ALBUM REVIEW: Airforce – Strike Hard

There is certainly a resurgence lately in the vein of the 1980’s. From TV Shows, retro gaming and even within the metal scene. In this instance to the influencing and pioneering times of NWOBHM.

Take to the skies with the new album from AIRFORCE.

Amidst the air raids and machine gun fire Fight leads you straight into the fray! One can certainly see the ties to those earlier IRON MAIDEN albums from the guitar prowess of Chop Pitman and the vocals delivered by Flavio Lino, not dissimilar to that of Bruce Dickinson.

Die for You musically wouldn’t be out of place on a SAXON album. It sheds away from the warfare themes featured throughout the rest of the album. Lyrically I interpreted as that of a love song, more akin to the more macabre ALICE COOPER or KING DIAMOND ballads. “Longing to be, a creature of the night. To walk in darkness, hiding from the light”

With Son of the Damned, the pace is reminiscent to infantry on the march. The narrative is taken from a sole remaining commander on the battlefield. Having no alternative left available other than delving in the black arts: “I resurrected, the souls from the dead. Returning from, the call of duty. I lead the soldiers that I once led”

The Reaper features guest vocals from former vocalist Ivan Giannini (VISION DIVINE). It is a tale of the Grim Reaper out to collect his toll “he comes for you when you least expect.” Lyrically it’s juxtaposed from the previous song of bringing people back from the dead and includes a great guitar solo from Chop Pitman.

With the Finest Hour you’re instantly transported to the outbreak of The Battle of Britain, “brave pilots reach the sky, not knowing if they will survive.” Strap into the gunners seat and shoot down the enemy in this aerial assault with soaring guitars alongside a thunder of drums from former IRON MAIDEN drummer, Doug Sampson.

Don’t Look in her Eyes
features guest vocals from original IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di’ Anno and the vocal exchanges between him and Flavio Lino is an absolute delight.

I Feel Your Pain
has some very melancholic guitar work throughout and doom laden bass from Tony Hatton.

War Games
is a poignant track detailing the horrors of war “I see the mushroom rise, it’s on its way.” It is chilling, haunting and conjures fear and terror: “if things must end, the sirens are singing goodnight”

Band of Brothers
this song totally envisages Easy-E Company, 2nd Battalion of the 101st Airborne regiment. It reminds me of a dear friend who sadly passed a few years ago. He knew so much about this regiment and the accolades and atrocities they encountered during WW2.  This song details unity and looking out for each other “we fight across the land. Fight hand to hand as a band of brother!”

The War Inside
starts with a weeping guitar solo and bridging bass lines before portraying a monologue of someone dealing with their own demons “this war inside, it consumes me. The battle rages, so hard to turn the page”

Faith Healer
is a bonus track from the CD release. It is a mighty cover of the SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND song, done in a completely different vein. With original SAHB guitarist Zal Cleminson also making a guest appearance.

It’s good to know that there are other bands out there covering military history other than SABATON, and done in a different style. For a band that only reformed back in 2016, this is a brilliant release throughout. It has the expertise and musicianship of a band that you’d think had been at it consistently since they started back in the 1980’s.

This is an album of traditional heavy metal at its finest. Coordinates locked. Strike Hard and send in the AIRFORCE!

Rating: 9/10

Words: Martin White

Strike Hard will be unleashed tomorrow via Pitch Black Records.

Find AIRFORCE on Facebook

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