Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stryken - First Strike

 Original release

Okay, we're not talking about a bona fide classic Christian Metal release here, and I don't think a sillier album cover than the original release (shown above) has ever been designed. I have to admit, however, in spite of myself,  that I love this disc.  Nostalgia maybe. Certainly an appreciation for the band's zeal and love for God.

I first heard these guys when I picked up K-Tel's "Righteous Metal" compilation, which, along with tracks by Barren Cross, Bloodgood, Philadelphia and Jerusalem, included a remixed version of "Rock On" from the "First Strike" album.  The band was originally called Stryker, and was formed by brothers Dale and Stephen Streiker (real surname Hopkins) in the early 80's.  They recorded their only album under this name, "Blitzkrieg" in 1983. (The Blitzkrieg tracks were included as bonus tracks on the 2009 reissue of First Strike.  Believe me, they don't add anything to the listening experience.  However, if you really enjoy band demo's, they're a decent listen now and then.)  With Stryper's popularity growing in the mid 80's, the band changed their name to Stryken to avoid  confusion.

Not that they would be confused for Stryper.  Their look was totally different, and their sound had more in common with Glam Rock bands like Kiss or The New York Dolls than Heavy Metal like Stryper, although the vocals (handled by both Dale and Stephen) could be rather "Sweetish" at times.  They released the album "First Strike" in 1987.  

The band was very Evangelical,  and the most well known story about them is when they stood outside a Motley Crue concert, holding a large cross, and witnessing to people.  They tried to do this a second night, and were "detained" by the police while the concert continued.  

Strangely enough, Stephen Streiker (Hopkins) quit the band and became a fundamentalist minister, denouncing the very music he used to perform.  His brother Dale travels and performs for youth focused ministries.

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