ASKA – Knight Strike

ASKA – Knight Strike
Released Year:
1. 19442. Queen of Mirrors3. Soul Stealer4. Love Then Oblivion5. Black Flight6. Together7. Janissary8. From Out of the Sky9. Skull & Haiti10. The Lie

ASKA was one of my first encounters with underground heavy metal. I still remember their interviews on Greek ‘zines (but I cannot recall the ‘zines, was it Seventh Sign, Metal Invader or Knights of Sunrise?) and the veil of mystery around this band. Songs like “Blood of the Wolf”, “Killashandra”, “Escape: Victorious”, “Longships”, “Vowbreaker” have been favorites of mine and have always been included in gym playlists while their “Absolute Power” CD is one of my 2000-2010 favorite releases. And I couldn’t have been happier when I was informed that ASKA after a ten year break are back with a new album.

Well, a ten year break is quite along time though mainman and guitarist George Call has always been active one way or another (BANSHEE, CLOVEN HOOF, OMEN) and I was anxious to see if this activity would affect ASKA’s sound. The album kicks off with “1944” a classic aggressive ASKA songs and frankly the band sounds as if they haven’t aged a bit. This perfect mixture of JUDAS PRIEST / ARMORED SAINT / TWISTED SISTER with the distinctive vocals of George Call is back.

Guitar driven with powerful drums and devastating bass, the way I like it. “Queen of Mirrors” is more mid-tempo however it doesn’t stray of the style of the intro song, while the high-pitched vocals of G.C. shred throughout the chorus while the next two songs “Soul Stealer” and “Love then Oblivion” show the more melodic part of ASKA.

Its no secret that ASKA have always been flirting with more melodic metal songs in the style of STRYPER, RATT, ALCATRAZZ etc and these songs are in this style though due to the heavy guitars are quite fitting. “Black fight” is a return to the heavy side of ASKA a mid-tempo nightmarish heavy hitter and “Together”, though the title is a little bit confusing is the fastest track of the album. Maybe my favorite track, I don’t know I haven decided yet, but it has everything. Its devastating with a melody break. “Janissuary” is another fast track with an epic vibe. Another favorite and definitely a song to be performed live.

The following tracks “From out of the Sky” and “Skoll and Hati” are more mid-tempo, more anthemic and epic, especially the latter one. Frankly “Skoll and Hati” sounds like a sequel of the bands epic songs “Angels of War” or “Imperial Rome” and I think that this is a song that will touch each MANOWAR fan out there. Last song “The Lie” is an epic eight minute track with various tempo changes, epic, notorious and vile that sounds like a mid eighties BLACK SABBATH songs combined with DIO and MANOWAR. Fucking great.

ASKA are back with another solid album. All songs sound inspiring but the highlight is the stellar guitar work, and the distinctive vocals of George Call. Frankly George Call is one of the most expressive vocalists of the “newer” generation, His throaty vocals with the trademark hearse are hard to come by nowadays. But whats most important is the band’s commitment into classic 80’s American metal. They sound as if they came straight from this era but with a bumped production and more focused songwriting. Definitely worth the wait for such and album.

To sum up I firmly believe that this is one of the years highlights. Its heavy, catchy, aggressive and melodic, traits that you can rarely find these days.

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