Viking - No Child Left Behind

Viking No Child Left Behind cover
No Child Left Behind
Independent Release
Do you remember Viking? A thrash band, quite reminiscent of latter day Dark Angel, Anacrusis, Atrophy, Cyclone Temple and the like. They started out as Tracer and changed their name to Viking releasing a couple of cool albums in the late 80s that made them cult favorites. Now, with a couple of their members becoming born again Christians at that time there was reluctance to tour, so the band fell apart in the early 90s, only to reunite in 2011, releasing a limited 2CD compilation in 2013 and this new album currently, independently.
Matt & Ron return on drums and vocals respectively, with Mike Gonzalez from Dark Angel, joining in on bass and a new guy Justin Zych, replacing “brother” Brett, who after the second Viking album actually joined Dark Angel, for a couple of years in a bizarre twist of fate. The band, sounds, quite rejuvenated and on track, utilizing the technological advancements in recording to their benefit.
“9:02 on Flight 182” actually is a song, about a 1978 airplane tragedy that happened in California, (gee way before I was born) and is considered to be the deadliest air disaster in that state. Obviously Ron must have witnessed the event and it has stayed with him, to decide to write something about it, after all these years. It’s not ultrafast, but it is quite groovy, slightly reminiscent of a more melodic take on the somewhat punk inspired style, that Slayer have become synonymous for using in their past few albums.
“By the Brundlefly” is not too different, only more treble and less interesting, with a solo sticking out, in a quite obnoxious way, as it was almost misplaced in there.
“Blood Eagle” returns to that DA/late Slayer style, but does a slightly better job, as it’s a lot more aggressive.
“Debt to Me” fails to excite, as much, being slower and more old school sounding, its chorus, ain’t half as bad though.
“An Ideal Opportunity” has a couple of interesting moments and tries to differentiate itself from the rest of the material, but ultimately, isn’t as big as the sum of its parts.
“Eaten by a Bear” tries to be atmospheric – but is almost ridiculous, with only the ferocious drumming and an odball solo that gets somewhat better along the way, saving grace.
“Wretched Old Mildred” continues the effort to create a horror-thrash, hybrid and manages to do a somewhat better job at times being reminiscent of Slayer around “Reign in Blood”...
“A Thousand Reasons I Hate You” is quite funny and not so bad and I can think of some NY bunch of thrash-cunts, that I’d easily dedicate this to…
“Helen Behind the Door” is kinda bizarre, with its Annihilator tactics, but it doesn’t manage to impress thoroughly…
Last but not least, “Burning from Within” mixes all sort of speeds in a cornucopia of thrash, that’s hardly “Christian” in ethos…
At any rate, Viking are back, sounding like themselves really, more-or-less, only 20 odd years later and with a couple of members changed. Like an evolved version of themselves, had they never disbanded, but still quite recognizable. The cover is once again adorned by some Viking (who bears a striking resemblance to Brian Blessed btw.) in a heroic pose, making them hard to mistake for any other band. If you liked them back in the day, you will probably like them now. They still have this Dark Angel meets Slayer style, only a bit more brought up to date... Not something earth-shattering, but not bad, by any means.