Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Road Vikings - Requiem Of An Outlaw Biker (2016)

The Road Vikings are a crossbreed between metal and rock, but to me it just sounds like classic heavy metal and I love it. Coming straight out of California, (San Francisco to be precise) these guys have a hell of a lot of promise with this stunning sophomore album, which I'd recommend for fans of Judas Priest, especially when Tim “Ripper” Owens fronted them. Now there's also a hard rock semblance here, but it's nothing that I haven't heard on newer Priest records and is delivered with enough bite to matter. Seriously, these guys have got it and someone just needs to take note of that. Dan Bryant is the mastermind behind this project and he certainly can play just as well as he can sing (remember, he sounds like Ripper) which is why several of these cuts simply explode with frantic fretwork that you'll have to hear to believe. “Black Magic Knights”, “Full Moon” and personal favorite “I Burn In Hell” are examples of some of the best that this record has to offer and that's not just in the lieu of catchy choruses, which they all deliver pretty well on – it's also the song structure utilized, which you'll catch after listening to the disc for just a few minutes. As “I Burn In Hell” is literally the album opener, you're already going to bare witness to the sheer majesty of Bryant's playing skills, which are downright astounding and again, need to be taken note of. I don't care who you are, you can't tell me that this man can't play and exceptionally well. Not to mention that there are some keyboards and other things in the mix that bring a little bit of unexpected prog to the compositions and I'm certainly not going to turn that away if it'll put meat on the songs. I hate to say it, but not even Priest really delved into that territory as has been done here. Dan Bryant has been through literal hell trying to get a project off the ground, but with this one I dare say that he has has it.

I also need to mention that the thumping bass riffs here are performed by Lisa Tonra who also heads up the backing vocals. These can sometimes make for strong duets on a few pieces like “Live To Ride” and “Lovebound.” We also have Dave Dab on drums, who adds that extra punch to these performances and makes his presence known just as much as anyone else. I will say that there's a sort of oddball in “Headwind” which sounds a little less thunderous and more like the prog-rock of Hawkwind, than some of the more piss n' vinegar anthems you'll hear on the disc, but it was obvious something new that they wanted to try out and you'll either love or hate it. As I said, progressive rock is as much of an influence here as the crunching metal side of things and I think that you'll appreciate that just as much as I have. What's not to like about tracks with more to chew on than just a verse and a fucking chorus? But if that's not enough for you, then you'll need to listen to the harmonica shredding on the record's title track. I think it goes without saying that The Road Vikings are something that the world of rock and metal needs to keep it's eyes firmly glued on, and even though I wasn't expecting much at first, I soon became blown away beyond all logical expectation. The record is ten dollars on CD Baby, but you can pay a little more for a physical copy. Either way, these guys are well worth supporting and promoting. Requiem Of An Outlaw Biker has a real sense of purpose, and that's what makes it stand out among the rest of the pack.

(10 Tracks, 46:00)


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