Tom Keifer, former lead singer and guitarist for the 80’s rock band Cinderella has had a long career built around doing what he loves the most: playing the guitar, singing, and entertaining crowds all across the world. In 1986, Cinderella broke onto the hard rock scene with their debut album Night Songs and became one of the most beloved and easily recognized rock bands of the era.
Striker are one of numerous metal bands intent on revitalizing 80s metal. To clear things up, I greatly enjoy bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Motorhead and even Dokken. However, very few bands can capture the energy and excitement of that era without sounding stale or conventional. Striker keeps things interesting on Stand in the Fire, its fourth record. Saxophone collides with thrash on “Out for Blood” and it works fairly well. The band shows its hair metal influence on “Too Late.” The pounding beats and high pitched vocals make one want to reach for the denim jacket and Aqua Net. We have heard it all before, but some will find nostalgia in the cheesy choruses and shredding guitar solos. The title track is Accept lite thanks to the double bass and gnarly riff, but less aggressive vocals.
Striker essentially sounds like several bands througout the album. One track recalls Judas Priest, followed by Ratt then Metallica. It is not necessarily a band thing as the band is comprised of sharp musicians that have done their homework. However, this record is not something you have not heard before. This is a record that celebrates metal for metal’s sake and the band does not hide its intent. The guitar leads are amazing and there is the occasional killer riff, but really that is it.
Stand in the Fire is diverse enough to appeal to a fairly wide swath of music listeners. This includes hipsters and metalheads that prefer the “lighter” side of metal. That being said, Striker could achieve some mainstream exposure with this record. I could see this band playing on one of the many North American hard rock and metal festivals popping up. You should pick up this album if you want to hear a modern take on Eighties metal. I would rather hear the records from that decade instead.
For news and touring info, check out the band’s website: http://www.striker-metal.com/
Few sounds can capture the feel of the late 80s and early 90s like the clean guitar licks that scream from George Lynch’s (Dokken, Lynch Mob) fingers and out through his amp. Combine that with Michael Sweet’s (Stryper) powerful trumpeting vocals and you have the recipe for a hard rock album the likes of which we haven’t heard in years.
Sweet & Lynch is comprised of Michael Sweet on vocals, George Lynch on lead guitars, James Lomenzo (Megadeth, White Lion) on bass and Brian Tichy (Whitesnake) on drums. The super-band was formed when the president of Frontiers Music, Serafino Perugino, asked to approach Sweet about singing on a record. Sweet and Lynch began producing the project and co-writing the songs, eventually enlisting Lomenzo and Tichy to complete the band.
With the release of Only to Rise on Jan. 27, the silent halls of guitar rock are finally beginning to resonate again. The first song on Only to Rise, “The Wish,” starts with a guitar punch to the face and begins marching the listener proudly through music designed to make you play air guitar, bob your head and throw up the sign of the horns.
While the creation of such a super-group may cause some to raise an eyebrow, the end result of their genesis is enjoyable and powerful. As a whole, Only to Rise is well produced, enthusiastic and genuine. Each song on the first half of Rise to Me builds on the previous one, eventually reaching a high point with the fifth track, the rock anthem “Rescue Me.” Sweet & Lynch then pauses for a breath and brings us the one rock-ballad on the album,”Me Without You.”
The brief respite for the Bic-lighter-waving slow jam is soon forgotten as the album rolls to the finish with a non-stop feast of fast beats, guitar solos and Sweet’s powerful vocals. The final (and title) song of the album, “Only to Rise” begins with a sound and rhythm reminiscent of Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” and leaves us only wanting more.
Only to Rise manages to transport the willing listener back to the days when the pants were leather, the pyrotechnics were big and the hair was even bigger. If you loved the bands of that era and long for the time before Nirvana and the grunge movement stole their thunder, then do yourself a favor and check out Only to Rise. While the guitar rock bands of the 80s are enjoying a renaissance, very few of them are recording any new material of note, opting instead to play their greatest hits in front of their adoring fans. If the idea of hearing new music from hard rock masters appeals to you, then be sure to check out Sweet & Lynch. You will not be disappointed.
Only to Rise is released in the US on Jan. 27 and in Europe on Jan. 23.
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