Canadian metal outfit Striker are a band not known for taking the safe approach to music.
While old school fans bemoan the fact they refuse to continually churn out albums of pure thrash metal, Striker understand the importance of allowing their musical growth to be reflected with each fresh body of work.
This is never more evident than their upcoming studio album Ultrapower – out February 2 -, an assortment of influences and genres ranging from speed metal to hardcore to hair metal to deathcore to Steely Dan. It would have been understandable – possibly even expected – that Striker would rehash the winning formula that saw previous album Play To Win earn them a Juno Award, but rather than stick to what they knew would work, the band elected to instead allow the music to dictate its own course.
The result is an eclectic but still unashamedly metal album, being touted in the press as “Striker’s triumphant return to reality”.
HEAVY caught up with vocalist Dan Cleary earlier this week to find out more.
“I’m super pumped,” he enthused. “I’m really excited to get it out. We recorded it… – I guess it was early last year, so February, March -. You sit on the album for a long time, and it’s always nice to get it out and see how people are liking it. I still really like it. There’s been albums that we’ve recorded and by the time it comes out you’re sick of it, but I’m still digging this one. I think there’s a lot of different types of songs, so it’s never too boring.”
Sitting on an album for 12 months waiting to release it is a long time. Musical tastes and trends change significantly over the course of one year, so we ask Cleary if there were ever any stages where the band started to second guess the finished product or think they should make changes certain bits of it.
“You kind of always do that stuff, but I feel like after doing it seven times we know what to expect,” he replied. “I think the first couple we did, we looked back and thought ‘oh God, we should have gone and recorded in this studio’ or ‘we shouldn’t have recorded that song’ or that kind of thing. Even on this album, there’s still grumbling from some people saying we should have put that more brutal song on there and that kind of thing, but that’s always gonna happen.”
In the full interview, Dan talks more about the musical side of Ultrapower, anything they paid specific attention to on this album cycle, following on from Play To Win and if the success of that album caused extra pressure, the temptation to repeat the successful formula for this album, the singles released and how they represent Ultrapower, the different influences that went into the songs, pleasing fans with new material, if the band ever thought maybe they had too much variety on the album, future plans and more.