’t go astray with this one too.

Putting aside the rhythm guitar riffs that are my world, my likable edge of pure heaviness that is bone breaking but with a lot of heart, STRIKER made it happen on “Play To Win” with their melodic lead guitar directive, chopping shred soloing and a vocal production that is solid gold.  Some of the C parts around this record are tear droppers, while several of the soloing showcases made my ears quiver. As far as the vocals go, of course that front man Dan Cleary is an inspiration, added by a powerful production of backing vocals, it is fuel to the fire no less.

What can you expect from an 80s Heavy Metal driven album? Formulaic songs, however, it all depends how the job is done. Like in every musical piece. Being added an electric charge to the classic era, “Play To Win” cruised to a swift victory of plenty of other bands that took the 80s as mother and father. Therefore, there is the classic songwriting style that made hits back in the day, yet with a fistful of diversity to keep you under the turf. My guilty pleasures are the opening basher “Heart of Lies”, sweetly melodic “On The Run”, the self-titled hitter “Play To Win” and the heart touching floater “Heavy Is The Heart”, because one’s got to give something for a healthy blood pumper. Easily I can feed you with “Position of Power”, “Head First” and “Standing Alone”.

The Swedes, earlier one, taught us Metalheads to appreciate once again the glory of Hair Metal, don’t laugh because essentially there was, but STRIKER are one of these examples that used the recognition and rightfully attributed it to their Heavy Metal thunder. Eventually setting it off as a weapon of mass combustion, and there you have “Play To Win”.

On a personal note, I have been tracking the band since their “Road Warrior” EP, bearing witness to a growing monster of Metal that without a doubt developed amazingly well. The words here guys just spewed from my burning mind, I know good quality when I hear one. Do yourself a favor and grab this record fast.

4 Star Rating

1. Heart of Lies
2. Position of Power
3. Head First
4. On The Run
5. The Front
6. Play To Win
7. Standing Alone
8. Summoner
9. Heavy Is The Heart
10. Hands of Time
Dan Cleary - Lead Vocals
Tim Brown- Lead / Rhythm Guitar
Chris Segger - Lead / Rhythm Guitar
William Wallace - Bass
Adam Brown - Drums
Record Label: Record Breaking Records


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Edited 05 December 2019

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