Air Raid - Across The Line - (7/10)
Published on October 29, 2017
Sweden’s Air Raid formed in 2009 and Across The Line is their third album, looking to build on the positive critical reaction to predecessor Point Of Impact from 2014. The most obvious comparison, and it really is very obvious, is Yngwie Malmsteen and in particular the Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force album Odyssey. Vocalist Fredrik Werner even sounds a lot like Joe Lynn Turner on that album. Even the band logo and album cover scream 1980s and there are some similarities to other Melodic or Heavy Metal bands of that era, such as early Axel Rudi Pell, but these are passing resemblances, whereas Rising Force is like a long lost twin. That’s the sound Air Raid make, but can the songs in Across The Line hold a candle to classics like Odyssey and Wild Obsession? Sadly, not quite.
So many of the songs here are quite good, reasonable, mediocre … you get the picture. Not bad at all, but also quite generic and unspectacular. “Line Of Danger” has a pleasant enough chorus and a nice shredding solo that could have come straight from the Odyssey or Eclipse sessions. The verses in “Hell And Back” are great, but the chorus is only average and comes as a disappointment. There are a number of similar examples, but it would seem frivolous, not to say boring, to list all of them. So, it’s all average Melodic Metal then? Not quite…
There are more encouraging signs. “Aiming For The Sky” delivers a very good chorus that stands out enough to warrant return visits. “Raid Or Die” blows the rest of the songs out of the water though and is a great metal song, with another excellent chorus and a great extended guitar solo. Final track “Black Dawn” doesn’t quite reach the same giddy heights, but is a slower, more easy going song with an uplifting chorus ending the album on an enjoyable note.
If you’re missing the late 1980s glory days of Melodic Metal, you may find that Across The Line goes some way to fill that gap. It certainly has some great moments and with a few more songs like “Raid Or Die” might have been nudging its way into the 2017 end of year lists.