Airforce – Strike Hard

Strike Hard
Pitch Black Records
September 4, 2020

Founding member and drummer Doug Sampson drummed with Iron Maiden from 1977 to 1979 (heard on the demo “The Soundhouse Tapes”). Singer Flavio Lino formerly stood at Deadlyforce in payroll. But the musicians on the stringed instruments can also look back on a long career. It is all the more surprising that the British Airforce debut appeared almost thirty years after they were founded (1987). “Judgment Day” was published in 2016. The reason for this is certainly the constant change in line-up. The band also paused from 2001 to 2008. 2016 was also the year in which the instrumental section from the early years came together again. Only with the singer was there a long search for the right line-up. Until the aforementioned Flavio Lino joined the band last year. And with this lineup the second studio work was recorded, “Strike Hard”.

“Fight” is the album’s opener. After the noise of the engine and fireworks (or gunfire?), The guitars really get going. When I hear Flavia Lino singing, I immediately think of Bruce Dickinson. And the high metal screams are reminiscent of the high priest of metal Rob Halford, in the style of the NWOBHM. The influence of the former Maiden drummer can obviously be felt here. Only that Maiden have three guitarists in their ranks. Never mind, Chop Pitman pulls out a damn awesome solo. Rhythmically with a deeply tuned guitar, “Die For You” continues. This is the finest classical metal, as well as the following “Son Of The Damned” and “The Reaper”. The vocals here are sometimes much rougher. That may also be due to the participation of their former singer Ivan Giannini in “The Reaper”. Do I have to say something about the guitar solos? No, they are just amazing. Machine gun fire can be heard first in “Finest Hour”. A speed metal attack by the guitarist follows before the entire band falls into the extremely high speed. Even with “Don’t Look In Her Eyes” the British take a harder pace. This song is also ennobled by a guest performance by former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno. Instead, “War Games” sounds contemplative. A great and soulful power ballad. The metal anthem “Band Of Brothers” also starts quietly. Whether the quartet sings about themselves here? When you hear the songs, you tend to believe that there are four friends here make music. At the end of the regular part, “The War Inside” really rocks again. Those who buy the CD will find the “Sensational Alex Harvey Band” cover “Faith Healer” at the end. The song went heavy Metal heaven heaved. I like it a lot better than the original. Here you can also hear the SAHB original guitarist Zal Cleminson in a guest appearance.

Oh man. What a great album. You want to listen to that over and over again. And it doesn’t get boring even in permanent rotation. Airforce fire eleven top-class heavy metal grenades here. I find it difficult to highlight individual songs here. But as highlights I would name “Son Of The Damned”, “Finest Hour” and the ballad “War Games”.

Airforce – Fight (Official Lyric Video):


Flavio Lino – Vocals
Chop Pitman – Guitars
Tony Hatton – Bass
Doug Sampson – Drums

Track list:

  • Fight
  • Die For You
  • Son Of The Damned
  • The Reaper
  • Finest Hour
  • Don’t Look In Her Eyes
  • I Feel Your Pain
  • War Games
  • Band Of Brothers
  • The War Inside
  • Faith Healer (CD bonus)
  • 10/10
    Album - 10/10
  • 8/10
    Cover Art - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Songwriting - 9/10