Review: “Guardian Of The Fire” by Raider

Formed in 2017, Waterloo Ontario Canadian Death Metal tinged Thrash act Raider found their sound and unleashed their debut EP “Urge To Kill” a year later with the help of Producer and Engineer Jonah Kay at HM Studios and Zach Gerber at Skytrack Studios who handled the Mastering. Lead Guitarist Kyle Edissi exited the group however and after a period of live fill ins, 2020 has seen the band complete their line up with Ira Lehtovaara replacing Edissi. The rest of the band remaining firmly intact and joining Kevin Withers (Drums), Brandon Sanders (Bass), Gabe Rosa (Guitar) and Angelo Bonaccorso (Vocals) went on to create the bands debut full length album “Guardian Of The Fire“.

An obvious choice for a pre-release single “Bound By No Fate” gets “Guardian of the Fire” off to a ferocious start with Trivium esq riffs and interplay between the axe wielding duo of Lehtovaara and Rosa. Tempo shifts and change ups see the band switch their riffs between Death Metal and Thrash gauges with perfect timing. Bonaccorso has the idea voice for the bands sound, unclean enough to sound evil, clean enough that the lyrics are audible. “No Sign Of The Dawn” is an absolute ripper in Thrash terms and with lyrics like “Spent our days casting stones, Balancing kingdoms on a pile of bones” which you might usually find in Power Metal, it’s a refreshing choice. The solo on this one is solid and straight out of the Power Trip playbook with your classic whammy bar moments thrown into the mix as it rages through. “Endless Vengeance” ups the Death Metal riffs after the Thrash-a-thon and that is also reflected in Bonaccorso’s vocals as he finds a deeper register for this one and when he roars “Vengeance” its rips a hole in the fabric of space and time. He also proves he’s not a one trick pony vocally with higher pitched screeched lines to match his throaty roar. Another face melting solo backed off by some staccato moments and you’ve got yourself a well crafted headbangable cut. Ending the first half of the record with the title track “Guardian of the Fire” which portrays Bonaccorso as the slayer of a demonic beast showcases more of his storytelling abilities. The whammy bar moments are kept short, sweet and controlled while Withers delivers a stand out kit performance with some pummeling fills. It could be 1984 again in terms of the quality of the musicianship and the height of the Thrash era, but Raider have modernized the sound, made best use of current production values and kept everything tight. There is no endless meandering down repetition riff lane which some of the more recent releases in this style have suffered.

As Power Trip has their status elevated by Trivium when they signed them up for Kerrang Magazine sponsored “The Sin And The Sentence” Tour of Europe, Raider could well be the next band to benefit from that kind of leg up. They have all the talent in the World in their ranks and in “Infernal Justice” they have a stand out cut on their hands. It builds from the start through a face melting solo of gargantuan proportions of a crushing crescendo that lesser bands would struggle to match and will see Raider leave them in the trail of the dead that follows them. “Ravenous Hydra” is your classic beast from the depths tail with a nine headed Dragon being the protagonist, destroying all in her wake before the mighty Heracles comes to claim her head. A rapid file of relentless riffs and bruising rhythms is highlighted by a lead that builds into a solo and will without a doubt see circle pits arise at the shows. “Offering of Souls” offers more in the way of blackened vocals as it takes a slightly darker lyrical approach and while the unconventionally E-Standard tuned guitars are like a brain drill, doing some serious damage in the very best way. “Destroyer” sees Bonaccorso taking on the role of a demon resurrecting and summoning beasts from the black to do his evil deeds, while band relentlessly lay your ear drums to waste with energetic riffs and artillery fire like kit work that will leave your brain looking like the walls of a war torn nation. Raise your horns and headbang so hard you might just crack your skull, with “Guardian of the Fire” Raider have joined the elite [8/10]

Track listing:

1. Bound By No Fate (5:00)
2. No Sign On The Dawn (6:04)
3. Endless Vengeance (6:16)
4. Guardian of The Fire (6:48)
5. Infernal Justice (6:03)
6. Ravenous Hydra (5:28)
7. Offering of Souls (6:15)
8. Destroyer (5:51)

Guardian Of The Fire” by Raider is out 20th March and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *