BravePicks 2018 – STRIKER's Play To Win #4

December 27, 2018, 6 months ago

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BravePicks 2018 – STRIKER's Play To Win #4

Another gruelling year of heavy metal debauchery is almost over! Killing is our business ... and business is good! And this year the metal scene killed it with a myriad of heavy intrigue! So the votes are in and the compiling is complete! It's time to crown the winners and call out the the disappointments.

So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2018 each day in December! And our devout scribes killed it as well, putting their collective metal minds together to build the ultimate lists including individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), Top 3 Concerts, What/Who Needs To Stop In 2018? and Metal Predictions For 2019. All will be showcased come the New Year!

'Tis the season to commence the good, bad and ugly of 2018! On with the cream of this year's crop!

BravePicks 2018

4) STRIKER – Play To Win (Record Breaking)

No doubt the most pleasant surprise of the year. After a lackluster, paint-by-the-numbers album in 2017, the Canadian bashers Striker quickly returned with Play To Win, and what a breath of fresh air it was for these heavy metal maniacs. Taking some chances with their songwriting, Play To Win showcases a synth-back ballad “Standing Alone” and a track that could belong to an ‘80s movie (“Hands Of Time”). Nevertheless, there are scorchers like “Summoner”, the sleek “Heart Of Lies”, and the catchy “On The Run”. This album establishes Dan Cleary as one of the best metal vocalists of the past decade and if you’ve slept on these guys before, now is the time to jump aboard the Striker speed wagon. Play To Win is energetic, outstanding heavy metal that proudly wears their influences and rightfully earns its spot at #4.

“We wanted to try some new things with this album”, explains Tim Brown to BW scribe Nick Balazs in a feature. “We write a ton of music so it sort of gets boring to work on the same types of songs over and over and over. We felt as though we kind of reached the limit of what we could do with sort of those sounds that we'd been relying on like, and it was like well, let's try some new stuff and see what happens. I mean, we're huge fans of all kinds of bands that have those kinds of songs. I mean, if you look at bands like Metallica or Scorpions, Skid Row, whatever, their biggest songs are always the ballads. Metallica, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, just a monster song, a huge song. You have to be dynamic in your writing. You have to have the soft, you have to have the hard and have the heavy with the light. And so it's all about balance.”

“We’re stuck in a van for way too long (laughs), for thousands of hours and there's no better way to kill time by just putting on some tunes,” he says. We were on tour with Dark Tranquillity and for whatever reason on that tour we got super big into Toto. So there's a lot of those sort of influences on the album. But like I said, at the same time we're also listening to, you know, put on the Toto and then after the Toto is done put on some like super brutal death metal and just rock out to that. We wanted to have an album that sort of had a song from every kind of influence that we have, which is kind of hard to limit yourself, but try to make each song sort of unique.”

BravePicks 2018 Top 30

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4) STRIKER - Play To Win (Record Breaking)
5) GHOST - Prequelle (Loma Vista)
6) CORROSION OF CONFORMITY - No Cross No Crown (Nuclear Blast)
7) VOIVOD - The Wake (Century Media)
8) WARREL DANE - Shadow Work (Century Media)
9) SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS - Living The Dream (Snakepit / Roadrunner)
10) SLEEP - The Sciences (Third Man)
11) BULLET - Dust To Gold (Steamhammer / SPV)
12) DEAFHEAVEN - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (Anti-)
13) RIVERS OF NIHIL - Where Owls Know My Name (Metal Blade)
14) IMMORTAL - Northern Chaos Gods (Nuclear Blast)
15) BLOODBATH - The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn (Peaceville)
16) AMORPHIS - Queen Of Time (Nuclear Blast)
17) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Grimmest Hits (eOne)
18) IHSAHN – Ámr (Candlelight / Spinefarm)
19) THE DEAD DAISIES - Burn It Down (Spitfire / SPV)
20) MELIAH RAGE - Idol Hands (Metal On Metal)
21) ALICE IN CHAINS - Rainier Fog (BMG)
22) HIGH ON FIRE - Electric Messiah (eOne)
23) MAMMOTH GRINDER - Cosmic Crypt (Relapse)
24) ICARUS WITCH - Goodbye Cruel World (Cleopatra)
25) UNLEASHED - The Hunt For White Christ (Napalm)
26) SATAN - Cruel Magic (Metal Blade)
27) GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (Frontiers)
28) MONSTROSITY – The Passage Of Existence (Metal Blade)
29) GRUESOME – Twisted Prayers (Relapse)
30) DIMMU BORGIR - Eonian (Nuclear Blast)



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