The music scene in Canada has been exploding for years, and the metal community is becoming massive. In the midst of this is Edmonton’s old school metallers, Striker. The quintet was formed by vocalist Dan Cleary and guitarist Chris Segger in 2007, releasing their debut album, Eyes of the Night in 2010. Drummer Adam Brown would join for the band’s 2012 sophomore effort, Armed to the Teeth, while brother Tim Brown (guitars), and bassist William Wallace arrived for the band’s 2014 breakout, City of Gold. The band would strike hard with three more albums in successive years beginning with Stand in the Fire (2016), Striker (2017), and their latest, Play to Win, which drops on October 26th. The band’s DIY approach and relentless work ethic is paying big dividends for fans and Striker as well.
Striker recently completed a hugely successful U.S. run alongside fellow Canadians and longtime friends, Unleash the Archers, as well as California’s Helion Prime. Metal Nation caught up with Tim Brown this week, who admitted the success of the tour had been a pleasant surprise.
That tour was crazy. It was easily Striker‘s best North American tour that we have done, and I’m sure Unleash the Archers would say that as well. We didn’t know quite what to expect with two Western Canadian bands, but the response was absolutely crazy. I think well over half the shows were sold out, including big cities and venues like Chicago. I think we had a run of about 10 sold out shows in a row, and that’s not an easy feat. So it was a great tour, absolutely.”
Striker is getting ready to release its sixth studio album Play to Win, next week. You guys have been on fire. This is your third album in 3 years. You must have started writing and demoing for this right after you released the self-titled album in 2017.
Absolutely. As soon as the self-titled album came out last year in February, we went on tour for about two months with Sonata Arctica in Europe. Right after we came home from that we started writing again. For us, writing music is a lot of fun and it’s just something we do naturally. Some people, when they come home from work and watch TV. For us, we like to come home and start noodling on the guitar and making music.”
Play to Win, to my ear, has more diversity than some of your previous efforts. It’s a bit more dynamic. Did you go into this one wanting to expand the Striker sound?
It’s our sixth album, so writing the same song over and over again gets a little boring. We’ve done a lot of touring, especially recently, and we’ve seen which songs go over well live and what sort of didn’t. So we were like, let’s write more songs like the ones that went over really well. Songs like ‘Fight for Your Life,’ for example–it’s crazy how well fans receive that song live. So what makes that song good? It’s a catchy chorus, easy to sing along to. Stuff like that. We have a bunch of other songs that have gone over really well, and we wanted to have more songs like that, I guess.”
But you have also added some slower stuff on this one which balances out the speed and thrash…
Another big thing for this album was we were looking at a lot of the huge metal albums from the past and what’s been really successful and why they were successful. Things like the old Metallica albums, Judas Priest Painkiller, Iron Maiden albums. Stuff like that. One of the big things that we noticed is they often experiment more with softer and slower elements that have more dynamics in them. Metallica’s the biggest metal band basically, and they also have a ton of ballads. They’ve always had that softer side, and I think that’s what is the separating factor. So why thought, okay, maybe that’s the secret ingredient. Maybe we need more of that. So that’s one thing we tried to focus on a little bit more.”
You can check out the full interview with Tim below as well as the first two singles “Heart of Lies” and “Head First,” and pick up Play to Win on October 26th.