80’s tinged, with a modern metal sound production and a song with a saxophone just to make it really off the wall.

This Canadian metal band from Edmonton Alberta has been around the block a few times since 2007, and is set to release their 7th album of epicness called Ultrapower.  It’s been a while since we’ve got anything new from them, Play to Win was the last album back in 2018 and they won a Juno award (Canada’s Grammy awards) for Best Heavy Metal Album of the Year.

The band is made up of founder and vocalist Dan Cleary, Pete Klassen (bass) Tim Brown (guitar), and recently in 2022 recruited John Simon Fallon (guitar).  Jono Webster played drums on this album as well.   This modern metal sound comes from producer Josh Schroeder who has been involved with Lorna Shore, Tallah and King 810.

Lets give this a listen.

Circle of Evil – This one comes out pounding and fast with a catchy chorus.  This is a good start.  The production sounds full, abit of a live feel to it.  The vocals are nice and clear with some nice shred guitar that these guys are famous for.

Best of the Best – This sounds like a party rocker with some catchy singing from the rest of the band.  Wahh ohhh wah ohhh……lots of fun with this song about striving to be at another level and being the best of the best of the best of the best of the best ……

Give it All – Ok, this will be the most controversial song on the album.   Saxophone!  The Sax was performed by Randy Villars, a renowned musician who has played for several orchestras and symphonies, even did some work with boy band New Kids on the Block.   It actually is a really good gamble; it fits well with this song that has some Def Leppard like vocal tracks.   I like it, it’s a catchy metal love song thats not too ballady.

Blood Magic – Has a Country western beginning to it, and thereafter has a heavy riff, interesting start.   Some crazy shred guitar solos half way through that are quite phenomenal.   Did John and Tim sell their souls for those solos? Wowsers, certainly would give DragonForce a run for the money.

Sucks to Suck – Kinda of a something Steel Panther would do.   But you know, this could be a brain bug song that stayes in your head.

Ready for Anything – This is a straight forward rocker that could fit on a Dokken album.   Hits its stride mid way.

City Calling – Ok if I hear a group vocal with HEY in it, I think Def Leppard.  But seriously, there is so much else going on in this song, hooky chorus, more crazy solos, and a nice belting scream by Cleary

Turn the Lights Out – Here is some modern guitar sound, kinda thrashy.   They might want to pull this one out for those shows they do with heavier bands.

Thunderdome – Predictably this lyric would hit as i read the song title “2 men enter 1 man leaves”.   Love it, wonder if we will see a video on this Mad Max influenced one?  Nice guitar work near the end, can’t deny the guitar solos on this album are pretty epic.

Live to Fight Another Day – Doesn’t connect with me.   Fast forward.

Brawl at the Pub – Another fun one that tells it all in the title, love the memorable hooky riff at the start. Also lots of energy here on this one, as well as pinch harmonics to end this album strongly.

I really loved the last 2 albums these guys put out and they don’t stray far away from that formula.  I was wondering if they would touch a ballad on this album but that was just not the case as they kept it hard and heavy for the most part.  Dan Cleary’s vocals are pretty much the same as previous albums, and that’s not a bad as his phrasing is very understandable and clear.  The full band singing is par for the course and it’s well done.  The guitar playing is fantastic and the solos are catchy as well as being technical in nature.  I think the production is absolutely top notch, and sounds great cranking those modern thrashy riffs that happen in a few of the songs.   It’s an exceptional album, if you are looking for a little break from deathcore or death metal or black metal in your musical meal, then this is a good light hearted snack to take in.  Give it a listen, it’s out February 2 2024.

Great sound, catchy, crazy solos 83%

Track Listing:1. Circle of Evil – (3:44)2. BEST of the BEST of the BEST – (3:19)3. Give it All – (4:14)4. Blood Magic – (4:35)5. Sucks to Suck – (3:15)6. Ready for Anything – (3:56)7. City Calling – (3:45)8. Turn the Lights Out – (2:49)9. Thunderdome – (4:01)10. Live to Fight Another Day – (4:00)11. Brawl at the Pub – (3:47)Album Length: 41:30

Album Credits:• All songs performed by: STRIKER• All songs written by: STRIKER• Produced by: Josh Schroeder• Mixed by: Josh Schroeder• Mastered by: Josh Schroeder• Album Artwork by: Al Perez / Ramone Sketch (@ramonesketch)• Member of SOCAN• Canadian Content (MAPL)

Album Band Line Up:Dan Cleary – VocalsTim Brown – GuitarJohn Simon Fallon – GuitarPete Klassen – BassJono Webster – Drums

Live Band Line Up:Dan Cleary – VocalsTim Brown – GuitarJohn Simon Fallon – GuitarPete Klassen – Bass

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