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Air Raid: Fatal Encounter

Every time you turn around there seems to be a New Wave of this Metal , or a New Wave of that Metal. Air Raid are supposedly at the forefront of the New Wave of Swedish Metal - I mean, who knew there was an old Wave? Well, whether there was or whether there wasn’t, Fatal Encounter is the band’s fourth full length album and first for some six years. As you might expect after such a lay off, this latest outing finds some changes within the outfit, new bassist Jan Ekberg and drummer William Seidl joining guitarists Andy Johansson and Magnus Mild, with the line-up rounded out by singer Fredrik Werner.

Right from the silver shining illustrated gui(s)tar-ship shooting towards a cross-hair bull’s eye on the cover, Air Raid hurl us back into a scene that was born in the late 70s and refined in the early 80s. Twin guitars blaze and drums explode as “Thunderblood” powers the album into being, Werner immediately proving his mettle as a howler with real melodic intent. Right across this album he’s quite outstanding as his gritty but clear voice cuts through some bristling guitars and the brand new, and pretty damn impressive, rhythm section. The short instrumental “Sinfonia” shows off some classically inclined leanings but thankfully it’s just a short divergence allowing us to take breath mid album, the proud clarion call of “Edge Of A Dream” picking up on the previous track’s grandiose intent and forcing it face first into some razor sharp riffing. At points Werner reminds of a slightly less forceful Jeff Scott Soto and here it’s the perfect embellishment for the undoubted gallop being played out.

If there’s an issue, then it’s maybe that there’s clearly no intention on Air Raid’s part to expand the horizons of what is already an extremely familiar formula. However, when it’s done as well as it is on Fatal Encounter, it’s nothing more than a minor issue that most will happily overlook as “Lionheart” adds further potency to the pot and “One By One” more of the swooping symphonic hints that add colour and nuance to an already invigorating mix. In short, there’s a huge amount for any traditional metal enthusiast to lose themselves in here and if that’s your bag then this band, and maybe the whole Swedish metal scene, needs further investigation.

Track Listing
1. Thunderblood
2. Lionheart
3. In Solitude
4. See The Light
5. Sinfonia
6. Edge Of A Dream
7. Let The Kingdom Burn
8. One By One
9. Pegasus Fantasy

Added: February 22nd 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Air Raid @ facebook
Hits: 524
Language: english

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