Striker, the Canadian metal outfit from Edmonton, Alberta that has been blazing their own trail since 2007, made their way into The Complex in Glendale, CA on Tuesday night, January 24th. Hitting the road out in front of their forthcoming self-titled, fifth full album release, Striker, the group is fulfilling a 16 date, U.S. tour. The U.S. leg of their world tour has them playing dates from the Pacific Northwest, through the Southern states and lastly through the upper Midwest on their way home. The new album, for which they have initiated a pre-order campaign, is due out on February 24th. After a nine-day break, they will embark on a 42 date European tour, taking them through the beginning of April.
Striker takes the stage at around 11:00 p.m., tears into its set with a song from the yet unreleased album called Former Glory. The crowd of 40 die-hard metal fans seems undeterred by the late hour on a weekday evening and greets the band with fist pumps and head pounding. Next, Crossroads off of City of Gold, continues the attack with a rapid paced, grinding twin guitar from Tim Brown and touring guitarist Jon Simon Fallon. They carry on with Locked In off of 2016’s Stand in the Fire, another sprinting tune about being trapped in life, highlighted by the triple time drumming from Adam Brown and a tasty guitar lick in the chorus. The faithful are then taken on a retrospective journey through the Striker catalog, with Lethal Force, Phoenix Lights and Out for Blood, interrupted by Born to Lose, the first single from Striker. Born to Lose is an 80’s inspired anthem about accomplishing things in life in spite of what may be “predestined”. The very solid guitar interplay and Dan Cleary’s, Dickinsonian (Bruce not Charles) style lyrics, delivered cleanly and passionately distinguish this new song as one that will surely be a fan favorite.
The retrospective carries on Full Speed or No Speed, with bassist William Wallace keeping pace with Adam Brown on drums, setting the gait of this high velocity piece and daring the guitarists to keep up. A few more tunes build up to the three song finale of Too Late beginning with the band rocking back and forth in unison during the pounding intro.. The second of the three song climax is Second Attack, a more thrashy approach, a bit uncharacteristic of the rest of the set, but a crowd inciter and pleaser all the same. The last song in the set Terrorizer, completes the climb to the top of the energy mountain. The boys from Canada are issued an enthusiastic appeal from the less than capacity crowd to return to the stage for one more song after the regular set is finished. They graciously oblige the crowd with according to Cleary “the one more song they have rehearsed,” a cover of Ozzy’s Desire, which finishes off the show and elicits an exuberant thanks from the appreciative crowd.
Striker has undoubtedly played to larger crowds, probably some even smaller. Seeing them navigate a stage from which they have to skillfully maneuver between mic stands and each other to assume the proverbial “Captain Morgan” pose on the monitor, then worry about hitting a fan in the head with the head stock of their guitars once assumed, it’s not hard to imagine them playing to a crowd of 400 or even 4,000. Let’s hope the summer open air festival circuit sees Striker on some of those much grander stages, where they would be better suited.
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