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Raider — Guardian of the Fire

Guardian of the Fire
by Kelley Simms at 19 April 2020, 8:05 PM

Formed in 2017, Canadian thrash/death metal band RAIDER created a lot of momentum with its ferocious 2018 demo “Urge to Kill.” On its debut full-length album, “Guardians of the Fire” (released March 20, 2020), the quintet creates a dynamic mix of thrash, death and melodic death metal in the vein of SKELETON WITCH, LAMB OF GOD, KREATOR and CARCASS on its eight mosh-worthy tracks.

As the saying goes, RAIDER isn’t reinventing the wheel on “Guardians of the Fire,” but they do approach the genre with an aggressive vigor throughout the album’s longish 48-minute runtime. Every track exceeds the five or six-minute mark, but they surprisingly don’t overstay their welcome while maintaining a nice rhythmic flow.

The juggernaut opener “Bound By No Fate” kicks things off nicely with blazing riffs and pummeling double kick rudiments. The demonic, harsh-barked vocals of Angelo Bonaccorso switches between highs and lows with relative ease and fit perfectly within the thrash/death metal realm. His delivery isn’t nasally as typical thrash-styled vocals can be, but they’re also growled just enough but not too brutal where they’re indecipherable. Guitarists Gabe Rosa and Ira Lehtovaara prove to be a lethal tandem throughout the album with their razor-sharp riffing and piercing guitar solos, while the rhythm section of drummer Kevin Withers and bassist Brandon Sanders provide a solid anchor.

Track “No Sign of the Dawn” mixes killer old school ’80s Bay Area thrash elements with Teutonic thrash influences in the vein of SODOM and KREATOR. More KREATOR influences pop up on the monstrous title track, while the PANTERA-ish hooks of “Offering of Souls” and the SLAYER-esque riffs of “Destroyer” are equally ferocious.

Throughout the 48-minute affair, the riffs are sharp, savage and tight, containing great pace, speed and dynamic with killer transitions. The guitar tones slice through the mix like a tornado devastating the land, while the bass guitar is slightly less audible. The drums are also upfront with a magnificent punchy bass drum and snappy snare sound. However, Bonaccorso’s vocals are a tad low in the mix. The killer conceptual Asian/ancient-themed artwork by renown artist Mario Lopez (EVIL INVADERS, HOWLING, THEM) is visually stunning and ties in with some of the lyrical content.

I think RAIDER is one of the best of the new breed of bands who are playing this style of metal today and “Guardians of the Fire” is well worth your time.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Bound by No Fate
2. No Sign of the Dawn
3. Endless Vengeance
4. Guardian of the Fire
5. Infernal Justice
6. Ravenous Hydra
7. Offering of Souls
8. Destroyer
Brandon Sanders — Bass
Kevin Withers — Drums
Gabe Rosa — Guitars/Vocals (backing)
Angelo Bonaccorso — Vocals
Ira Lehtovaara — Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 29 September 2022

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