"Night of the Axe"

By Dr. Abner Mality

For those who wish the last 30 years of metal history had never happened, Stormspell Records is always a good bet. They make no secret of their love for the glory days of 80's metal and as a result, they have many bands in that classic 80's power metal style of Helstar, Omen, Attacker, Liege Lord, etc. Air Raid is one such band.

You pretty much know what's coming the minute you see the cover of "Night of the Axe" and see song titles like "Call of the Warlock", "Highway Legion" and  "A Blade In the Dark". And you won't be disappointed! The classic metal cliches come thick and fast, with melodramatic screaming vocals, duelling axes and mythical themes. The formula works! It's nigh impossible for any true metal fan to resist headbanging after hearing the title track or "Raiders of Hell". With the epic "Dying Man", Air Raid sounds like a great combo of Judas Priest (open riffing reminiscent of "Solar Angels") and Manowar (anthemic vocals).. We also get the faux medieval acoustic interlude "Reminiscence", the sort of thing that used to be required on these albums.

It sounds great, is well executed and fulfills its function, but there is very little of Air Raid itself in this concoction. It is so redolent of their influences that there is virtually nothing of the actual band itself left. This is the secret to true success in the retro metal sweepstakes. To truly put yourself over the top, you have to do more than just recreate days of old, you have to put your own twist on it. And Air Raid hasn't done that yet. But for a dose of sword-swinging metal nostalgia, this is hard to beat.