Album Review – Maverick / Ethereality (2021)

The unstoppable “Balfour Brothers” are back in action with another explosion of old school, electrifying Hard Rock and Heavy Metal from their ethereal new album.

After three years in the making, including delays in the recording process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethereality, the brand new album by Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Hard Rock group Maverick is ready to see the light of day, bringing to our avid ears all of the trademark elements that helped the “Balfour Brothers” David (vocals) and Ryan (guitars) to conquer the hearts of admirers of old school rock and metal music from all over the world. Combining the catchy, hookline oriented songwriting from their 2016 album Big Red with the heaviness of their 2018 opus Cold Star Dancer, and featuring a beautiful artwork by Ukrainian artist Cardaan, Maverick is indeed an ethereal album of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, resulting in the strongest effort to date by David and Ryan together with their bandmates Ric Cardwell on the guitars, Richie Diver on bass, and newcomer Jason-Steve Mageney on drums.

Falling already kicks off in full force to the piercing vocals by David in a stunning display of classic Hard Rock by Maverick, reminding me of the golden years of Skid Row, Def Lepard and all of our 80’s Hair Metal heroes; and Ryan and Ric keep slashing their strings in great fashion in Thirst, another very melodic and electrifying tune with Jason kicking some ass with his old school beats, being perfect for any Rock N’ Roll party from all around the world. Never is a thrilling song for hitting the road with your loved ones, showcasing the always soaring voice by David supported by his bandmates spot-on backing vocals, while Richie and Jason are in total sync with their respective bass jabs and stylish beats, whereas in Switchblade Sister we’re treated to old school Glam Metal lyrics (“I know / I’m never number one when you need someone to hold you / But I’ll do just fine / Can’t help / But laugh when I hear your excuses / Can only think of me as a list of uses”) boosted by a vibrant sound crafted by all band members. And piercing guitars ignite the Melodic Rock tune Bells Of Stygian, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline while Jason continues to pound his drums nonstop.

It’s time for more of their 80’s-fueled hybrid of Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal in the form of Angels 6, where the entire band kicks some ass with their sharp instruments, with David and Ryan stealing the spotlight with their top-of-the-line vocals and crisp riffs and solos, respectively, whereas classic guitars permeate the air in The Last One, a well-crafted semi-ballad that can be played on any radio station worldwide, despite not being as exciting or detailed as the rest of the album. Then in Dying Star the band gets back to a more rockin’ sound, overflowing electricity with the band’s stringed trio providing David all he needs to shine on vocals once again, including a sick guitar solo, while in Light Behind Your Eyes, another ode to traditional Hard Rock and Heavy Metal by Maverick, Jason’s intricate and rhythmic beats dictate the song’s pace while Richie brings thunder to the music armed with his metallic bass. And lastly, the quintet blasts one final round of their undisputed Hard Rock in Ares, with David’s vocals sounding truly inspirational while the band’s riffs and beats keep the atmosphere as vibrant and harmonious as it can be.

When the band itself mentioned Ethereality is their strongest effort to date, well, they were not kidding at all. This is one of those precious gems of the underground that deserves our full attention and admiration, playing it on an endless loop in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll. Hence, if you want to know more about Maverick, their music, tour dates and plans for the future, I highly recommend you start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their Youtube channel, stream more of their awesome music on Spotify, and of course buy a copy of Ethereality from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, or from the Metalapolis Records’ webstore in regular CD format or as a very special black vinyl + CD bundle. The album title says it all as the word “ethereal” means “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world”, with my only adjustment to that would be on the “delicate and light” side, because what Maverick did in their new album is beyond heavy and electrifying, exactly what we all crave in old school rock and metal music.

Best moments of the album: Falling, Switchblade Sister and Angels 6.

Worst moments of the album: The Last One.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Falling 4:07
2. Thirst 3:49
3. Never 3:55
4. Switchblade Sister 3:53
5. Bells Of Stygian 3:57
6. Angels 6 3:44
7. The Last One 3:55
8. Dying Star 3:48
9. Light Behind Your Eyes 4:00
10. Ares 4:28

Band members
David Balfour – vocals
Ryan Balfour – guitar
Ric Cardwell – guitar
Richie Diver – bass
Jason-Steve Mageney – drums

Album Review – Shocker / Shocker EP (2021)

Enjoy this journey through the past, present and future of rock and metal music brought forth by five hardworking and talented Belgian “shockers”.

Formed somewhere in 2018 in Kuurne, a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, from an old idea by frontman Sammy Peleman (After All, September Syn) and bassist Koen (when Sammy performed as a guest vocalist in Koen’s cover band Back to Back), Shocker are a Heavy Metal and Hard Rock outfit that doesn’t like to be stuck to any boundaries or labeled as just one specific music style, bringing to our ears an amalgamation of rock and metal genres and subgenres with a strong 70’s Psychedelic Rock vibe to make things more entertaining and vibrant. Now in 2021 it’s time for Sammy and Koen, together with their bandmates  David Vandewalle (Anesthesy, Artrach) on the guitars, Chris Dedeurwaerder (Phoenix Rebellion) on guitars and keyboards, and Jelle Vandewalle on drums, to release their debut self-titled EP, containing four no shenanigans rockin’ songs that will take you on a journey to the past, bring you back to the present, and show you that the future of Rock N’ Roll is safe thanks to hardworking and talented bands like those Belgian rockers.

And let Shocker’s party begin with some good old, electrifying Rock N’ Roll in the opening tune Thrillseeker, with David and Chris bringing a touch of 80’s metal to the music with their riffs while of course Sammy kicks some ass with his Glam Metal vocals; whereas switching gears to a darker sonority found in some of the more contemporary songs by Iron Maiden they offer us all Twisted Shape of Man, before Jelle begins pounding his drums accompanied by the rumbling bass by Koen and the incendiary riffs from the band’s guitar duo. Then Koen ignites the band’s somber machine with his low-tuned, metallic bass in The Genuine Falls while Sammy declaims the lyrics with tons of passion and introspection, resulting in a classic Heavy Metal tune that slowly and gradually accelerates its pace until reaching an epic, galloping sound led by Jelle’s beats, also infused with a few welcome Progressive Rock and Metal nuances. Lastly, closing the EP it’s time for some groove in the Hard Rock and Hair Metal extravaganza titled Breaking the Silence, where the strident riffs and solos by David and Chris walk hand in hand with Sammy’s soaring vocals, therefore putting a classic conclusion to their debut effort.

Despite the fact that the EP is relatively short in duration, with the four songs lasting for a combined running time of a little less than 23 minutes, it’s indeed an amazing indication of where those five skillful musicians are headed to in their future releases, not to mention their progressive vein allows them to experiment a lot more than other regular bands, which of course means we can expect a few good surprises from Shocker anytime they release a new EP or full-length album. Furthermore, as a completely independent band that loves the DIY style from the bottom of their hearts as much as they love rock music, they need our support and admiration to keep moving forward in their career, so why not paying them a visit on their official Facebook page not only to provide your feedback on their music, but more important than that, to purchase their newborn EP and to keep on rockin’ in the free world? That’s what electrifying rock music like what those Belgian “shockers” have to offer us all is all about, and that’s pretty much all that we need in our lives.

Best moments of the album: The Genuine Falls.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Thrillseeker 5:07
2. Twisted Shape of Man 6:56
3. The Genuine Falls 5:17
4. Breaking the Silence 5:26

Band members
Sammy Peleman – vocals
David Vandewalle – guitars
Chris Dedeurwaerder – guitars, keyboards
Koen – bass, backing vocals
Jelle Vandewalle – drums

Album Review – Black Diamonds / No-Tell Hotel (2021)

These talented Swiss hard rockers are finally back in action with their fourth full-length album, inviting us all for a massive load of rock and glamour once we step through the door of the band’s own hotel.

Following up on the success of their 2017 album Once Upon A Time, Rhine Valley, Switzerland-based hard rockers Black Diamonds are finally back in action with their fourth full-length album entitled No-Tell Hotel, inviting us all for a massive load of rock and glamour once we step through the door of the band’s own hotel. Currently formed of Michael Kehl on vocals and guitar, newcomer Chris Johnson on lead guitar (replacing the band’s former guitarist Andreas Rohner), Andi Fässler on bass and Manuel Peng on drums, Black Diamonds tell gripping stories of the guests at No-Tell Hotel, leaving no detail out in their new album and, more important than that, offering our ears pure, kick-ass Rock N’ Roll that brings back the fun and rebellious attitude of the Sunset Strip of 1986, being therefore recommended for fans of Mötley Crüe, Poison and the early years of Bon Jovi, among others.

Chris and Michael ignite the band’s rockin’ machine with their classic riffs in No-Tell Hotel, where the whole band sounds sharper and more melodic than in their 2017 album, all spiced up by wicked guitar solos and a catchy chorus, while in Evil Twin we’re treated to lyrics about the dangers of alcoholism (“I am a married man, the nice guy next door / A valued member of community / I lead a quiet life, yet I’m far from bored / Because my job can be sheer lunacy / And in the nighttime, when the mood is right / A few drinks are all it takes to turn the tide”) embraced by a true headbanging rhythm where Manuel is bestial behind his drums. Then acoustic guitar generate an introspective ambience for Michael to shine on vocals before the electricity level goes through the roof in Lonesome Road, an old school Rock N’ Roll tune infused with 80’s Hard Rock; and putting the pedal to the metal the band delivers a Hard Rock and Glam Metal hymn titled Forever Wild, spearheaded by the slashing guitars by Michael and Chris while Andi hammers his bass in great Duff McKagan-inspired fashion.

It’s time for a pure, unfiltered Hair Metal chant titled Saturday (and don’t forget to check their South Park-themed official video as it kicks ass), where although its lyrics are a bit odd they make total sense if you’re into 80’s rock and metal, with Manuel dictating the pace with his stylish beats. Then slowing things down the quartet delivers a passionate ballad named Anytime, a bit cheesy (but in a good way), with their soulful solos adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result, not to mention its delicate piano notes; while pounding drums and endless stamina are the main ingredients in The Island, with Michael being absolutely on fire with his raspy vocals accompanied by the razor-edged and very melodic guitars by Chris, resulting in a song highly recommended for a day at the beach. And their Rock N’ Roll steamroller continues to crush us all in the melodic My Fate, where the rumbling bass by Andi and the headbanging drums by Manuel will put you to dance together with the band.

Hand In Hand is another serene and atmospheric ballad by Black Diamonds where Michael takes the lead with his classic vocal lines while Chris provides him a solid support with his Bon Jovi-like acoustic guitars, whereas back to a more thrilling sound it’s time to get down to the Sunset Strip in Reaching For The Stars, with Andi and Manuel delivering sheer thunder with their a heavy kitchen while Michael sends a positive message through his vocals. And as we all know, it’s not a true Hard Rock album without some cowbell, offered by Black Diamonds in the exciting Turn To Dust, presenting hints of the music by icons such as AC/DC, Motley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses, consequently being perfect for singing along with the band; whereas a Western-ish intro evolves into a dancing tune entitled Outlaw, showcasing a galloping rhythm, endless fun and a very entertaining performance by all band members incorporating traditional country music elements to their core Hard Rock.

Black Diamond’s Rock N’ Roll party is just starting inside No-Tell Hotel, and if you want to join those talented Swiss rockers in their celebration of life, death, love and hate you can follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream their catalogue on Spotify for more of their 80’s Hard Rock, and of course purchase No-Tell Hotel from their own webstore, or by clicking HERE to buy or stream your favorite version of the album. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to spend a few nights at No-Tell Hotel together with Black Diamonds? I’m sure you’ll have nothing but a good time relaxing at such respectful hotel to the sound of their inspiring music.

Best moments of the album: Evil Twin, Forever Wild and The Island.

Worst moments of the album: Hand In Hand.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. No-Tell Hotel 4:01
2. Evil Twin 5:12
3. Lonesome Road 3:50
4. Forever Wild 4:22
5. Saturday 3:20
6: Anytime 4:45
7. The Island 3:58
8. My Fate 3:31
9. Hand In Hand 5:17
10. Reaching For The Stars 3:57
11. Turn To Dust 3:50
12. Outlaw 3:55

Band members
Michael Kehl – vocals, guitar
Chris Johnson – lead guitar
Andi Fässler – bass
Manuel Peng – drums

Album Review – Rockstar Frame / Stand up…Jump ’n’ Fly (2021)

Italy’s own Hard Rock outfit arises once again with a brand new lineup and a kick-ass album that beautifully represents the glorious days of the iconic Sunset Strip.

Sometimes you have to take a step back (to the 80’s) before taking a step forward in your career, which is exactly the case with Milan, Italy-based Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock outfit Rockstar Frame, or RSF if you prefer. After the releases of their 2015 album Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia and their 2018 album Bulletproof, and after a few successful international tours, the band fell apart due to irremediable conflicts and internal problems, putting a huge interrogation mark in the future of RSF. However, in 2019 the band’s founder and drummer Max Klein redesigned their sound with the help of newcomers Leonard F. Guillan on vocals, Ian Darrell on the guitars and Ronam Destefani on bass, taking a journey back to 80’s Glam Metal and Hard Rock and crafting the most honest and vibrant music you can think of, culminating with the release in 2021 of their awesome new album entitled Stand up…Jump ’n’ Fly, a musical tribute to the glorious days of the famous Sunset Strip.

The opening track Is Not The End is a no-shenanigans 80’s Glam and Hair Metal hymn for lovers of the genre where Leonard lives up to the legacy of great vocalists like Vince Neil and Brett Michaels while Ian extracts sheer adrenaline from his guitar, and from Italy straight into the Sunset Strip the quartet delivers the thrilling and very melodic Get on My Knees, with the unstoppable Max beautifully dictating the song’s vibrant rhythm with his beats. By now you should have a very good idea of the musical direction of the band, but if not, simply take a listen at Hey Man!, offering us all pure Hard Rock flowing from their sonic weapons, with Leonard leading his crew with his classic vocals while Ronam shakes the foundations of the earth with his metallic bass jabs. Then blending their classic Rock N’ Roll with the Heavy Metal by Saxon and the old school Hard Rock by Scorpions, Rockstar Frame deliver the hard-hitting tune Ready to Go, perfect for heading out to the highway while Ian is on fire with his riffs and solos; followed by Hypnotized Fools, highly inspired by the Hair Metal played by Guns N’ Roses and Poison, with the rumbling bass by Ronam punching you hard in the head, not to mention the always amazing sound of the cowbell (and there’s never enough cowbell in rock and metal music, of course). And it’s time for a stylish ballad by Rockstar Frame titled Beyond the Fear, where Leonard displays all his vocal potency with a passionate performance supported by background keys and a powerful guitar solo.

Never tired of crafting our good old Hard Rock, the quartet blasts our ears with the dancing tune Golden Dreams, another solid composition where Max keeps guiding his bandmates with his rhythmic beats, whereas in Break me Down it becomes clear their Rock N’ Roll party has no time to end, with Ian and Ronam complementing each other’s riffs and lines in great fashion form start to finish in a very entertaining display of 80’s Hard Rock. Ronam is a beast armed with his thunderous bass, adding tons of groove to the band’s music in the pounding tune One in a Million, sounding beyond perfect for celebrating the golden years of Hair Metal while Leonard’s raspy vocals also bring an extra touch of rebelliousness to the overall sonority; and Halloween Night is another straight-to-the-point Hard Rock extravaganza by the quartet, not as vibrant as the rest of the album, though, with Leonard’s vocals sounding below what he can actually do (while the drumming by Max is as good as usual). After that, more stamina emerges from their sharp riffs, low-tuned bass and pounding drums in Like a Monster, with Leonard kind of personifying the one and only Sebastian Bach in his glorious days on vocals, while a very fun start kicks off the upbeat closing tune Sunshine in The Dark, a song made for bringing some joy to our hearts in such difficult times where all band members are in absolute sync, providing our ears an amazing sonority with a pleasant and positive vibe.

You can learn more about Rockstar Frame, their history, their plans for the future and their music by following Max and his henchmen on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by streaming all of their creations on Spotify, or simply click HERE to get access to all of that and more, and even more important than that, if 80’s Hard Rock is your cup of tea you should definitely purchase your copy of Stand up…Jump ’n’ Fly from an array of locations, including HMV, Rakuten, Alba Music and Impulse Music, just to name a few. Enough said already, how about we all grab our best pair of leather pants, our leopard-themed bandanas, jump on our motorbikes, and enjoy all the beauty and adrenaline of Sunset Boulevard together with the guys from Rockstar Frame to the sound of their stylish new album?

Best moments of the album: Get on My Knees, Ready to Go and One in a Million.

Worst moments of the album: Halloween Night.

Released in 2021 Volcano Records

Track listing
1. Is Not The End 4:19
2. Get on My Knees 3:31
3. Hey Man! 3:39
4. Ready to Go 3:33
5. Hypnotized Fools 3:34
6. Beyond the Fear 4:12
7. Golden Dreams 3:42
8. Break me Down 3:31
9. One in a Million 3:41
10. Halloween Night 4:08
11. Like a Monster 4:14
12. Sunshine in The Dark 4:23

Band members
Leonard F. Guillan – vocals
Ian Darrell – guitar
Ronam Destefani – bass
Max Klein – drums

Album Review – Black Sun / Silent Enemy EP (2020)

Ecuador’s most prominent metal band is back in action with a new EP overflowing their trademark Heavy and Power Metal, serving as the inspiration for their first ever musical film.

Formed in the year of 1999 in Guayaquil, the second largest city of Ecuador, the three-piece Heavy and Power Metal act that goes by the straightforward name of Black Sun is set to release their fourth official album and their first EP, entitled Silent Enemy, following up on their previous albums Tyrant from a Foreign Land (2005), Dance of Elders (2011) and The Puppeteer (2017), while at the same time venturing through more “cinematic” lands as the EP also includes a short film in Blu-Ray. Featuring guest musicians from several amazing bands, most of them curiously from Finland, such as Sonata Arctica, Lordi, Battle Beast, Smackbound, Omnium Gatherum and Wintersun, which points to an interesting connection between the two countries, Silent Enemy is highly recommended for fans of classic Heavy Metal, overflowing epicness, electricity and a good dosage of 80’s Hard Rock, nicely cementing the names of guitarist Christopher Gruenberg, bassist Santiago Salem and drummer Nicolás Estrada in the local Ecuadorian scene as well as in the global metal community.

Just hit play and prepare your senses for a whimsical and futuristic voyage together with Black Sun in the intro Moebius, setting the stage for the breathtaking Resist, featuring Netta Laurenne (Smackbound) on vocals. This amazing tune has that delicious Hard Rock and Hair Metal feel from the 80’s amplified by Netta’s fantastic vocal performance, with Christopher kicking some serious ass with his in-your-face riffs while Nicolás pounds his drums in great fashion. Then we face Henning Basse (Firewind, Mayan, Sons Of Seasons) as the guest vocalist in Terror Zone, where Black Sun offer us all more of their thrilling fusion of Heavy and Power Metal with classic Hard Rock, therefore reminding me of old school Accept. Moreover, Santiago makes the earth tremble with his bass jabs, enhancing the song’s punch considerably. And Christopher takes the lead with his crisp riffs and solos in the instrumental feast titled Dark Mirror, while Santiago and Nicolás keep the band’s kitchen heavy and thunderous, also presenting tons of progressiveness and endless stamina.

After the short and atmospheric interlude No Return, it’s time for the incendiary Still Alive to inspire us all to bang our heads nonstop while enjoying an array of vocal styles the likes of Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Mr. Lordi (Lordi), Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast), Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone), Netta Laurenne (Smackbound), Jukka Pelkonen (Omnium Gatherum), Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone) and Asim Searah (Wintersun, Damnation Plan), not to mention Elias Viljanen (Sonata Arctica) and his wicked guitar solo, all embraced by the always solid Heavy Metal played by the Ecuadorian power trio and with Nicolás being on fire behind his drums, flowing into the climatic and melancholic outro Finale, putting a beautiful conclusion to the EP. In addition, as aforementioned, the EP also comes with a musical short film also named Silent Enemy in DVD format, developed by director and writer Gustavo Arguello alongside Black Sun, paving the way for experimentation and rediscovery of the “musical film” concept.

In summary, if you’re a fan of both old school Heavy Metal and the exciting world of action and Sci-Fi movies, you should definitely take a shot at Silent Enemy, which you can purchase from several locations such as the Rockshots Records webstore, Apple Music, Amazon, mvdshop.com, Craft & Vinyl, imusic.dk, and so on. Also, don’t forget to follow Christopher, Santiago and Nicolás on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about the band, and to stream all of their albums on Spotify. My only “compliant” about Silent enemy is that the EP is too short, with only 20 minutes of music (including the intro, interlude and outro), leaving me more than eager for more of their stunning metal music. Who knows, maybe next time Black Sun will return with not only a full-length opus, but also a full-bodied movie based on that, expanding their horizons even more and, consequently, showing the entire world Ecuador is an amazing alternative for metalheads who are searching for something that’s at the same time new and old school, technical and inspiring, just like what Black Sun have to offer in their new album.

Best moments of the album: Resist and Still Alive.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Rockshots Records

Track listing
1. Moebius 2:14
2. Resist 3:47
3. Terror Zone 3:48
4. Dark Mirror 4:30
5. No Return 0:31
6. Still Alive 4:16
7. Finale 1:33

Disc 2 (DVD)
8. Silent Enemy (short film)

Band members
Christopher Gruenberg – guitars
Santiago Salem – bass
Nicolás Estrada – drums

Guest musicians
Tony Kakko, Mr. Lordi, Noora Louhimo, Pasi Rantanen, Jukka Pelkonen, Nino Laurenne & Asim Searah – vocals on “Still Alive”
Elias Viljanen – guitar solo on “Still Alive”
Netta Laurenne – vocals on “Still Alive” and “Resist”
Henning Basse – vocals on “Terror Zone”

Album Review – Striker / Play To Win (2018)

Blending classic Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Power Metal and 80’s Hair Metal, one of the biggest exponents of contemporary Canadian metal music strikes once again with a brand new album, always playing to win.

Champions in blending classic Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Power Metal and 80’s Hair Metal, Canadian shredders Striker are back with another good album titled Play To Win, the sixth in their undisputed career and a follow-up to their two previous award nominated winning albums, their 2017 breathtaking self-titled opus Striker (nominated for a JUNO award, winner of an Edmonton Music Award and Western Canadian Award) and the WCMA + EMA award winning album Stand In The Fire, released in 2016. That means this Edmonton-based squad comprised of frontman Dan Cleary, guitarists Tim Brown and Chris Segger, bassist William Wallace and drummer Adam Brown has been on an absolute roll in the past few years, not only delivering first-class metal for our total delight, but also spreading their music live across Europe and North America with bands like Sonata Arctica, Dark Tranquility and Warbringer, along with festival appearances at 70,000 Tons of Metal and Bang Your Head Festival, proving why they’re already considered one of the biggest exponents in contemporary Canadian Heavy Metal.

Mixed and Mastered by Hendrik Udd at Hendrik Udd Recording Studios, and featuring not only an old school artwork by Elvis Amaral (HipnoFX Audiovisual), but also the fantastic Randy Black (Annihilator, Primal Fear, Destruction) as a session drummer, who by the way also recorded the album Stand in the Fire with the band, Play To Win will please all fans of traditional metal and rock, keeping the name of Striker relevant and strong in the scene. “Play to Win: if you want to win you have to play the game. Find the rules and break them. This is our 6th album and 3rd independent release. If we followed the rules and listened to the industry people we’d have gone absolutely nowhere. Play To Win is about listening to yourself, following your own path, and playing that 5th ace hidden in your sleeve. This album is designed to light a fire under your ass and get you moving, and we made sure to get the most modern, ear melting sounds possible. It’s all about where metal is going, not where it has been, and this is our soundtrack to success,” commented Tim about the album.

And Tim and Chris begin slashing and shredding their strings from the very first second in the opening tune Heart of Lies, where the band delivers their usual ass-kicking fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, with Dan declaiming the song’s chorus beautifully (“Another victim to a heart of lies / Can’t see the truth behind those venom eyes / Another victim to a heart of lies / On deaf ears will fall the eagle’s cry”). Then leaning towards pure 80’s Hard Rock and Glam Metal, in special the crisp and passionate vocal lines by Dan, we have Position of Power, with William and Randy maintaining a solid and rumbling background throughout the entire song; followed by Head First, a good song that gets a bit too commercial at times, but that obviously brings Striker’s old school punch, sounding very rhythmic, groovy and melodic. In addition, Tim and Chris are once again on fire with their riffs and solos, making it a highly recommended addition to your road trip playlist.

Blending the music by Iron Maiden with Motley Crüe, Stratovarius and Van Halen, which in the end resulted in sheer awesomeness, Striker offer us the thrilling On The Run, showcasing a brilliant vocal performance by Dan while William keeps extracting that metallic sound we all love form his bass, whereas The Front is another classic song by Striker, also feeling as it was taken from an 80’s Hair Metal album. It’s a bit too smooth compared to the sonic massacre from their previous albums, but the crisp sound of the guitars and the precise beats by Randy make it very enjoyable and fun. The title-track Play To Win, a mid-tempo feast of rockin’ sounds, sounds even more inspired by the golden years of Hard Rock than ever, with the guitar riffs and solos by both Tim and Chris getting sharper and groovier, and albeit its lyrics are extremely cheesy, the message the band wanted to send is there (and that’s what really matters in the end). Then despite the excellent vocals by Dan, its tuneful guitar solos and a pleasant vibe, the power ballad Standing Alone never really takes off, getting way too mellow compared to what Striker are capable of doing.

Back to a heavier and more epic sonority, those talented Canadian metallers fire an electrified Heavy Metal and Hard Rock tune entitled Summoner, inspired by many classics by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and other behemoths from the NWOBHM, also presenting the best guitar work of the entire album in my opinion. In Heavy Is The Heart the band shows how to do a proper power ballad, bringing passion to the musicality without forgetting the always needed dosages of electricity and rage, again presenting an inspired Dan leading his bandmates from start to finish. However, the closing tune Hands Of Time is another generic song that sounds and feels extremely soft if you’re a longtime fan of Striker, lacking the same potency and kick from their already classic tunes. Put differently, it’s far from being a bad song, but as we all got used to a lot heavier riffs and faster beats by Striker it’s hard to truly relish it.

As a huge fan of their self-titled album released last year, which I personally considered one of the best metal albums of 2017, I felt slightly disappointed with the final result in Play To Win. Nothing to worry about, though, as I guess I’m being too harsh on the guys from Striker, almost “demanding” that they had released another Heavy Metal masterpiece instead of actually enjoying their new album. There’s still a lot of top-of-the-line music to savor in Play To Win, available from their official website as a digital download or as a special edition CD, as well as from iTunes and Amazon, and you can also follow the band on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel and listen to more of their music on Spotify (if you don’t do all that already). Striker are a band that keeps winning no matter what with each and every release (despite singing in their previous album that they were “born to lose”), and the flame of Canadian metal will remain alive and vibrant while we have those skillful metalheads from Edmonton among us, always playing to win.

Best moments of the album: Heart of Lies, On The Run and Summoner.

Worst moments of the album: Standing Alone and Hands Of Time.

Released in 2018 Record Breaking Records

Track listing
1. Heart of Lies 4:04
2. Position of Power 3:41
3. Head First 4:02
4. On The Run 3:52
5. The Front 4:02
6. Play To Win 3:49
7. Standing Alone 4:56
8. Summoner 4:04
9. Heavy Is The Heart 4:54
10. Hands Of Time 3:47

Band members
Dan Cleary – lead vocals
Tim Brown – lead and rhythm guitar
Chris Segger – lead and rhythm guitar
William Wallace – bass
Adam Brown – drums

Guest musician
Randy Black – drums (session)
Lindsay Robinson, John Kennedy and Nathan Schadeck – gang vocals

Album Review – Devilfire / Dark Manoeuvres (2017)

An electrifying lesson in how to set (devil) fire to a Rock N’ Roll party by five indomitable British musicians.

It’s said that some of the greatest bands of our time have been forged on the road, and British Melodic Hard Rock act Devilfire is no exception to that, brought into being in Birmingham, England during a studio session in 2013 when producer and singer Alex Cooper (Shy, Spike of the Quireboys, Ginger) was working with Uli Jon Roth drummer Lars Wickett, revealing to him his plan for a Birmingham-based Melodic Rock band. After 3 years of planning and writing, things finally fell into place in 2016, when the band (at that time known as Devilstar) was offered to open for Tarja Turunen during her Eastern European tour in the beginning of 2017, blasting their flammable music to rock and metal fans from places like Hungary, Romania, Greece and Turkey, as well as to a sold out festival crowd at Hard Rock Hell AOR 2017 in the UK as the icing on the cake.

And the year of 2017 couldn’t have been better for this five-piece act formed by Alex Cooper on vocals, Baz Blackett and Kieran Topp on the guitars, Dan Bate on bass and Lars Wickett on drums, as they’re ready to conquer the world with their debut album Dark Manoeuvres, released in the beginning of October. Mixed by acclaimed producer Romesh Dodangoda (Motörhead, Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine) and co-produced by Romesh and Devilfire frontman Alex Cooper at Long Wave Studios in Cardiff, Dark Manoeuvres is a mammoth 13-track album calling on several distinct influences with a darker melodic sound, pushing the boundaries of Rock N’ Roll while at the same time remaining loyal to their British roots.

Rock N’ Roll is in the air with the smooth sonic waves blasted by Devilfire in the opening tune Ready For War?, an excellent business card delivered by the band presenting an 80’s-inspired vibe led by the passionate, raspy vocals by Alex, followed by She’s Like Fire, a born-to-be-a-classic of underground Hard Rock where they speed up (and spice up) things considerably, perfect for dancing the night away with whoever you want to the sound of its catchy chorus and the precise beats by Lars. More melodic and romantic, (In and Out of Love) All of the Time is a potent display of classic 80’s Hard Rock,  a song for all rockin’ girls out there energized by the fiery guitars by Baz and Kieran; whereas Waiting For a Rockstar, a mid-tempo chant with a fun story told by Alex, brings hints of symphonic elements in the background to make it even more impactful, turning it into a serious candidate for becoming one of the band’s biggest hits.

In Lay It On the Line, a semi-ballad with the band’s characteristic approach, we’re treated to harmonious guitars and beats while Alex keeps firing his sharp vocal lines, reminding me of some of the old tunes by Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi and Poison, among other classics, while Kill Your Love is another awesome composition by this talented quintet, sounding faster and more violent than its predecessors (but still very melodic). Hence, this fantastic song could be played on any radio station all over the world, showcasing addictive vocals and soulful guitar solos and, therefore, being captivating form start to finish. Tear Me Apart is that kind of generic ballad that, despite having its good moments, is below the rest of the album in terms of creativity and complexity, albeit still displaying the band’s trademark guitar solos and overall solid melody. Fortunately, the band gets back on track in God Give Me Vengeance, a song to do the famous “air-drumming” together with Lars due to its catchy rhythm, presenting a fusion of modern Hard Rock with old school Rock N’ Roll boosted by touches of symphonic sounds.

Baz and Kieran are joined by Dan and his bass for an onrush of slashing strings and rumbling sounds in Devil In Your Eyes, tailored for fans of old school Hair Metal and Hard Rock, before the entire band comes crushing with the underground hit (You Gotta) Revolution, blending the classic sonority of bands like Van Halen with the rebelliousness of Motley Crüe, with Lex being flawlessly supported by the song’s elegant and potent backing vocals. Put differently, if Devilfire don’t play this song live, we riot. Anyway, She’s Always On the Run is another average ballad that doesn’t do any good nor any harm to the album, feeling like filler despite being one of their first ever songs recorded; however, for our total delight their upbeat musicality returns in great 80’s fashion in A Thousand Times, a song that made me think that if I didn’t know it was recorded now in 2017, I surely might have thought it was recorded back in 1980 something by a veteran Hard Rock band, mainly due to its beyond classic combination of vocals and backing vocals. And lastly we have the melancholic Somehow, which in my humble opinion is how the band should always sound when writing ballads, avoiding being cheesy or predictable. Quite the contrary, it’s very introspective, pleasant and deep, and consequently an interesting way to conclude the album without being literally electrified, but still feeling electrifying.

How can you put your hands on such top-tier album of Hard Rock, you might be asking yourself, right? Well, that’s easier than you can imagine, as Dark Manoeuvres is on sale at the band’s webstore, on iTunes or on Amazon. And in order to show your proper support to Alex, Lars and Co., simply go check the band’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and Spotify for news, tour dates and all other things Devilfire. Dark Manoeuvres is a lesson in how to set fire to any Rock N’ Roll party in the world, and if I were you I wouldn’t miss that celebration for anything.

Best moments of the album: She’s Like Fire, Waiting For a Rockstar, Kill Your Love and (You Gotta) Revolution.

Worst moments of the album: Tear Me Apart and She’s Always On the Run.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Ready For War? 3:07
2. She’s Like Fire 3:22
3. (In and Out of Love) All of the Time 3:33
4. Waiting For a Rockstar 4:10
5. Lay It On the Line 5:09
6. Kill Your Love 3:51
7. Tear Me Apart 4:00
8. God Give Me Vengeance 4:52
9. Devil In Your Eyes 3:10
10. (You Gotta) Revolution 4:58
11. She’s Always On the Run 3:49
12. A Thousand Times 4:31
13. Somehow 2:59

Band members
Alex Cooper – vocals
Baz Blackett – guitar
Kieran Topp – guitar
Dan Bate – bass
Lars Wickett – drums

Album Review – Steel Panther / Lower the Bar (2017)

The most depraved band in the world raises the bar once again with an ode to all the debauchery and joy of the golden age of Hard Rock, Glam and Heavy Metal.

After the considerable letdown that was All You Can Eat, released  by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Steel Panther in 2014, I got a little worried about the future of one of the funniest metal acts in the history of music. Their jokes were not as good as before, their lyrics were way too repetitive, and there were no memorable anthems like in their previous albums. However, it seems that Michael Starr (vocals), Satchel (guitars), Lexxi Foxxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums) have got their mojo back in Lower the Bar, their fourth major-label studio album and an ode to all the debauchery and joy of the golden age of Hair and Glam Metal.

Let’s be honest, after the first official video of the album was released exclusively on Pornhub, we knew Lower the Bar would bring back the good old Steel Panther we learned to love through the years. Musically speaking, the album kicks ass with its crisp production, enhancing even more the already potent impact of each instrument like a gigantic dildo would do to a young woman. Moreover, there’s a lot to enjoy in this album, from pure Hard Rock to a mellow ballad, from a Rock N’ Roll anthem to their personal tribute to a classic band from the 80’s, and so on. Put differently, it’s two in the pink, one in the stink, and Steel Panther blowing your speakers with the electricity flowing from Lower the Bar.

And Steel Panther blast great old school Glam Metal to kick off the party in Goin’ in the Backdoor, with Satchel delivering his always amazing riffs and solos while Michael Starr proves he’s by far one of the best singers in Hard Rock today, resulting in a solid musicality that lives up to the best songs of their career. The following song, Anything Goes, has all it takes to become a classic during their live concerts: its rhythm is perfect for headbanging, a beer and some tits at a rock n’ roll party, while its lyrics are absolutely mental (“Break out the tanks / Hand grenades / Minus Charlie Sheen / Cuz I don’t want AIDS”). Satchel, Lexxi and Stix definitely know how to generate pure Hard Rock, turning this into a fun rockin’ anthem for admirers of depraved music. In Poontang Boomerang, the song that had its official video debuted on Pornhub (which was in my opinion a fantastic idea), the music is pretty much a witty homage to Hard Rock icons Warrant, as it sounds a lot like their all-time hit “Cherry Pie”, but of course this one is nastier, sexier and more demented; whereas in That’s When You Came In we’re treated to an acoustic intro beautifully delivered by Michael and Satchel, slowly becoming one of those “romantic” and “touching” power ballads by Steel Panther, not to mention Satchel’s amazing solo before the song’s last piece.

My favorite song of the album, the fantastic Wrong Side of the Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills), is a blazin’ high-octane anthem highly recommended for your road trip playlist, with Michael kicking ass on vocals while Lexxi and Stix keep exhaling pure Rock N’ Roll with their bass lines and beats, which obviously means they have to play this awesome tune during their live concerts. Now the Fun Starts, a dark-ish low-tuned composition that kind of puts the listener in a trance, might be used to open their concerts, in special because there’s a lot going on in the lyrics that can be considered a warm-up for the show.  Getting back to their high voltage mode we have Pussy Ain’t Free, a modern and fresh Hard Rock tune with a Glam Metal twist and another top moment in Lower the Bar, with Satchel and Lexxi being on fire with their strings. And if you think the name of the song is already sexist, how about those lyrics (“Don’t need a certified public accountant / To run the numbers on my dick and balls / Don’t need to look at every Amex statement / Already know I’m getting charged for the booty calls”)? Anyway, Wasted Too Much Time might not be a bad song, musically speaking it’s quite fine and even reminds me of some Hard Rock classic ballads from the 80’s and 90’s, but it lacks that mighty punch from the rest of the album.

Mixing up the gripping Hard Rock by Scorpions and Motley Crüe with 80’s Pop Rock (in special its synths), I Got What You Want presents a very pleasant sonority with Michael having an amazing performance, supported  by the song’s old school backing vocals; whereas Walk of Shame ventures through the fields of American Country Rock with hints of Blues and obviously their kick-ass Glam Metal core. Stix dictates the rhythm with his groovy beats, while Michael sends a thoughtful message to all women (“No wonder then, every weekend is the same / Your vagina’s still eighteen / Baby, stand up tall and walk that walk of shame / That walk of shame / Go on, girl!”). And lastly, She’s Tight is their top-notch cover version of a summer-like hit, being heavier and more metallic than the original version and even featuring Robin Zander, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Rock N’ Roll band Cheap Trick, the band that recorded the original song back in the 80’s. I’m sure Robin is really happy with what Michael and the guys did not only with the music, but with the official video for it (by the way, Michael’s “Cheap Slut” shirt was a great tribute to Robin and his band).

In a nutshell, if you never get tired of Steel Panther’s sexist and dirty jokes, I’m sure you’ll love Lower the Bar, and album that does exactly the opposite of what its name says, raising the band’s bar once again in heavy music. In addition, there’s always new entertaining material on their YouTube channel, such as the one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime Lower the Bar Awards, which at least for me is already more important and honest than the Grammy Awards, don’t you agree? Anyway, you can buy some interesting Lower the Bar bundles at their official webstore, including one with a beer stein and one with a shirt. And no, there are no bundles with dildos, inflatable whores or anything like that. At least not yet.

Best moments of the album: Anything Goes, Wrong Side of the Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills) and Pussy Ain’t Free.

Worst moments of the album: Wasted Too Much Time.

Released in 2017 Kobalt Label Services

Track listing
1. Goin’ in the Backdoor 3:10
2. Anything Goes 3:01
3. Poontang Boomerang 3:22
4. That’s When You Came In 3:46
5. Wrong Side of the Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills) 3:07
6. Now the Fun Starts 3:43
7. Pussy Ain’t Free 3:56
8. Wasted Too Much Time 3:50
9. I Got What You Want 4:13
10. Walk of Shame 4:11
11. She’s Tight (Cheap Trick cover feat. Robin Zander) 2:54

Band members
Michael Starr – lead vocals
Satchel – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Lexxi Foxxx – bass guitar, backing vocals
Stix Zadinia – drums, percussion, backing vocals

Guest musicians
Robin Zander – additional vocals on “She’s Tight”
Rudy Sarzo – bass on “Wrong Side of the Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills)”
Michael Catton – background vocals on “I Got What You Want”
Chris Catton – background vocals on “I Got What You Want”

Album Review – Black Diamonds / Once Upon A Time (2017)

Inspired by the golden years of Hard Rock and Hair Metal, these Swiss rockers are more than ready to shake the world with their brand new upbeat, electrified album.

Proudly waving the flag of 80’s Hard Rock since their inception in 2004, Swiss rockers Black Diamonds are more than ready to shake the world with an electrifying Rock N’ Roll extravaganza titled Once Upon A Time, their third full-length album and in my humble opinion their strongest and most cohesive release to date. If major bands such as Gotthard and Krokus helped put Switzerland on the map of Hard Rock with their flammable music, it’s time for this farily new talented quartet formed by Michael Kehl (vocals, guitar), Andreas Rohner (lead guitar), Andi Fässler (bass) and Manuel Peng (drums) to take the lead and keep the rock n’ roll party going on in the Land of Milk and Honey.

Based in the Rhine Valley in eastern Switzerland, Black Diamonds are not only musically inspired by the golden years of Hard Rock and Hair Metal, but their looks and attitude are also deeply rooted in that period, which translates into pure energy when their music is blasted through the speakers. After releasing their debut album First Strike in 2008, followed by Perfect Sin in 2013 and an extended tour through their home country and the adjacent countries named Perfect Swiss Tour that same year, the band aims at reaching new horizons with the excellence found in Once Upon A Time. For obvious reasons, don’t expect to find anything truly innovative in the whole album, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have tons of fun listening to its twelve catchy, melodic and upbeat songs.

The symphonic intro Tales Untold kicks off the album before Michael Kehl and Andreas Rohner begin firing their heavy riffs in The Ghost and the Shadow, a rockin’ song that can be summarized as a fusion of Manowar and Motley Crüe (or maybe “Hard Rockin’ Power Metal”), being very melodic and impactful with highlights to the great vocal lines by Michael. Love Stick Love brings more Hard Rock from the 80’s with a contemporary twist and the always beautiful European harmony, making me imagine how successful this song would be in the 80’s. Simply follow the beats by drummer Manuel Peng and enjoy the ride, with its catchy chorus, awesome backing vocals and a classy guitar solo embellishing the overall result even more. And presenting a Van Halen-inspired vibe (in special its main guitar riff), Romeo & Juliet is a song about the most famous romantic duo in history, with a solid background built by Manuel’s drumming and the bass lines by Andi Fässler. The narration halfway through it is a bit weird though, but nothing that harms the overall quality of the song.

Although Pieces of a Broken Dream feels like a ballad in the beginning, it quickly morphs into a stylish Rock N’ Roll tune perfect for any radio station mainly thanks to the rhythmic beats by Manuel, while Andreas continues to set fire to the musicality with his solos; whereas Love, Lies, Lonelines, a true ballad from start to finish, is a soulful and melancholic composition with a strong performance by Michael on vocals, with a gentle ambience and more of the band’s tuneful guitar solos and bass lines complementing the music. And get ready for a kick-ass Rock N’ Roll party by Black Diamonds titled Thrillride, showcasing guitars à la Scorpions and a classy, dancing rhythm, with Michael delivering raspier vocals and, consequently, sounding dirtier just like the music needs. Moreover, Manuel couldn’t sound more old school on drums than what he offers in this awesome tune, one of the best of the album in my opinion. When the night comes, it’s time for the Swiss vampires of Hard Rock to attack with their high-end metallic sounds in Vampires of the Night, a great song for their live performances bringing elements from the 80’s and 90’s with razor-edged guitars and a badass attitude.

These guys don’t seem to get tired of filling the air with upbeat rock music based on what they offer the listener in Not Going Home, a pub hymn with the electrified guitar lines by Michael and Andreas adding a high dosage of groove to the band’s already exciting Rock N’ Roll; followed by Hard to Let Go, another Scorpions-inspired classic tune that sounds heavy and very harmonious just the way we love, also presenting a perfect synchronicity among all instruments with highlights to the piercing metallic bass lines by Andi. Years, the second to last rockin’ missile in Once upon A Time, keeps up with the rest of the album in terms of quality and energy, being one more song that could be played on any rock n’ roll radio show, with an inspiring performance by Michael on vocals supported by the precise drumming by Manuel. And closing the album we have This Is a Love Story, presenting an interesting balance between more introspective moments and faster passages, despite being slightly repetitive and below the album’s amazing average.

In case you want to know more about Black Diamonds and their top-notch rock music, go check their Facebook page for news and tour dates, and go listen to their music on YouTube and SoundCloud. Once Upon A Time is available at several locations, such as the band’s official webstore, AOR Heaven, Nuclear Blast, Target, Amazon, NEH Records, and many more, most of them offering two awesome bonus tracks with the album. If you’re ready to dance, drink some beer and have fun to the sound of high-quality old school, uncompromised Rock N’ Roll, then this album is definitely what you’ve been searching for. Just don’t forget to put on your tight leather pants before heading to the party.

Best moments of the album: Love Stick Love, Thrillride and Hard to Let Go.

Worst moments of the album: This Is a Love Story.

Released in 2017 AOR Heaven

Track listing
1. Tales Untold 1:08
2. The Ghost and the Shadow 4:13
3. Love Stick Love 5:03
4. Romeo & Juliet 4:20
5. Pieces of a Broken Dream 3:51
6. Love, Lies, Loneliness 5:37
7. Thrillride 4:52
8. Vampires of the Night 4:46
9. Not Going Home 4:42
10. Hard to Let Go 4:38
11. Years 5:21
12. This Is a Love Story 6:40

Bonus tracks
13. Rock’n’roll Music 4:02
14. Vampires of the Night (Piano Version) 3:50

Band members
Michael Kehl – vocals, guitar
Andreas Rohner – lead guitar
Andi Fässler – bass
Manuel Peng – drums

Album Review – Striker / Striker (2017)

Canadian Heavy Metal has never been more vibrant and rapturous than today, thanks to the brand new rip-roaring album by one of the biggest names in heavy music hailing from the Great White North.

In case you’ve never heard of Canadian Heavy/Power Metal act Striker, there couldn’t be a better moment to get to know such distinct band and their classic mix of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and 80’s Hair Metal. This Edmonton-based quartet, which was formed in 2007 and has toured across dozens of countries as headliners as well as support for major metal acts in their rising career, are unleashing their fifth studio album, self-titled Striker, a kick-ass follow-up to their two previous albums Stand In The Fire (2016) and City of Gold (2014), perfect for fans of the unparalleled music by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motley Crüe, as well as Swedish metallers Enforcer and Steelwing. After listening to this flammable metal album, I’m sure Striker will feature among your favorite bands of the past decade.

Featuring a neat, straightforward artwork by Rizky Putranto (Rish XXV), Striker is an ode to traditional metal, with no new elements or any type of shenanigans added to it, just plain good old heavy music. “This is our no bullshit album. We cut out everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary and kept everything short and to the point. We pray at the altar of heavy metal everyday, and there are some musical ideas that persist through time and some that don’t. We focused in on what keeps listeners coming back and got rid of everything else. You can’t climb Mount Everest dragging any useless shit with you; if you want to make it to the top, only bring with you what is absolutely necessary: Lethal Amounts of Shred”, said the band about their new album, and based on these words you can get a very good sense of what you’ll find in Striker.

Guitarist Tim Brown doesn’t waste time and starts firing electrifying Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll riffs and solos from the very first second in Former Glory, a song about enjoying life and being the best person you can, where frontman Dan Cleary keeps up with the greatest vocalists in Hard Rock delivering sheer awesomeness through his melodious voice. Sounding like a hard rockin’ version of Anthrax, in special due to its cutting riffs and demented vocals, Pass Me By presents a kick-ass fusion of Heavy Metal with old school Thrash Metal, with drummer Adam Brown pounding his drums mercilessly, therefore adding more stamina and heaviness to the overall musicality. And the first single of the album, Born To Lose, is in my humble opinion a newborn Hard Rock hymn, bringing all elements that make heavy music so thrilling, such as the metallic guitar lines by Tim, which  together with the rumbling bass by William Wallace (not the Scottish warrior) take the song’s impact to a whole new level.  Add to that already fantastic formula the song’s catchy chorus and a high dosage of adrenaline, and there you have not only the best song of the album, but also one of Striker’s most sensational creations to date.

Cheating Death is a short and atmospheric bridge to the incendiary Shadows In The Light, a dancing tune that lives up to the legacy of old school Hard Rock ignited by the potent bass punches by William, also offering the listener beautiful guitar solos and thrilling beats; followed by Rock The Night, another song by Striker that was born to be a classic. Dan is fantastic on vocals, supported by the song’s powerful backing vocals and the precise instrumental blasted by the rest of the band from start to finish, not to mention its extremely cheesy but entertaining lyrics (“You always seem to be on my mind / I can’t let you go / I can’t let you stay / You always seem to be a mystery to me / I can’t let you go / I can’t let you stay / The more that I think about you / The more that I know what to do / There’s something out there and it’s calling me / To rock the night / You’ve gotta bring them to their knees / There’s something out there and it’s calling me / To rock the night / Yeah you’ve got to make them see / What you can be”).

Over The Top, a fast-paced, potent Power Metal extravaganza where Tim and William are absolutely on fire with their stringed axes, brings forward elements of the traditional Heavy Metal played by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden combined with the Melodic Metal by Stratovarius, and the result is obviously beyond awesome. The same can be said about the second to last track of the album, titled Freedom’s Call, which will pump you up once again with its perfect balance of the heaviness of Power Metal with the harmony of Hard Rock. Needless to say, Dan doesn’t stop impressing with his puissant voice, never getting tired nor sounding uninspired. And the unstoppable Striker fire more of their kick-ass metal music for our total delight in the superb Curse of The Dead, where Adam takes the lead with his frantic beats whereas Tim keeps delivering his amazing riffs. Moreover, guest guitarists Simon Fallon and Adam Grimmelt only make things even more fantastic with their spot-on solos, turning the song into another memorable moment of the album.

In a nutshell, Striker not only have released a mighty Heavy Metal album, but they have also made us at The Headbanging Moose really proud of being Canadian. You can get in touch with Striker and their fiery metal music through their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and in order to put your metallic hands on this first-class album all you need to do is go to the Napalm Records’ webshop to grab the CD or the LP version of it, as well as on CD Baby, on iTunes and on Amazon. If you manage to get the special edition of the album, you’ll also be treated to Striker’s cover version for Ozzy Osbourne’s Desire, from his 1991 classic No More Tears, one of the four songs co-written by the most beloved badass in the word, Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.), showing how much the band loves old school heavy music. We’re all born to lose, but if we work hard and have the new rip-roaring album by one of the biggest names in heavy music from the Great White North as the soundtrack to our endeavors, we’ll surely win in life and rock the night.

Best moments of the album: Former Glory, Born To Lose, Rock The Night and Curse of The Dead.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Record Breaking Records

Track listing
1. Former Glory 3:59
2. Pass Me By 3:33
3. Born To Lose 3:58
4. Cheating Death 0:53
5. Shadows In The Light 3:29
6. Rock The Night 4:30
7. Over The Top 4:38
8. Freedom’s Call 4:30
9. Curse of The Dead 3:49

Special Edition bonus track
10. Desire (Ozzy Osbourne cover) 5:27

Band members
Dan Cleary – lead vocals
Tim Brown – lead and rhythm guitar
William Wallace – bass
Adam Brown – drums

Guest musicians
Simon Fallon – guitar solo on “Curse of the Dead”
Adam Grimmelt – outro solos on ““Curse of the Dead”
John Kennedy, Dave Arnold, Chris Segger, Lindsay Robinson, Clayton Parent and Tyler Dory – gang vocals