Air Raid – Fatal Encounter

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: March 1, 2023
Released: February 24, 2023, High Roller Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: the Elitist Metalhead

I remember first hearing Sweden’s AIR RAID back in 2014 when they released their sophomore release, Point of Impact. They played some serious old school traditional metal with a vocalist, Arthur W. Andersson, that had some soaring vocals. That vocalist has since gone on to another killer Swedish NWOTHM band, TRIAL (Swe). Since that time AIR RAID has a new vocalist, Frederik Werner, and a new album, Fatal Encounter and what is on display here is something that reminds me of the L.A. scene with a heavier edge and I think it’s all due to Werner’s vocal approach.

“Thunderblood” kicks this thing off nicely and honestly the beginning of this song reminds me of an old DOKKEN song. From the early guitar tone to Werner’s vocals early in the song, this is definitely a nod the old L.A. band. In other places he sounds like Blackie Lawless when Blackie is being melodic. The riffs on this are great and the solos just shred and the chorus is really catchy. Werner’s vocals have a bit more grit to them than Andersson so this adds a new dimension to this band. “Lionheart” has a killer opening riff and one of the most melodic and catchy choruses. This is a rockin’ number that is not quite speed metal but pretty fast in places. The solos are just sick. “In Solitude” is a killer tune that has a huge hook. Again Werner’s gruff but really melodic vocals give off that 80s hair metal vibe; combined with the slick leads they really captured the spirit of the 80s here.

There are also some hints at some more modern sounds. “Edge of a Dream” starts off like a European power metal song. It’s here we realize that they definitely had Werner’s vocals in mind when they created this album because no matter what direction they take the song, it’s those melodies that carry the song. “Let the Kingdom Burn” is another song where he sounds like Blackie Lawless in places but then he turns on those melodies. This song is a little slower but rather epic in structure. There are a lot of layers to this one but the melodies are strong and the solos are really well done. The album closer was the biggest surprise for me. “Pegasus Fantasy” is an old Japanese metal song by an obsucre band called MAKE UP. When I first heard Werner singing the lyrics I was stunned. I actually thought someone sneaked a J-Metal song in there. His approach sounded just like that power metal coming out of Japan only to find out this is a rather popular song in Japan. AIR RAID pulled it off perfectly and, I’m no expert here, but the Japanese sounded spot on!

This is Werner’s second album with AIR RAID but the first I’m hearing and I liking where this went. There is a huge nod to the old school here but its far from being retro of derivative. In fact, in all its similarities, this album is quite unique for what’s being released right now.


Line up:Andreas Johansson – Guitars
Magnus Mild – Guitars
Fredrik Werner – Vocals
Jan Ekberg – Bass
William Seidl – Drums

Track Listing:
1. Thunderblood
2. Lionheart
3. In Solitude
4. See The Light
5. Sinfonia
6. Edge Of A Dream
7. Let The Kingdom Burn
8. One By One
9. Pegasus Fantasy

Air Raid Facebook Page