Recent Reviews

November 2020

October 2020

[ More Music Reviews ]


Airforce: Strike Hard
Airforce - Strike Hard Album Art

Airforce: Strike Hard

NWoBHM Rock
4.5/5.0

The history of English traditional metal band Airforce dates to the origins of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) and, more specifically, to Iron Maiden. Drummer Doug Sampson, one of the founding members of Airforce, played drums for the iconic metal band from 1977 to 1979. He appeared on Iron Maiden's first demo, 1979's The Soundhouse Tapes, before leaving the band. Sampson would later form Airforce with guitarist Chop Pitman, bass player Tony Hatton, and Sam Sampson, his brother, on vocals. The band disbanded some years later without recording an album. From here, Airforce history is more than a little sketchy.

Airforce - Click For Larger Image

Airforce

Apparently, the band had plenty of starts and stops over the years until they recorded 2016's Judgement Days, which featured various players including several vocalists with Sam Sampson on three tracks. For their second long-player, Strike Hard, Airforce has trimmed down to the original lineup, sans Sam, and adding Flavio Lino on vocals from Portuguese Iron Maiden tribute band, Iron Beast. That's a lot of history, but well worth mentioning. So on to the album.

One of the first things you should notice about Airforce is that they don't have a twin guitar attack, something often found in NWoBHM bands. (Iron Maiden has three, but you knew that.) But this in no way hampers the Airforce sound. Chop Pitman is a fine axe slinger and his solos are terrific. Second, listening to Flavio Lino, you'll totally get why he formed an Iron Maiden band. While not sounding exactly like Dickinson, Lino has some of Bruce's timbre and quiver in his voice. Considering Airforce's roots and early Iron Maiden connection, he's a good fit for the band.

As for the music and tunes, Airforce and Strike Back offers, simply, traditional NWoBHM rock with plenty of groove. You'll find more gallop with the groove with songs like Fight, Finest Hour, and perhaps I Feel Your Pain or The Reaper. But the latter two are not quite as quick as Fight. Iit's more likely that Airforce will take the heavy and steady metal course as with Son Of The Damned, War Games, or The War Inside. Across all the songs, you'll hear the depth of the rhythm section, especially the bass line. As promised, Chop Pitman rips off more than a few fine guitar solos.

All in all, for a 21st century interpretation of classic NWoBHM rock, Airforce's Strike Hard is a solid and entertaining album. Fans of early Iron Maiden will particularly enjoy this album. These guys, excepting the singer, are no youngsters any more, but hopefully they'll return with another album in the future. Recommended.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

All in all, for a 21st century interpretation of classic NWoBHM rock, Airforce's Strike Hard is a solid and entertaining album. Fans of early Iron Maiden will particularly enjoy this album. Recommended.

Find A Review

Alphabetical Index

a b c d e f g h i j
k l m n o p q r s t
u v w x y z #
Album of the Week
Read the Read the Magic Dance - Remnants Album Review

After numerous EPs and two long players, Jon Siejka's Magic Dance project caught the ears of Italy's Frontiers Music, dropping his third studio album, New Eyes, two years ago. Starting largely as ... [ Read More ]