Heavy Load - Daybreak Ecstasy

18 Jun
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Much like other high quality but under appreciated European traditional metal bands (220 Volt, Overdrive, Ostrogoth, Avenger) Sweden’s beery Vikings Heavy Load slugged it out in the trenches long before anybody bothered to notice ‘em. Partially to blame were ludicrously small and poorly distributed pressing of their records, but no metal this good should go unheard for any reason, damn it.

Bringing the energy and passion of Motorhead to bear on Scorpions derived clever guitar stylings, Heavy Load embody a hopeful, anthemic sound evoking Viking anthems sung after a lost but well fought battle. Debuting way back in ’78 with a self-financed (and hopelessly rare) record called Full Speed At High Level, the band were on their way to metal non-stardom, but Death Or Glory, their second album is the band’s finest hour. “Heavy Metal Angels” is a classic, fast, riffy, catchy, all that good stuff. “Might For Right” and “Something New” offer good melodies and catchy constructs, but the up-tempo, slamming riffs and unique sound of “Bleeding Streets” make it the easy highlight of the whole damn record for me. This is not to say that “Still There Is Time” and “Daybreak Ecstasy” ain’t damn good, ‘cuz they are. Really good. The record’s sound is bright and lacks bottom, and it would have been nice to give the guitars a touch more bite and lowered the volume on Ragne Wahlquist’s vocals a touch. But then, there’s amazingly sublime and forward looking European heathen anthems like “The Guitar Is My Sword” to compensate for my piddly production complaints. Raise your weapons and march along, gang. This one’s a Swedish metal classic.

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