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Viking - Do Or Die (Reissue)

Do Or Die (Reissue)
by Andrew Harvey at 02 July 2021, 9:45 PM

VIKING are a Thrash Metal band who have been well known since the mid 1980’s however they took a break going on a hiatus in 1990 before reuniting in 2011, but they originally came together in 1986. There have been a few changes in the lineup from when they first formed in 1986 and when they reunited in 2011, the lineup changed once more. They come from the city of Los Angeles, California (USA) and this is a reissue of their debut album, "Do Or Die" which was originally released in 1988 through the record label, Metal Blade Records, and now reissued by High Roller Records.

The opening track “Warlord” if you listen carefully we hear the natural sounds of what might be crickets before the track goes into a more progressive and Thrash styled approach. The sustain of a single guitar strum gives way for all the other instruments to come into the mix all in full force. The following track “Hellbound” continues the same musical characteristics plus gang vocals and stunning guitar solos.

“Milita Of Death” is another short segment as was the previous track as this track is just under 3 minutes long. Both guitar and drums race onwards in quick succession together with the inclusion of more epic guitar solos. “Prelude/Scavenger” opens with thrilling guitar effects and there is more of a focus on sustained guitar notes. “Valhalla” slows right down with the tempo within the first minute before there are more of the thrash influences in all instruments to allow the guitar to go wild and into overdrive.

“Burning From Within” begins with a slow tempo like the previous track began, although this time around, all hell breaks loose straight away. Drums are providing the galloping rhythm with the spark of creative continuity. Guitar embarks on an immense and fast paced section with solos, which is the driving force and guiding the narrative of this track. “Berserker” mostly repeats what we heard before in the previous track with pulsating guitar and a pack of a punch with drums.

“Killer Unleashed” is captured with a bass guitar intro, which we don’t often hear especially with a band like this. The drums come in after a minute and are heavy; perhaps the overall mix with drums is too focused on the lower frequencies making this sound muddy. But we then come to the final track of this album which of course is “Do Or Die” which seems to bring us more of a power metal sound with wicked vocals. The guitar and drums seem to lead the other instruments into the fore before the track comes to a close.

Overall the album has its energy, commitment and mixture of themes suggesting war, violence and what sounds like a statement on what society is like today. Especially in the late 1980’s when politics and war covered the news headlines in the U.S.A. when the band released this album. I have to say I wouldn’t be convinced that this album defines the Thrash Metal sound we know.

Throughout the album there is so much going on that the outcome of the production side of this album doesn’t really do this album justice. I found it hard to listen to the individual instruments since the drums sounded a bit excessive with low range tones. In conclusion, it’s an album that will only appeal to those who dig into fast thrash metal but not the same thrash metal especially with the drums and tone of this band.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Warlord
2. Hellbound
3. Militia Of Death
4. Prelude/Scavenger
5. Valhalla
6. Burning Down Within
7. Berserker
8. Killer Unleashed
9. Do Or Die
Rob Eriksen - Vocals and Guitar
Brett Eriksen - Guitar
James Leareau - Bass
Matt Jordan - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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Edited 02 December 2022

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