22 September 2023

Air Raid – Fatal Encounter

Release date:   24-02-2023
Label:  High Roller Records

Air Raid are a heavy metal outfit from Gothenburg, Sweden. They’ve been riding the resurgent wave of traditional heavy metal since the 2010s and have made quite a name for themselves in the underground heavy metal circuit. I was introduced to the band through their third album, ‘Across the Line’ and then subsequently caught them live opening at the Up the Hammers festival in Athens, Greece. Seeing them release an album after close to six years caught my attention and I was curious what this gap could’ve impacted their sound or direction.

‘Fatal Encounter’ is Air Raid’s fourth album in a career spanning close to fourteen years so far. As far as first impressions go, I wasn’t extremely satisfied with what I heard and it took me a couple of more listens to understand what the band was trying to achieve. After I sank my teeth into this, it became apparent that there’s a slight change in the band’s sound. Air Raid are still a stellar heavy metal band but with ‘Fatal Encounter’, I feel a drift into AOR territory. The album also feels a bit more emotional, for lack of a better word. Earlier albums were more “straightforward” heavy metal, whereas ‘Fatal Encounter‘ gives each song, each section and each instrument more room to breathe (and shine) and it isn’t all guns blazing riffy heavy metal left, right and centre.

There are a few tracks that stand out for me. Thunderblood opens more traditionally with a powerful chorus (Thunderblood, I’m a rider of the storm) but the guitar solo is very emotive. In Solitude doesn’t refer to the band but it talks about love and breakups. Naturally the music follows the overriding emotion here from the chorus to the riffs. Edge of a Dream showcases Fredrik’s immense vocal talent. It is slightly upbeat with a very obviously catchy and likeable verse-chorus. Let the Kingdom Burn is a slower tempo song which would suit an arena with its heavy palm muted pounding riffs and groove section. The song quickly transforms into something you’d hear glam/hair bands play. ‘Fatal Encounter’ also contains two covers, See the Light by Trazy and Pegasus Fantasy by Make-Up. While I’m not too familiar with the former, the latter is a cover of a track used for a famous anime opening intro (Saint Seiya). Air Raid really makes this track their own, especially with the singing in Japanese. It sounded great!

I can see critics being quick to judge Air Raid’s slightly new direction. It’s almost very Enforcer-esque, who also changed their sound similarly in the later 2010s. Comparisons are inevitable unfortunately. Is it the most original sounding album? Definitely not. Does it have its heart in the right place and is it genuine sounding? Definitely yes. In isolation, I think ‘Fatal Encounter‘ delivers to the ardent heavy metal and heavy rock fan. For long-time fans, it might be something that will take a while to adjust because the album does evoke many emotions and it is more mellow sounding. It shows the maturity of the band and the willingness to experiment with new ideas, so props to the band for that. Overall, I think Air Raid has done a solid job with ‘Fatal Encounter‘.


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


  1. Thunderblood
  2. Lionheart
  3. In Solitude
  4. See the Light (Trazy cover)
  5. Sinfonia
  6. Edge of a Dream
  7. Let the Kingdom Burn
  8. One by One
  9. Pegasus Fantasy (Make-Up cover)