Air Riad are a band I have to admit I have not been all to familiar with. I always saw their name come up when people would mention New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal bands so I figured when they dropped their third album “Across The Line” I thought it was a perfect time to give the band a listen. I was hoping the band although having multiple line up changes would still sound great and overall I think they hit a good mark with this album as it stands.
The album opens with “Hold The Flame” quickly showing that Air Raid are a band that hearken back to traditional metal acts specifically like Dio, mid eighties Scorpions and even a touch of bands like Dokken with a lot of that flashy fast as a blade guitar soloing. However the biggest aspect about the album that stands out is new vocalist Fredrik Werner’s not over the top vocal style. His vocals are very much like early eighties Rainbow with a Joe Lynn Turner like grit to them or even a bit of Graham Bonnet at times especially in tracks like “Line of Danger” which has one of the most memorable choruses of every song here. “Hell and Back” is another great song with some heavy catchy riffing and a strong chorus that almost reminds me of Europe at times as well. Air Raid succeed I think the most at having that classic metal sound down to a staple but having that hard rock type melody mix very well which is also notable in “Northern Light” balancing the intense melody and heaviness perfectly. Perhaps the biggest pay off this album has is the final track “Black Dawn” which has some of the best mid tempo fist pounding riffing on the album. The production i really admire as well as this is possibly one of the best produced albums I have heard this year with a very full sound with every instrument coming in very clear and the vocals although more laid back still punch just as hard as the instrumentals.
Overall, this album receives an 8.5 out of 10. While the album has some moments like “Entering the Zone Zero” which is sort of dull and basic, the majority is well done catchy melodic 80’s heavy metal. It is also like I mentioned before, one of the best sounding albums I have heard this year as well and deserves at least a full listen with the album clocking in just under a comfortable forty minutes. Whether you are a die hard heavy metal fan or a casual listener, I feel there is something here for all as it is just a fun album altogether which is, in the end, what Heavy Metal music is all about.