AIR RAID – “Fatal Encounter”

By Colonel Angus

One of my favorite things in this world is discovering a new band.  If you are like me, when you connect with a new artists, the first thing you do is research to find out all you can about this new band.  Sometimes you come to find that they are brand new to the scene and other times you find out they have been around for a bit and you wind up scratching your head wondering why you have never heard them.  AIR RAID falls into the latter category for me as this is the first I am hearing of this group from Gothenburg.  They have been around for well over a decade with “Fatal Encounter” being their 4th studio release.  I haven’t dug into their past efforts but based on this new disk, I will be adding their previous releases into my list of records I need in my collection.

The album starts off with a heavy DOKKEN-ish number called “Thunderblood” and they pretty much caught my attention from the opening riff.  There is a great driving rhythm throughout the track that reminds me of “Kiss of Death” by DOKKEN.  Not a rip-off but just the same kind of energy and passion.  The guys in AIR RAID play with conviction and it show on every songs on this record.  What I enjoy most about “Fatal Encounter” is that almost the whole disk doesn’t let up one bit.  Other tracks like “Lionheart”, “See the Light”, “One By One”, and “Edge of a Dream” all roar ahead in the same style as the opening tune with catchy riffs and thundering drums. 

That’s not to say that everything is full speed ahead as there are a couple of moments where things take a slightly slower turn.  My favorite song “Let the Kingdom Burn” is a pounding metal tune but with a slightly slower pace than most of the other material.  Also, “In Solitude” gallops along with one of the catchiest choruses on the album.  That track also has this great mid-section that slows down giving the guitar solo a great moody effect.  Even the short instrumental “Sinfonia” has this classical feel that gives the record even more variety while still staying close to the original concept of traditional metal.  There are just 9 songs on the disk coming in under 40 minutes.  I know CDs can hold twice that material but to be honest, I love this trend that bands are deciding to release less songs but better quality.  “Fatal Encounter” is the perfect example of “less is more” as each track is a winner and you don’t have to even use the skip button. 

I did a little research and discovered that the band has gone through some member changes over the years but I hope they stick with this line-up.  All of them put in great performances and with each listen, I appreciate different aspects of the sound.   Some days, I really love Fredrik Werner’s vocals and other days I’m drawn to the guitars of Andy Johansson and Magnus Mild.  Even their new rhythm section of Jan Ekberg and William Seidl put in a powerful performance.  Above all of their musical talents are the songs which, let’s face it, are the most important aspect of music.  Here is where AIR RAID excels and while I am new to the band (and can’t compare this release to earlier albums), “Fatal Encounter” has made a fan out of me.