Review: The Road Vikings – 'Requiem Of An Outlaw Biker'

C’mon people, Bikers and vikings all rolled into one, add some shredding guitars and a song about Evel Kneivel and what more do you want in your life?

To back up the above this San Francisco Quartet quote themselves as, “A modern version of a living, breathing biker movie from the other side of hell. On stage and in your face”. Now how this foursome from a lovely, warm climate and placed in a metropolis have any idea about the life of a viking other than TV and movies I have no idea. As a Scotsman I bet they could not handle one winter here (yes this is a challenge) but I was still intrigued to find out what was in store as they just spliced together two of my loves.

The album opens with “Black Magic Nights” and it’s dirty, sludgy and dripping in motor oil. It is a mix of Venom/Sabbath and Zakk at his most evil. A brilliant opener. From that great start we go downhill like a freewheeling bike from the summit of Mount Everest with “Headwind”. Sorry guys but this one just didn’t fit for me. It was like a Crue/Malmsteen out take and it doesn’t deserve to be on this brilliant album.

“Live To Ride” is back in the saddle (get used to it folks these links are coming hard and fast). It reminded me of Twisted Sister’s song of the same name but it has the sludgy sound kicking in again…that is more like it. Now we come to ” The Ballad Of Evel Knievel”. Now bear with me here folks but I was never too sure what the hype was with this man. I was a kid in the 70s and any time I saw him he crashed. Thinking of it now the Toy Story quote “Falling with Style” fits really well. I do not think I ever saw him make a jump but hey the jumpsuits were cool as were the broken bones sticking through them but the song is fantastic. it isn’t too serious and with a chorus of ” Feel The Engine Roar” and ” legend In heaven, legend In Hell” its a whole bag of fun and this is where we get to taste the wears of Dan Bryant’s shredding and it is worthy of Odin’s approval.

“Emergency” is basically a drinking song for bikers and Vikings alike. Both would agree for a while and after a heavy session probably get into a fight and that is where the emergency comes in…but they will all be chanting”get me a beer” in the ambulance.  “Full Moon” starts off like maiden’s “Wasted Years” and is as cunning and mischievous as Loki on a mission. It has a killer chorus and a made for the stage chant. A great breakdown piece and the killer axe is out. “I Burn In Hell” is a zombie sounding beast of a tune. It takes you back to the 80s and rocks you good and proper.

Now the title track was born and raised in a deep south swamp. I can smell moonshine, gasoline and gators but you will be happy to know there are no fiddles to be heard. I loved the lazy assed make up of this song and it quickly became a favourite. “The Road To Valhalla” crept up as a good second place for me. The screaming chorus tied in with the chugging riffs makes for a great slice of metal. It is a Bat Out Of Hell for the new millennium and with the shredding involved you have opened the doors and all your warrior brothers await you at Odin’s table.

With a title like “Lovebound” you may think, “oh crap a love song”, but think Spinal Tap, especially when you are hearing” Swing it, shake it round and round” but like all the songs on this album they fail to fall into the Steel Panther bracket. The songs are far too solid.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Bar the one glitch, it is made up of some excellent songs, songs that want to party, want to get a beer, sit down and talk crap till you collapse in a stupor. So get out your drinking horn, download or buy this album and toast to The Road Vikings…All hail the all father!!

Review Ritchie Birnie

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