Forgotten Gems-Viking-Do or die
In the last ten or so years viking metal is normally metal with some chants and maybe folk elements mixed in. Back in the mid-late 1980's in the thrash hey day there was Viking the band. They liked the viking and battle theme (obviously), but they played pure thrash. These guys hailed from California and started out as Tracer. They released a demo in 1986, appeared on Metal Massacre 8, signed to Metal Blade and this their debut in 1987. This album frequently gets split reviews. Half of the people seem to dislike them because they sound a like Slayer and Dark Angel and the other half like them...because they sound like Slayer and Dark Angel. Since I am putting this a category with the word "gem" you can guess what I think of it. The above influences are obvious, but other bands of the drew on this sound as well. However for me Viking go beyond just being a copy. They crank out the riffs like those two other bands, but they also stay heavy throughout their songs and don't just ride on one riff. I actually enjoy this album more now then I did when I first heard it in the late 80's. They knew how to really keep the momentum going. The production is raw even for the time, their sound prevails despite that. The band released "Man of straw" a year later then broke up in 1990 after two of the members had become Christians and decide not to continue with the band. Guitarist Brett Eriksen would end up in Dark Angel. A version of Viking would reform years later. Don't let this album fade into the past, check it out if you have never heard it and you should be delighted by some old style thrash.