4.5 out of 5 Stars!
From London, Airrace released its stunning debut album back in 1984, and I immediately predicted the band would be huge.
And boy, was I horribly wrong. I’m still unsure why, however, since even listening to this album now, I’m once again struck by the seemingly perfect balance of AOR and Hard Rock material, with solid performances by all musicians involved (including a very young Jason Bonham on drums), and the crystal clear, powerful vocals of Keith Murrell—sort of a perfect cross between Steve Overland (FM/Overland) and Max Bacon (Nightwing/Bronz/GTR)—shining through.
And the songwriting? Truly exceptional, with every single track being catchy and memorable, especially “First One Over the Line,” “Caught in the Game,” “I Don’t Care,” “Not Really Me,” “All I’m Asking,” and the killer tune “Promise to Call,” with a guitar riff and melodic chorus that repeatedly play in my head whenever I so much as think of the title.
But the band sadly disappeared shortly after the release of this album, only to reappear nearly thirty years later with several new members to release a second collection in 2011, again, to zero fanfare. In my mind, the band’s lack of initial success probably had much to do with timing, with Shaft of Light being released just as England’s “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” movement was really picking up steam.
Regardless, at least I discovered the album (thanks to Kerrang! Magazine) upon its release and I continue to savor it to this very day.