|Review: Heavy Load - Riders of the Ancient Storm|
|Riders of the Ancient Storm|
Label: No Remorse Records
Year released: 2023
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 18, 2023
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Riders of the Ancient Storm
Rated 4.4/5 (88%) (5 Votes)
It has been fully forty fucking years since Heavy Load released their last album, 1983's Stronger Than Evil, and it should be bigger news that they have finally released a follow-up. This is one of the underground taproots of Trad Metal, being a band who had a huge influence even though they never broke really big.
Still built around the core of the Wahlquist brothers, you would not know this is a bunch of old dudes if nobody told you. Heavy Load have managed to make an album that is both classic-sounding and completely modern. The all-analog production is pro but not overdone and not too slick, while the songwriting sounds just like the old days without coming across as dated. I find that kind of amazing considering the very strong '70s vibe a lot of these songs have. Like, "Angel Dark" honestly sounds like it could be a lost Styx or Kansas tune, and yet it doesn't make you roll your eyes. The riffs are big, veering back and forth between Doom and '70s arena rock, while the tag-team vocals from the brothers will make you doubt the validity of time, as they do NOT sound like a couple of 60+ year old men.
Really, the whole album sounds like the band could have recorded it in 1985. The compositions, the styling, the recording—everything sounds like time just moved out of the way and let these guys make a classic album. If you are a fiend for all-analog Trad Metal like this, then you will go insane over this one.
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