STRIKER - Ultrapower
February 2, 2024, 4 weeks ago
Longtime fan here of these Edmonton Canadians, one of the first from the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal in 2010 with their debut (preceded by an EP and demo), Ultrapower is now their seventh album.
Six years since the excellent Play To Win, got to be honest this new album had me worried based on the Dragonforce like title and ‘80s throwback clothing choice and change from the denim and leather. But, single "Circle Of Evil" did not fail, fast heavy riff driven, yet as always melodic with a catchy hook. Singer Dan Cleary the lone original member has a distinct voice and strong delivery, the big backing vocals add to the power packed chorus, see "Best Of The Best". Striker at the start were more speed metal, but even in 2014 and the third album City Of Gold they knew the importance of the melody without compromising the heavy metal. A little saxaphone (see the video) and keyboard melodies compliments "Give It All", and both work. Very ‘80s movie soundtrack.
Sounds like a couple cowboys are ready for a showdown in the intro of "Black Magic" but then it quickly switches to a punchy rhythm and drums driving the tempo in a juxtaposition. Wow, is this one fast and frantic. "Sucks To Suck", (to me) not one of the better ones on the album, but yeah it's as fun as it sounds with big vocals.
A mid-pace and guitar leads focus "Ready For Anything" and blast of double bass, with a few retro "hey" found in the AOR "City Calling". Eighth song, "Turn The Lights Out" a return to more aggressive delivery and chorus, old school Striker. Bass takes the lead in the verses for "Thunderdome" seeing more of Cleary's range with a slight grittier tone. And we are back to the ‘80s as "Live To Fight Another Day" synthy keys, guitars drop out in the verse, and big singable chorus. Love how the arrangement swells before the solo and should be a single. "Brawl At The Pub" closes the album reinforcing the album's title that Striker means business.
If you liked the last three albums (as much as I did), Ultrapower will equally satisfy. I know this one will be in my top 10 albums of the year. And why hasn't Striker been opening for the likes of Maiden, Priest, Metallica, etc. the last eight-ish years??