Nima : I have been a fan of this band ever since their first official EP, ’Danger Ahead’. Since then the band has also released two excellent full-length albums (’Night Of The Axe’ (2012) and ’Point Of Impact’ (2014)) full of magnificent traditional heavy metal in the vein of fellow Swedes Ambush, Steelwing, Katana and co., and of course legends such as Iron Maiden, Grim Reaper and most of all Judas Priest.
I’ve been looking forward to the third LP, ‘Across The Line’, which has just been released, three long years after ‘Point Of Impact’. With their previous releases the band had already won my confidence in them, but to be honest I had not expected that they would exceed themselves and my expectation so greatly as they do on ‘Across The Line’. My god, what a mighty album this has turned out! The musical course has hardly been adapted and the gentlemen again represent traditional heavy metal that comes straight out of the 80s. But what is indeed immediately striking on the opener, ‘Hold The Flame’, is that the neo-classical Malmsteen-influences the band had introduced on the previous record are a lot more present and dominating on this album.
In Fredrik Werner the band introduces an outstanding new vocalist, whose voice is lower, more raw, and more hardrock-oriented than both his predecessors. He reminds me of a combination of Jeff Scott Soto, Jioti Parcharidis (Victory, ex-Human Fortress) en Schmoulik Avigal (o.a. ex-Picture), and similar powerhouses. His voice is not only beautiful, but also powerful and immediately gives the total picture a different sound, but also fits extremely well with the music. Also the new guitarist Magnus Mild (Majestic Dimension) is a true addition to the band, and together with guitarist/main composer Andreas Johansson provides breathtaking guitar wizardry. Altogether the band sounds stronger than ever, and very mature.
Every song on this record is a diamond on its own and it is almost impossible to name a (few) song(s) as highlight(s). This album simply has no weak moments, which is quite a bold statement. For 37 minutes the band manages to keep you fully focused, and leaves you begging for more afterwards! The addictive value is quite high, and you can easily count on it that the record will be in your play for quite a while. Also the album has an excellent production that sounds fresh and contemporary, but at the same time keeps the music’s old-school charm impact. The same goes for the music itself, because despite the fact that this is one chunk of pure nostalgia, the album doesn’t sound dated or obsolete for even a second. In conclusion: this is a solid, timeless record and a must for any one that has the nerves to call himself a heavy metal fan.