stryken - first strike reissue
First Strike (reissue)
Girder Music

A few years ago, I wrote a review dealing with Stryken’s one and only release, First Strike, which was released in 1985 on both cassette and vinyl only. Don’t ask me how I managed to come across the record that I did the review from. That’s a part of my past that I’d rather leave forgotten, thank you very much. Needless to say, I wasn’t very…let’s just say, glowing in my review of the album. As a matter of fact, I believe I made reference to a strong desire to jam certain pointy implements into various cranial orifices. Yes, it was that horrid. My thought was, this album was so bad, that the only way that it’ll get re-released on CD was because of nostalgia, or even novelty. Maybe a bit of both, I don’t know.

What I do know, is that this album was recently re-released. I received the news about ten minutes after I saw my first pig fly by the window.

All sarcasm aside, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to revisit one of my points of displeasure. Even if the CD boasted digitally remastered tracks, new cover artwork, a bonus track from an EP, and a history lesson on the band by HM EIC Doug Van Pelt (yeah, that’s what we need), I was already conditioned to associate First Strike with pain. So you can almost envision the convulsions I went through before I was able to hit play on my CD player. If it weren’t for morbid curiosity, I probably wouldn’t have done so.

Did I say “all sarcasm aside”? Sorry about that. I just can’t help myself.

Tell you the truth, the spit-and-polish job done on the tracks makes them almost listenable. The production is much, much better on this, as the songs don’t decalcify my spinal column as they did on the original version. That aside, I still get the feeling that I’m listening to a band that was started by a youth group leader in the church’s basement who cut a demo of original tunes. Meaning, I still feel torn between applauding the band’s blatant Bible-based anthemic hard rock, and feeling embarrassed for anyone who actually listened to the record.

Due to the number of negative responses I got for my initial review, there’s many out there who love Stryken and have been waiting all these years to get First Strike on CD. Well, here you go. You can have my copy too…if it weren’t for the fact that I just borrowed it from someone I knew would get it. Oh, and a couple of points for, not only having better production quality, but also only limiting this reissue to 2000 copies.