Title: Strike Hard
Genre: Heavy metal - NWOBHM
Label: Pitch Black Records
Release date: 4 September 2020
Vocals: Flávio Lino
Guitar: Chop Pit
Bass: Tony Hatton
Drums: Doug Sampson
2. Die for You
3. Son of the Damned
4. The Reaper
5. Finest Hour
6. Don't Look in Her Eyes
7. I Feel Your Pain
8. War Games
9. Band of Brothers
10. The War Inside
11. Faith Healer (CD bonus)
Here is another band that is part of that era that made the history of that rock that we love so much, a baggage of history that we carry with us.
Raise your hand if you remember Airforce, we're in trouble, and it's a pleasure to talk about the new album “Strike Hard”, set for release on September 4th 2020 on CD and Digital for Pitch Black Records. This is the second album for Airforce, the first "Judgement Day", a compilation, was released in 2016, followed by two EPs, The Black Box Recordings: Volume 1 in 2017 and the subsequent dwarf The Black Box Recordings: Volume 2. The Single Band of Brothers / Sniper in 2018. The band gigged together for over 11 years with different vocalists, all the original members decided to go on their separate ways and were involved with other projects - Chop Pitman carried on with the band name Airforce with various musicians. The band is reforming in 2015, contacted by Watchout Records for “Origins of Iron" cd which featured all ex Iron Maiden members.
From then on, Airforce never stopped.
I know I'm punctilious sometimes, but with some names, introductions have to be made.
"Strike Hard" presents itself in a classic old school style, great hooks, biting riffs and rising melodies, in a nutshell, heavy metal at its best and for those who grew up like me, with the sounds of English heavy metal, without so many frills or fancy lines, it's just a pleasure to listen to it.
Let's start with the opener “Fight” and the world of pure heavy metal opens up, with sounds reminiscent of Iron Maiden, the singer's high notes, with Flávio Lino’ good and inspired vocalism. The guitars are razor sharp, from the beginning of the song, the rhythm is well cadenced and overall this piece is the right presentation of the whole album, excellent start.
“Die for You” sounds darker, a well cadenced rhythm, more doom oriented, respect to the opening track and I would say involving, if with the opener we had a more classic and let's say fierce, with “Die for You” we have a gloomy vision of the band.
The following “Son of the Damned” is almost totally different; while maintaining a dark halo, the song is cratered by airy moments with choirs, an attractive live song. Classic the guitar rides of Chop Pit and an excellent Doug Sampson at the drums.
Our excursus continues and we find “The Reaper” with Ivan Gianini (Vision Divine singer) on vocals in duets with Flávio, perhaps a more mainstream, interesting piece as aggressive as it is captivating, always on a self-respecting strong note.
A war beginning for “Finest Hour”, brilliant guitars riffs and very good bass lines, thanks to Tony Hutton skills, for this piece in which we can find Paul Di’ Anno as guest. Another great song, always with Maiden hints but then the roots of metal made in England are the same for any good heavy band.
Definitely more fiery is “Don't Look in Her Eyes”, Medusa, the myth, inspired the text and being one of my favorite legends, I can't do anything but appreciate the strength and fierceness of this track where again Tony's latest work manages to tie guitar and drums together, one of the highlight of “Strike Hard”.
Followed by another well-compacted piece accompanied by a good melody “I Feel Your Pain”, great guitar and solo drums.
“War Games” It's a more laid back song, if we want to be quiet, I don't want to call it a ballad but a song of deepening towards the war theme.
“Band of Brothers” also has a quiet mood, less melodic and more aggressive but with a more profound approach and a beautiful guitar sound.
With “The War Inside” the triptych on war is struck and this piece is more aggressive in spirit than the previous two pieces.
Now let's see, who remembers The Sensational Alex Harvey Band? First of all there’s a special guest, original SAHB guitarist Zal Cleminson. Than, more than cover is a modern reinterpretation of great heavy metal.
“Strike Hard” isn a good album, very neat but not patinated, old style but modern. If you are fascinated by the old school it is the right album among the latest releases of this year. If you regardless love the metal sounds of the lands of Albion, then go on a solid album.