Viking Skull – Heavy Metal Thunder [Album] Review

Viking Skull - Heavy Metal Thunder [Album]
Viking Skull’s latest album is something of a get-out clause as they repeat the same line-up of tracks as seen on their début EP, Chapter One and their first full length album, Born In Hell, only with five new songs to makes fans smile. Normally, no artist would be forgiven for such a blatant act of self-plagiarism but when it is Viking Skull, you cannot help but let them off the hook. Viking Skull have been going since 2003 and even today, have not yet hit the heady heights of rock and roll fame but its not for lack of trying. This time, Viking Skull unleash a proper North American release and the result is about as hell raising and downright sensational as we have come to expect from these Corby rockers.

Viking Skull play rock music how it was invented to be played. No clichés, no electro-influences and certainly no Indie vocal babble – just good old bluesy rock and roll, right out of the sermon books of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. The foundations lie in guitar riffs heavy enough to rip your ears right off your face whilst lyrically, they cite every rock star stereotype that exists.

It would be easy to sum this album up as a modern day masterpiece but that would be wrong – it would also be doing Viking Skull a huge disservice!
Double entendres and hidden meanings are stamped all over this record from ‘Crazy Trucker’s‘ “emptying my load” to the more overt connotations of ‘Inject My Woman With Love.‘ Yes, Viking Skull are as uncultured and rough around the edges as it is possible to be and are perhaps best summed up by their defining anthem, ‘Rape, Pillage and Burn.’

When it comes to resonating the early sounds of such rock contemporaries as Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, Viking Skull have nailed the aesthetic perfectly, with lots of bluesy examples of early heavy metal and plenty of mid-paced crunch; periodically veering into softer, hard rock oriented territory. Viking Skull are always growing as a band though and are now unafraid to drop a cheeky soft ballad into the mix. When they do, the result is breathtaking; not a cheesy love song akin to Shinedown but in keeping with their style, a drinking homage in the Pantera-influenced ‘Skulls and Whiskey.’ Imagine the brilliance of ‘Walk’ with the swagger of Mick Jagger and the attitude of Liam Gallagher and you are only half way to experiencing the joy that is Viking Skull.

Front man Roddy Stone plays a huge part in the album; his whiskey-stained vocals perfectly complementing the brash, riff-driven interior of every song. He almost growls and grunts out the words to each track, sounding every bit the front man to a typically English rock band. The American attitude is present throughout, but Viking Skull represent the typical English vision of a down-and-out; drunk, smoked up to the eyeballs and out of work – and celebrating it well.

It would be easy to sum Heavy Metal Thunder up as a modern day masterpiece but that would be wrong – it would also be doing Viking Skull a huge disservice! Viking Skull are a modern band but their music lives in the past, back to the heydays of classic rock pioneers who have since gone down in history. Viking Skull should surely follow suit and with the release of a brand new EP fast approaching, if Viking Skull do not find the success and fame that they seek, I just might have to have a word with the industry giants myself, for no rock album around today will come close to this one!

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