Album Review of
Freedom Ring

Written by Robert Silverstein
August 7, 2021 - 4:08pm EDT
Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star

Back in 2017, Georgia-based singer-songwriter and keyboard virtuoso Arthur Offen released his critically-acclaimed solo debut entitled Seven Wonders. Debut album is a slightly misleading term, especially in light of the fact that Arthur’s musical history dates way back to the early 1970s, all the way back to the beginning and his early band Air Raid – a band that he co-created around 1973 with guitar ace Rick Hinkle. That overlooked Air Raid album was produced by Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer. Sad to say, Air Raid was a short lived prog-rock phenomenon having released just that one album back in 1981. Following three albums with the band Flag in the 1990s and early 2000's Arthur then resurfaced as a solo artist in 2017, and he truly delivered the goods with Seven Wonders. In the wake of Seven Wonders, Arthur is back on track making musical history again with Freedom Ring, the 2021 album written and recorded with the recently reformed Air Raid group.

Clocking in at 45 minutes, each of the seven tracks on Freedom Ring features Arthur’s deeply resonating baritone lead vocals, while bombarding the listener’s sonic sensibilities with vast array of symphonic sounding synth keyboards and much more, topped off by his trademark grand piano sound. On Air Raid’s Freedom Ring, Offen is joined by guitarist / engineer / co-producer and original Air Raid co-founder Rick Hinkle and drummer Jimmy Porter. James Cobb is also credited as writing the song “A Place In The Northland”, featured as track 5 on Freedom Ring. Originally planned for release in 2020, and with the CD pressing tragically held up because of the global pandemic, the all-new Air Raid album Freedom Ring finally arrived on CD the summer of 2021, just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Air Raid album. Freedom Ring is an astounding sounding album mixing progressive rock with a tasteful dose of Arthur’s singer-songwriter based lyrics that was expertly mixed and mastered to sonic perfection by Tom Waltz in Upstate New York. 

As cool as Seven Wonders is, the 2021 release of Freedom Ring is an even more mind-blowing excursion into the land of new prog-rock. Packed with tight musicianship, hard-rock energy and insightful songwriting, the seven track, 45 minute Freedom Ring album more than fits the bill as a groundbreaking album in the realm of early 21st century prog-rock. As Arthur details on his web site, every track on this impressive Air Raid comeback has a unique, sometimes over-the-top story behind it; for example the lead off track “Air Raid” actually dates back to 1973. Reading along with the song lyrics, the song “Air Raid” is surely one of the best prog-rock meets hard-rock tracks of 2021 yet each and every track on Freedom Ring has something to offer progressive music fans, including a massive, grand scale, six-part, 20-minute magnum opus entitled "Lost Horizon" which was inspired by the James Hilton book of the same name from the 1930's. Even with millions of music listeners simply downloading sound files these days, it’s worth noting that the expansive CD packaging is an eye-opening beauty with multi-panel artwork, complete lyrics, and historic liner notes by Arthur providing insights into the production and history of Air Raid’s Freedom Ring. Highly recommended to hard-rock and prog-rock fans.