Striker are a complete powerhouse coming out of Edmonton Canada. They are a band who have been around for over a decade and have a number of releases under their belt. They’ve also been an established staple upon the international metal scene for some time, for those in the know, however, their latest album Play to Win really takes them to the next level. The new album is full of the band’s hallmark melody, riffage and powerful melodies, but this time around they are offering material that is very mature and it has a real timelessness about it. A timelessness that seems to make this album an instant classic.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with the band to discuss the album and exactly where the band are at in 2018.
The new album Play To Win has an amazingly clear and powerful production, can you talk us through this?
“We recorded, edited, and produced everything ourselves and sent it out to get mixed/mastered by Henrik Udd. We really wanted a super modern mix so we just kept working on it until it was exactly what we wanted. Working at our home studio really allowed us to tweak until something was perfect. We really focused on getting the tightest performances we could, then we let Henrik put it all together!”
The signature of Striker is the obvious dripping melody, chunky riffs and space, space for each instrument and track (which from a fans perspective I love), so what comes first in your writing process, and how do your songs take their final form?
“Usually songs start with a guitar riff, then we just build from there. We are all guitar players so that’s where the shred comes from! We like to make sure each section is as good as we can make it, so we like to tinker a lot.”
If you had to choose one song on Play To Win, that you believe typifies the essence of Striker, which one would it be and why?
“I’m going to go with “Head First”. Lyrically it’s very much our full speed or no speed attitude, plus it’s a killer tune full of melody and harmony.”
Lyrically, the album is extremely relatable and sincere in its subject matter, where does the inspiration come for the stories within your material?
“Dan writes most of the lyrics, but we always follow that ‘write what you know’ mantra. We try to keep things vague enough that the listener can make their own interpretation but also make them focused enough to try to make a point. We write a lot about independence, doing things yourself, and following your dreams. Then we also throw in songs like Summoner which is about a Necromancer so we mostly just do what we want!”
Striker’s material, in my opinion, is rooted within traditional metal, hair metal, power metal, and even thrash metal at times, a truly exhaustive meld, so who are the band’s main influences?
“Maiden, Metallica, Priest, Saxon, Vicious Rumours, Toto, HEAT, the list goes on and on. We listen to lots of old stuff but also lots of new stuff too.”
The band now has six full studio albums under its belt, released over eleven years, which is impressive, so what motivates the band’s drive and workload?
“We just want to shred!”
Can you comment for us on the Canadian metal scene, especially in your hometown Edmonton?
“Canada is a small place so once you start touring you basically meet everyone involved in metal in the country. Not much to do in the cold ass winter other than shred and drink beer!”
What Canadian bands do you guys look up to?
“Well we are lucky enough to tour with great bands like Unleash The Archers and Skull Fist. It’s great to shred with our peers! Also Kim Mitchell.”
What bands have you toured with that have blown you away, or left a mark on you?
“Metallica is a big one, just the ultimate live metal act. Check us out in the special features of Through the Never!”
There is a number of tour dates adding up for Striker on the back of the new album, is there any chance of including Australia?
“Damn well hope so! Trying to find a way to get down there on the new album.”
Striker are a real force to be reckoned with and definitely worth checking out if you are yet to be initiated. The latest album Play To Win is ridiculously strong and literally has something in there for any metal fan. I sincerely hope they got the chance to make it down our way on the back of the new album
Interview by Mark Snedden
Striker – Play To Win tracklisting
1. Heart of Lies
2. Position of Power
3. Head of Power
4. On The Run
5. The Front
6. Play To Win
7. Standing Alone
9. Heavy Is The Heart
10. Hands of Time