Seven Gates of Hell with STRIKER

8. srpna 2015 v 0:54 | RaznAgul |  seven gates of hell interviews
The aim of the open series of the blogzine´s Seven Gates of Hell interviews is to introduce the bands and their music that struck my metalhead´s heart and soul recently. In seven questions, the gates are open for those who make their music of true metal spirit, pure dedication and of what I understand as underground approach and aesthetics.
Today, the gates open for the Canadian heavy madness STRIKER. They have lived through eight years of their existence and three excellent full-lengths so far. Recently, the band underwent quite a substantial line-up change, hence its very beginnings are remembered only by the vocalist. But as I saw them playing live in Prague this July, the young blood gave the band a very fresh boiling. I talked with theit guitarist Tim.

I. Here comes another vicious beast that whets my fucked-up music appetite and hunts my wild heavy metal tastes. I bumped into them downright by chance while browsing summer programmes of our underground club scene. And my alert was further nourished when I noticed they already have on their record three acclaimed albums. The Canadian snatching metal brute STRIKER were touring Europe in the month of July with a stop close to my homeplace. Their gig in Prague´s Exit-Us club was of a pure bashing sort. And a bait for me to follow them closely. Well, here is my opening question for the band. What kind of incentives and motivation did you have when you started STRIKER years ago?
"The main motivation for the band has always been to have fun. Life is short, enjoy it! We all love playing music, and that in and of itself is a great motivator to play. When you add in all the extra stuff being in a band that gets to tour and release albums accross the world, its just icing on the cake for us."

II. During your seven-stop summer tour across Europe you played small ug clubs as well as large metal festivals. Why did you choose to spend the peak of the stage season performing here in Europe instead of your home country? Is the European metal festival scene richer and more active than what you can turn to in Canada, and hence you might have a larger fan base here?
"Europe is vastly better than Canada for touring. For starters, Canada has a population of about 35 million people... Germany alone has over 80 million, so there are way more people to play to. On top of that, Canada is enourmous. It takes about 8 hours to fy from one end of Canada to the other; if you flew 8 hours out of anywhere in Europe you would be in a different continent. So right away there is a huge difference in population density. On top of that, the festivals in Europe are just amazing, especially for metal and hard rock. There really isn't anything like that in North America, so that's why we come to Europe! And of course it's hard to stay away from the European beers!"

III. You recorded three really great albums. While "Eyes in the Night" and "Armed to the Teeth" beat with speedy heavy metal and win my ears with catchy melodies, the latest "City of Gold" sounds a bit different. Though still being firmly entrenched in a heavy metal rank, it builds on harsher, thrashy riffs and may be less accesible for an occasional listener. Do you find this as somewhat natural progress of STRIKER´s sound, or did the recent changes in the band´s line-up work significantly in the shift of your music style and approach?
"The first 2 albums were very much in that throw-back style of production, sounding very much like an 80's album. With City of Gold, and our new album (coming soon!), we wanted to have a modern sound, really thick and huge, so we went to Fredrik Nordstrom who has worked with tons of amazing bands over the years and we are really happy with how it turned out. We really wanted to try something new, not just be a throwback band, to leave that moniker behind. We love the 80s and that sound, but wanted to grow a little bit and expand our horizons. There is no question that the sound of City of Gold is just massive, and that's something we always wanted."

IV. You opened your Prague's show with two smashing songs coming from your last album. The lyrics of the first one sing in an energizing way that "we're holding the crown, crushed by the sound, believe in the underground", while the very next song portrays in dismal picturing "City of Gold, it's no time to be alive, when you are chosen to die". How do you balance your life in STRIKER between the underground and the golden cities of today?
"Well if you look at our tour, it's about half underground shows and half golden city metal fetivals! We are very aware of where we come from and have done a lot of underground touring over the years. Being able to play in bigger venues and festivals is great but I'm sure we will always be playing underground shows somewhere!"

V. Why did you attach so many bonus tracks to "City of Gold"? Do you think that without them the recording would be incomplete? And why for that notorious Iron Maiden's piece "Two Minutes to Midnight" which have dozens of cover and revival versions?
"Well the copy of "City of Gold" you have is a limited edition copy that has all the bonus tracks! We only have a few left, and once they are gone, so are the bonus tracks. It has all the bonus tracks on it, from the Japanese bonus track to the vinyl bonus track, and so on and so on. The regular edition just has the 11 songs. We chose "Two Minutes to Midnight" becuase back home we play a tribute set to Iron Maiden, playing all of "Live after Death", and just figured it was a good tune!"

VI. As I am one of those who fell in the trap of collecting vinyl records, I was really happy to get my hands on your debut and the last album in that marvellous format. Anyway, I miss the vinyl version of "Armed to the Teeth" which is, by far, my favourite recording of yours. Has your second album been available only on CDs? And do you contemplate its vinyl print/re-print?
"We sold out of Armed to the Teeth Vinyl! Actually we sell more vinyl than CD's, especially in Europe. It's an important piece of merch for us to sell, without vinyl we wouldn't have any money to eat or buy beer! We will be ordering more vinyl in the future. Hopefully next time we come back we aren't sold out of everything again!"

VII. What are your imminent plans with STRIKER?
"We just sent off our new album for mixing and mastering to Fredrik Nordstrom at Studio Fredman in Sweden actually, same team that did City of Gold. The album will be out around the new year, and it is one hell of an album let me tell you. There are a lot of songs that are more reminiscent of the Armed to the Teeth style of writing, and a few that are totally new and heavier than anything we've done before. Randy Black, the longtime drummer for Primal Fear, is also doing drums on the album so you know it has to be good right!? We are also planning North American and European tours. Hopefully we will be back to Europe at least twice in the next 12 months."

Thanks a lot for your time and answering the interview questions. You have my dedicated support! Long live STRIKER!!

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