STRIKE – We’re Back (2013)
With this 2013 reaching its end, seems to be a gradually wane of new releases from the Melodic Hard Rock field until the next year, but a surprise arrives from Finland with STRIKE and their album “We’re Back”.
Despite the title supposedly indicating a return, it refers to the band’s comeback, as Strike are not newbies on the block but this is their first album.
Strike was founded in 1985 by singer Pasi Rantanen and drummer Mika Brushane in Herttoniemi, Finland. The band members were only 15-16 years old, but the attitude and the songs were much more mature. In the very late eighties Strike recorded some material yet never officially released and the group broke up in 1991.
Twenty years later, the band reforms with the original line-up – minus the bass player, firmly decided to return into the scene.
Pasi Rantanen is well known as the lead vocalist of Finnish power-metallers Thunderstone, but in-between the man has been involved into several projects. And yes, he loves classic ’80s Scandi Melodic Hard Rock too, and knows for sure how to write and sing a tune in this style.
And what do Strike bring to us with their debut? Nine tracks of moving melodic rock with strong doses of keyboard-driven AOR flurries and catchy choruses.
The CD opens with “Joanna”, a wonderful AOR rocker plenty of keys, sharp guitars and a layered chorus in the best Treat, Fate and Dalton tradition. The song not only was penned in 1989, but also recorded around the time as part of the never released tracks of the first Strike. This song alone worth the purchase of this disc.
But wait, there’s more, as follower “Only Heaven Knows” is even better, a ‘big sounding’ Scandi classic melodic rocker to die for.
“Day Of Reckoning” turns more harder with a muscular guitar work and sparse rhythm section. A solid track recalling modern day Treat and in Pasi Rantanen’s way of sing, a heavier Blue Murder. There’s keyboards still present, adorning the background.
Next the midtempo “Hear Me Out” is an effective, steady melodic hard rock track inspired by the new wave of the Swedish stylings of the genre, featuring a tight instrumentation.
And then, named as the band, “Strike” takes us back straight to the glory AOR days again. A marching song rich in keys which explodes on the chorus and has that kind of ‘hook’ I will love until the end of my days. Awesome tune!
“We’re Back” is the ballad, and a great one including acoustic guitars, pianos and emotive lead vocals. Very good.
“Angel (Of My Heart)” is other of the tracks previously recorded back in 1989, so expect another fine slice of pure Scandinavian melodies in the vein of Fate.
A trademark pumping bass AOR line fuels “Runaway”, completed with clean electric guitars during the uplifting verses, and everything turns more melodic on the golden chorus.
STRIKE and “We’re Back” are a more than a joyful way to end this great Melodic Hard Rock / AOR year. These guys are absolutely planted in the sound, style and production from the late ’80s in Scandinavia, and I love this.
They have managed to bring back the magic of an era, and also put it on tape as it used to be.
Do yourself a favour and don’t miss Strike, a hidden Finnish little gem that I hope stay together for many more albums to come.
01 – Joanna
02 – Only Heaven Knows
03 – Day of Reckoning
04 – Hear Me Out
05 – Strike
06 – We’re Back
07 – Angel
08 – Runaway
09 – Nobody Lives Forever
Pasi Rantanen – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Tommi Lindfors – Guitar & Backing Vocals
Kalle Annala – Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Petri Rantanen – Bass
Mika Brushane – Drums & Backing Vocals
BUY IT !