RIDERS OF THE ANCIENT STORM
Yiannis Dolas, a review that will stay with me for many days. From what I understand, you took the time to delve deeply into every song, thank you.
I also want to say thank you for appreciating the soundscape of the album. We were aiming for exactly what you are talking about, namely: depth, width and transparency.
You say that you wish us titans to give you more in the near future. We are already working on new material for another album. But we are also longing to enter the stage and make our music heard. So, as always in life, what is to come is hidden in the mist dancing over the Dark Sea.
“I wish the passion, the inspiration and creativity of those titans ... will give us some more awesome material like that in the near future! [...] 'Ride The Night' ... an instant classic [...] 'Walhalla Warriors' ... all the magic that our favorite music had in the past golden decades [...]'Slave No More' ... Songs like this aren’t written anymore, because that mold is broken ... What’s impressive is the 'asymmetrical' guitar riff that goes through the song and the nightmarish keyboards, while Styrbjörn’s drums thunder faster and faster. [...] 'Sail Away' ... Hearing that song gave me goosebumps.”
Yiannis Dolas of Rockpages.gr, December 5, 2023 [klick for the review]
Tony Asplund, 9/10, “No fillers – Only killers!” you say. I am warmed at heart reading your review, especially when you add “Warmth, feeling, and sincerity”; a big thank you.
“Everything one expects is there – the meaty riffs, the solos, the singing – and all delivered with ... warmth, feeling, and sincerity ... [...] The more I listen, the more I find new favorite passages in the songs – they have really succeeded in capturing THAT which characterizes Heavy Load and their sound . . . [...] No fillers – Only killers!” (Free translation from Swedish to English)
Tony Asplund of Rockbladet, November 21, 2023. [klick for the review]
André Millom, 8/10. You say that “everything is just so wonderful”'. Wonderful is the right word when reading your review. You also say that “it’s impossible to resist the wrestler choruses.” I must say: I am longing for the day we will sing them with the audience.
“The catchy melodies and the fairy-tale-like theme are crowd-pleasing all the way through ... it's IMPOSSIBLE to resist the wrestler choruses in songs like “Ride The Night” & “Walhalla Warriors”. Everything is just SO wonderful!” (Free translation from Swedish to English)
André Millom of Rockbladet, November 21, 2023.
[klick for the review]
LOUD AND PROUD
Massimo Incerti Guidotti of Loud and Proud, (86/100) I feel very honored by your words and hope that with our next album we can live up to the same judgement. In your rich review, you highlight, among other things, how it comes that Heavy Load sounds the way we do, and from a historical perspective. You make me proud to be a part of the movement that we all call Heavy Metal, or True Metal if you will. Many thanks for a readable and interesting review.
“Rarely have we listened to comeback records as inspired and credible as 'Riders Of The Ancient Storm', ... [...]...an album written, recorded, and produced in the spirit of the most epic and melodic heavy metal without any trace of modernism. [...] Compared to the band's early albums, the arrangements are more polished and mature, with guitars played with considerable feeling, but without sacrificing the energy, immediacy, and metallic spirit always embodied by the group ... [..] ... the voice reaching peaks of intensity and lyricism worth noting [...] 'Riders of The Ancient Storm' is the quintessence of the most enthralling and epic heavy metal, which, from a sonic point of view, represented an inevitable evolution of the path already trodden by hard rock – but with harder tones and sounds – and with considerable effort also from a narrative point of view. From this last perspective, Ragne Wahlquist this time has really outdone himself, conceiving a Viking-themed saga that will lead to the publication of several books; the first of these, 'Wahlgaard Saga', reflected in the lyrics of four pieces of the record.” (Free translation from Italien to English)
Massimo Incerti Guidotti, Loud and Proud, November 15, 2023 [klick for the review]
Heiko of Moshpitpassion.de, 9/10 I understand that for you the songs grow with multiple listens. This pleases me, and personally, I prefer such music. Your comments are truly interesting, and I thank you for taking the time for several listens, where you also suggest that “Each song creates its own identity
“I would always count their albums ‘Death or Glory’ (1982) and ‘Stronger than Evil’ (1983) among the very best works of classic heavy metal. For me, these albums stand far above some of the greatest classics. So many hits with catchy appeal as found on these two records, some bands don't achieve in their entire career. [...] ‘Ride the Night’ ... They are truly, REALLY back! [...] ‘Slave No More’ ... Styrbjörn, who vocally excels in the chorus. [...] ‘Raven is Calling’ ... completely captivates me from start to finish [...] ‘Sail Away’ ... Over the top? Absolutely! Does it have to be? Absolutely!”
“Part of the magic is due to the production ... and the album has a wonderful warm, analogue sound [...] ... sounds dynamic, lively, and almost unique in today's world. [...] With each additional playthrough, the songs were able to unfold more and more. [...] Each song creates its own identity, and no two sound alike” (Free translation from German to English)
Heiko of Moshpitpassion.de, November 4, 2023. [klick for the review]
Nikos Stamatogiannis, your words make my heart sing of joy and my fingers long to dance over the frets; thank you.
“Heavy metal album of the year, without a single doubt. [...] The songs are unique, while still being classic heavy metal ... [...] The solos and the lead guitar parts are full of soul and passion (check out what happens halfway into “Angel Dark”). The choruses and the vocal lines ooze melody and demand to be sung along. The orchestral parts are giving such an enormous boost, whether they are used for epicness, like on “Walhalla Warriors”, dramatic effect, like on “Raven Is Calling”, or plain catchiness, like on “Ride The Night”. The lyrics read like a book of adventures, and they are significantly based on the Wahlgaard Saga, which is a series of novels by Ragne Wahlquist, reciting a family saga in a Viking age setting.”
Nikos Stamatogiannis of Metal Storm, October 2023. [klick for the review]
Sergio Rapetti of Metal.it, you say “intoxicating victory”; thank you for the strong and uplifting words. We wanted to let each song take its own path and have its own identity. It pleases me that you speak about this perspective.
“I must admit that it was a pleasure to discover that it is exactly as I would have expected: old-school, even in the sound rendering, with that pleasant ... blend of Hard Rock, Heavy & Epic Metal on which Ragne Wahlquist’s characteristic voice stands out, complemented by that inevitable imagery that refers to the Viking sagas, a theme also characteristic of their covers. [...] ‘Ride the Night’, an anthemic opener that ... hints at where the roots of European Power Metal lie. [...] ‘Walhalla Warriors’ ... the various musicians carve out tasty solo spaces without giving up the teamwork that makes it one of the most representative moments of the album. [...] ‘Slave No More’ with its development between the doom-like and the progressive, again featuring Styrbjörn on vocals ... a performance deserving open applause ... [...] ‘Raven Is Calling’ and the pathos expressed by ‘Sail Away’, both led by the Wahlquist brothers (with Ragne doing an excellent job on keyboards as well) and brought to an intoxicating victory.”
Sergio 'Ermo' Rapetti of Metal.it, October 2023. (Free translation from Italien to English.) [klick for the review]
Michael Toscher of FFM-ROCK, (10/10) what else can I say but that your words make my creative joy flourish, and that is so wonderful.
“... My candidate for Heavy Metal Album of the Year. [...] ... every facet sparkles, standing as an individual, I come to the conclusion with this disc, embellished with a great fantasy cover artwork: The Swedish steel mothership has impressively shown how it’s done! [...] An album cannot be recorded more individually, more elegantly majestic, more heroic, and unique than HEAVY LOAD delivers these days! My candidate for Heavy Metal Album of the Year. [...] HEAVY LOAD have made a dignified comeback after four decades in the antique sound grid, leaving behind their powerful statement, a tribute to a mighty volcanic eruption. Vigorously hymnal, timeless, majestically gripping heroic - Scandinavian Epic Viking-Metal at its best! - Welcome back!!! 10/10. (Free translation from German to English)
Michael (Odin’s Raven) Toscher of FFM-ROCK, October 15, 2023. [klick for the review]
Nuno Babo of Metal Imperium, (8/10) I believe you attribute too much importance to Heavy Load in the development of Heavy Metal. Of course, I feel honored and happy by your wordds. Still, we do as we have always done; play with all our heart and soul. What more can we do?"
“... in the evolution of Heavy Metal, we can conclude that if it were not for these gentlemen, current heavy music might be very different from what it is ... [...] A long, long time ago (1978) ... [...] ... these musicians were already delivering what would come to be known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, in this case, more precisely, Swedish Wave of Heavy Metal. [...] The themes continue to be intense, cadenced, epic, and punctuated by excellent melodies and guitar solos. To accentuate the majestic sense of the themes, some have classical touches, which contribute to giving more emphasis to the arrangements and making the music even more monumental.
In terms of lyrics, these gentlemen primarily use themes related to the Viking heritage, i.e., while the members of Bathory were playing with Legos and Joey DeMaio was learning to work with pyrotechnics for Black Sabbath shows, these gentlemen were already singing about the epic feats of that mythical people.” (Free translation from Portuguese to English)
Nuno Babo, Rating 8/10. [klick for the review]
ROCK HARD, GREECE
Dimitris Tsellos, (8,5/10) it makes me really happy that you appreciate what we do and I especially share your view on the value of analogue recordings. We try to create a deep and wide soundscape with nuances and warmth. From your words I understand that we are moving towards such qualities. Thank you for showing such interest in what we do and how we do it.
“Hence, it’s impossible for HEAVY LOAD, with so many years of history and hailing from Sweden, not to use vintage recording methods. This is their forte! The sound of “Riders...” is wonderful, having the required dynamics and clarity, “flattering” the final result. Take notes, recordings like this here show the way.
With romance, nostalgia, sparks in the eyes, and the flame of a heart that refuses to age! [...] The old Swedish wolves stand firm on their feet, exuding confidence mainly because they have nothing left to prove, and their ideas radiate an impressive freshness. [...] What should we expect from HEAVY LOAD in 2023? The obvious. To have retained all the elements that made up their musical identity from their debut until today. To have evolved them as much as they can, of course, without affecting their sound. The vocal switches between Ragne and Styrbjörn, the harmonies, the solidity of the compositions, the raw heroic character... In a word, their character. Did I find these elements? After many listens, the answer is a resounding yes. So enthusiastic and unexpectedly!”
(Free translation from Greeek to English) Dimitris Tsellos of Rock Hard Greece, October 5, 2023
Dimitris Tsouanas. Published October 6, 2023. [klick for the review]
COVER OF MAGAZINE “HEAVY METAL PAGES” FROM POLAND
REPORTAGE AND ARTICLES
REVIEWS OF SHOWS
INTERVIEWS REPORTAGE AND ARTICLES
STRONGER THAN EVIL 2018
REVIEWS OF THE RE-RELEASE