Spitfire‘s debut album, First Attack (1987), is one of the cornerstones of Greek heavy metal history.

That said, the band’s profile outside of the Eastern Mediterranean still remains decidedly low; A variety of woes overtook the band right after the release of their fabled first offering, meaning it was over twenty years before a second album emerged from the band – and now, thirteen years after that, here we are at album number three, Denial To Fall.

The first impression you are left with after a couple of listens to the record is one of solidity. The band don’t take too many risks, preferring to hit a groove early on in the album from which they don’t really deviate. Doubtless long-term fans of the band will be happy with this approach, but it may be a bit risky if the band are indeed seeking to expand their footprint. Apart from an early trio of quality songs in the shape of the title track, Unholy and Ready To Attack, there just aren’t enough memorable moments to snare the listener at first contact.

If you’re prepared to give the record a little more time, however, it starts to give up a few secret here and there. The general sound – Post-Balls To The Walls-era Accept with a wash of keys and power metal drumming – is appealing enough, but the actual paydirt is hit when vocalist Tassos Krokodalis starts to take flight; when he does, the guitars of Elias Logginidis and Panos Hatziioannidis often follow, and together the trio provide most of the standout moments on the album.

On Ready To Attack the pieces fall into place beautifully; here the band indulge some nice trad metal fantasies – Judas Priest fans will find themselves smiling uncontrollably on hearing this track, I’d suspect – and the heads-down, headbanging On My Own ploughs a similar furrow. It’s undemanding stuff, sure, but played with such style that the whole thing is hard to resist – especially the air-guitar-worthy solo.

Nothing earthshaking then – in fact more of a Hawker Hurricane than a Spitfire – but highly enjoyable nonetheless, and probably worthy of inclusion in your collection if you’re a fan of solid, no-frills Euro metal.

Denial To Fall releases on January 21st.