The explosion of traditional heavy metal bands and thrash bands over the past few years has unfortunately caused some mixed feelings. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t around in the 80’s, but I love these new bands. I’d rather hear something like Skull Fist than dig around for a 4th tier band from the 80’s. It doesn’t need to be original, it just has to be solid heavy metal, and that’s where Air Raid comes in. “Danger Ahead” features everything you want from a band that worships the 80’s: wicked guitar harmonies, powerful riffs, and a vocalist who isn’t afraid to scream.
This disc actually consists of two releases: the “Danger Ahead” EP, which is all new material, and the band’s first demo. The demo tracks are definitely enjoyable, and actually are more reminiscent of US power metal bands like Manilla Road than the EP was; however, it’s also very clear that the band had a lot of unrealized potential on those tracks. By contrast, “Danger Ahead” employs a much more straightforward heavy metal sound. All five tracks on this EP are fairly similar, ranging from mid-paced headbangers to faster, more upbeat tracks. The standout track for me is easily “The Metal Cult”. This song has the best lead playing on the album, and it also has a catchy melody that repeats throughout the song. Again, I have to make a reference to Skull Fist because the solos in “The Metal Cult” are very well composed. Lyrically, this song doesn’t surprise you, but the music is so fitting that it’s not a problem. Besides this track, the other extremely memorable song is “Free At Last”, which opens with the best bass playing on the album. When it comes down to it, none of these songs are bad, and I’m certain that every song here will be someone’s favourite.
The musicianship on this album is par for the course in heavy metal. The singer, Michael Rinakakis is a talented banshee, but he also has a good natural voice that you’ll hear when he isn’t wailing away. His voice is a little bit different on the demo, as he doesn't use his higher screams as much, but it actually makes the two releases quite distinct from each other. As mentioned, both guitar players are exceptional. I would say that the guitar playing is what makes this style of metal so enjoyable for me and Air Raid certainly continue that trend. The rhythm section is solid, but probably won’t surprise you. Luckily, the bass is always audible, so there are no issues with mixing here.
With “Danger Ahead”, Air Raid has created an EP that displays a ton of potential. I don’t need to preach to you anymore how the quality of this release, but what I can say is that this band should be huge in the next few years. Any future albums will definitely compete with bands like White Wizzard and Cauldron. If you are looking for heavy metal, support the band and Stormspell records by buying this EP.
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“The Metal Cult”
“Free At Last”
4.2/5 or 84%
Written by Scott