"Play to Win"

By Colonel Angus
I had the pleasure of reviewing Striker’s self-titled record last year and they were on my play list for quite a while.  Since then, there have been a number of great releases so Striker has been “out of sight, out of mind” for me.  Fortunately, they just released “Play to Win” and like their previous record, this one is more of the same metal.  What I enjoy about this release (and their earlier efforts) is that they bring the fun back into metal.  The music is catchy and melodic and none of it is political.  There are no social commentaries or telling me the world is falling apart.  I get enough of that with the news and I use music to escape all of negativity out there.  “Play to Win” is just the right record for these times.  I have been listening to it non-stop for a week and it puts me into a “feel good” metal mood.  I challenge anyone who listens to this disk to not find themselves transported to a time when metal was fun and partying was the main task at hand.  There is a nice mix of melodic rock like “Hands of Time” to heavier material like“Summoner”.  They even throw in some slow intros on “Head First” and “Heavy is the Heart” but these tracks rock once they get going.  There really isn’t a bad track on this record and while there may be a couple that I like a lot, I find myself playing the whole album all the way through.

Striker has all the right elements to make it on any metal fan’s playlist.  Dan Cleary puts in a great vocal performance and I’m glad they didn’t fall into the trap of trying to use “cookie monster” vocals.  His clean vocals sound great and don’t need that type of modernization.  Tim Brown and Chris Segger do a great job of coming up with catchy riffs and I really like the soloing throughout; especially the solo in “Standing Alone”. William Wallace and Adam Brown also put in a solid performance making this one of my favorite records in 2018.  There is a time and place for metal to be “artsy” and “preachy” but when you’re in the mood for metal that just gets you rockin’ and puts a smile on your face, you won’t go wrong with “Play to Win”..