Viking

Do Or Die Viking - Do Or Die (Metal Blade) 1988

1. "Warlord" (4:14)
2. "Hellbound" (2:37)
3. "Militia Of Death" (2:39)
4. "Prelude/Scavenger" (3:46)
5. "Valhalla" (3:17)
6. "Burning From Within" (3:35)
7. "Berserker" (3:37)
8. "Killer Unleashed" (4:00)
9. "Do Or Die" (4:25)

In the mid-1990's thrash metal was on top of the world but it was also a time when the sound was splintering into many different directions. While some bands were exploring more melodic directions, others were pushing the boundaries of speed and aggression. Many were following in the footsteps of Slayer. Bands like Dark Angel certainly fell into that category. Viking's "Do Or Die" falls into that category as well, with a big nod to Dark Angel and Slayer's "Reign in Blood". The production on this one holds it back a bit. Whereas raw production works sometimes (see Metallica's 'Kill 'em All or Vengeance Rising's "Human Sacrifice), here it's just a mish-mash of speed and vocals. That is not to say this album is crap. Far from it. "Warlord" is a killer thrash number that reminds me of Dark Angel's "Darkness Descends". The song also has a thrash break at the end that reminds me of "Perish in Flames". Other standout cuts would be "Valhalla" and "Scavenger". Of the two Viking albums I prefer the follow-up as the band learned to slow things down at times which in turn gave the songs and riffs more room to breath. Still, I can't help but enjoy the youthful intensity and energy of this release. "Do Or Die" wasn't about song writing, it was about relentless speed and extreme intensity.

This CD was originally released on Metal Blade Records. My copy, while being a factory pressed CD with full color inserts, seems to be a bootleg. There is no record company information, nor is there any copyright or publishing information.

Man of Straw Viking - Man Of Straw (Lost & Found) 1989

1. "White Death" (5:21)
2. "They Raped The Land" (6:20 )
3. "Twilight Fate" (3:37)
4. "The Trial" (3:37)
5. "Case Of The Stubborns" (4:35)
6. "Winter" (7:44)
7. "Hell Is For Children" (4:11)
8. "Creative Divorce" (6:23)
9. "Man Of Straw" (4:54)
BONUS TRACKS
10. "Prelude/Scavenger" ['86 demo] (4:27)
11. "Do Or Die" ['86 demo] (4:34)
12. "Abortuary" ['89 demo] (6:04)
13. "Valhalla" [live] (3:57)

An underground thrash metal classic. Viking's claim to fame was guitarist Brett Eriksen who went on to join Dark Angel. However, Viking were no slackers themselves. They released two thrash gems. "Man Of Straw" was the band's sophomore release and is a mature move forward from the debut. While their first album was speed for speed sake, "Man of Straw" varies the tempos from song to song with some fast and furious riffing, as well as some more mid-tempo grooves. I'd say it was a conscious effort to improve songwriting and musicianship over the debut. Another big improvement over the debut is the production. This album was produced by Gordon Shumway, which of course is a psuedo-name for Metal Blade's Bill Metoyer. Together with Ron Eriksen they create a punishing, thrash metal album. My favorite tracks of the album are "Winter" which features some choice riffs reminiscent of Vio-lence and Exodus, and album opener "White Death". Another standout cut is the Pat Benetar cover, "Hell Is For Children". I don't remember Benetar's version sounding so crushingly heavy. "The Trial" is an interesting cut that features some blatantly Biblical lyrics about the Son of God and his love for mankind. Not a usual theme in thrash. However it is widely known in metal circles that drummer Matt Jordan and guitarist/vocalist Ron Eriksen (real name: Ron Daniel) became Christians, and thus Ron rewrote all the lyrics on "Man of Straw" to be more Christian-friendly. After the band broke up Ron Daniel became a pastor for Calvary Chapel, I believe.

For years "Man of Straw" was out of print and vehemently sought after. It sold for a premium price on Ebay despite the fact that Ron Daniel had the entire album for free download on Calvary Chapel Cheyenne's web site. In 2006 Lost & Found Records re-released "Man of Straw". The re-release features improved sound quality, four bonus tracks, song by song commentary and tons of photos of the band.

The Trial
Music: James Lareau, Ron Eriksen
Lyrics: Ron Eriksen

Judgement day - will you comprehend?
Beckons close at hand
Those of us that were born again
And those who curse the holy land
Brought forth before the Son of God
The One Who loved enough to die
We will be not judged by our works and deeds
But by our faith when we are tried
Respond to the Holy One
Why you think that He should spare
A man who mocked and cursed His name
Or knew the truth and did not care?
Drink the blood of the King of Kings
Love the Savior of the human race
Kneel before Him, discard your rings
And pray that He will give you grace
(Chorus)
He was born unto a virgin
A birth from royal seed
The truest test of prophets
Is truthful prophecy
Know the Prophet was no bastard
We did not deserve His death
Just the thought of what He did for me
Forever I will be His slave
His own kind refused acknowledgement
Crucified the Chosen One
As the sun set behind the cross of thieves
Dying, He knew His work was done
(Solo - Ron)
Our cross He had to bear
He rose as the final sign
Sill searching for the prophet "true"
The Jews are left behind
(Chorus)
He was born unto a virgin
A birth from royal seed
When you are brought to trial
Will you die in blasphemy?

Viking also appeared on Metal Massacre VIII with a song titled "Hellbound".

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