Album number three for Swedish heavy metal juggernaut Air Raid marks the third new singer to appear on an album. It seems this band just can’t catch a break at finding a frontman. The group’s new vocalist has an old-school heavy metal voice that would be right in line with someone like Rob Rock or Jeff Scott Soto. Those two names are not a coincidence, as both sang on the early Axel Rudi Pell material, and though I strongly doubt that is the sound Air Raid aimed to capture, “Across The Line” is a perfect album for anyone who worships the first three ARP albums. The primary difference is that Air Raid tends to have more songs that lean towards the speed metal side of things, but both their upbeat songs and more mellow moments strongly remind of records like “Nasty Reputation” and “Eternal Prisoner”. For those unfamiliar with the albums, they are simply fun heavy metal records.
And this is all Air Raid strives to be: fun heavy metal. Their approach is centered around the guitars, whether from intricate solos, or hard-hitting, charging riffs. Most songs are fast in nature, though they don’t aim to hit warp speeds. The instrumental, “Entering The Zone Zero”, shows the band’s commitment to shredding, as there is some seriously virtuosic playing on this track. Even other songs like “Aiming For The Sky” and “Cold As Ice” show an abundance harmonized guitar work. There isn't a lot of originality on "Across The Line", but it's not really required. The band rocks hard, and there isn't a single moment that feels phoned-in or weak. Every single riff on this album is potent.
The sole flaw of “Across The Line” is the exact same problem that has plagued the band since the beginning. Their execution can’t be faulted at all, but somehow the music ends up feeling somewhat lifeless compared to the band’s peers. Make no mistake, everything Air Raid does, they do well. Yet somehow, they lack the insanely memorable songs, the catchy choruses, or even the “every note is awesome” guitar solos. The most comparable band is Screamer. Both are from Sweden, play heavy metal, and are signed to High Roller Records, but Air Raid just can’t stand up against their countrymen. This absolutely is not a bad record, but it still feels like the band could refine their songwriting a bit. The ARP-isms of this record are intriguing, but truthfully, his music is similar to Air Raid’s in that it is very good, but not top-tier heavy metal. Still, if you like heavy metal, "Across The Line" will do well in your collection!
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"Hold The Flame"
"Line of Danger"
"Cold As Ice"
3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott