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The Southern California-based speed metal band VIKING was founded
in the spring of 1986.
The original lineup consisted of:

Ron Eriksen Brett Eriksen Matt Jordan James Lareau

Ron Eriksen
Guitar/Vocals

Brett Eriksen
Guitar

Matt Jordan
Drums

James Lareau
Bass



VIKING managed to land a recording contract upon the completion of
their second live concert, a feat practically unheard of in the clubs of Hollywood.
VIKING went on to open for such acts as MEGADETH, FORBIDDEN, and SACRED REICH,
as well as headlining many of their own shows.

  Flyer 3 Flyer 1 Flyer 2  

Click picture at left to watch a two-minute QuickTime video of clips from VIKING concerts!
(21.5Mb)



Releases to feature VIKING include...




Do or Die Demo

In 1986, VIKING entered the studio for the first time to record three songs:
- Hellbound
- Prelude/Scavenger
- Do or Die


Tape trading was huge in the 1980's speed metal scene. Fanzines began to brand this cassette as essential for every collection, and orders from all over the world began to come in the mail daily.




Metal Massacre VIII - Various Artists

The Metal Massacre compilation series from Metal Blade Records has launched the careers of many bands, including RATT, SLAYER, and METALLICA. VIKING was featured on the 8th installment, with the song "Hellbound" from the demo being featured. This was the first of five releases on Metal Blade Records to feature VIKING. It is currently available coupled with Metal Massacre 9.

Ron live



Do or Die

The ferocity of VIKING's first full-length album prompted Hit Parader magazine to write, "Do Or Die bristles with the savage intensity of a pit bull in heat," while Disorder magazine described the album as containing "totally skullcrushing mosh parts combined with ultra fast speed and some really devastating leads."

Do or Die

The songs included were:
Warlord
Hellbound
Militia of Death
Prelude/Scavenger
Valhalla
Burning From Within
Berserker
Killer Unleashed
Do or Die

Being released a year before CDs became standard, the record was only released in LP and Cassette. However, bootleggers have recently begun mass-producing CDs of "Do or Die" and selling them on ebay.




The Best of Metal Blade Records, Vol. 3 - Various Artists

Best of Metal Blade, Vol. 3

The song "Warlord" was featured on this 1988 2-record release, along with tracks from SLAYER, LIZZY BORDEN, TROUBLE, etc.

Metal Blade Records Logo



Leave Scars - Dark Angel

Leave Scars

The world-famous DARK ANGEL invited Ron into the studio to sing a duet (speed-metal style) with DA vocalist Ron Rinehart on "The Promise of Agony." The song is written from the perspective of a man who has determined to end his life, including the lyrics,
I have to wonder, do I still believe in God?
'Cause God no longer believes in me
I lay myself down for my final peace
I welcome death, my spirit is free...

Ironically, this is Ron's last recorded vocal work before becoming a Christian just three months later.

Ron Rinehart



Man of Straw

Man of Straw

(The cover painting for Man of Straw was done early in the career of John Zeleznik, now a world-renowned artist.)

Man of Straw, released early in 1989, was engineered (under the alias of Gordon Shumway) by Bill Metoyer, legendary in metal recording circles. This album was lyrically, musically, stylisticly, and aurally light years ahead of "Do or Die." Having become a born-again Christian just four months before entering the studio to record the album, Ron rewrote the lyrics he had originally penned to omit blasphemies and even proclaim his new-found faith in the song entitled "The Trial." But he was still quite rough around the edges, as evidenced even in the album's song titles:

White Death
They Raped the Land  (lyrics  liner notes)
Twilight Fate
The Trial  (full mp3 [4.2 MB]  lyrics  liner notes)
Case of the Stubborns
Winter
Hell is for Children (liner notes)
Creative Divorce  (lyrics  liner notes)
Man of Straw

Now out of print, original CDs of "Man of Straw" regularly sell for between $50 and $100 on ebay.




Live Scars - Dark Angel

Live Scars

As DARK ANGEL's world tour drew to a close, Ron joined the band onstage at the Country Club in Reseda, CA for a live rendition of "Promise of Agony." Brett had replaced DA guitarist Jim Durkin somewhere on the East Coast and plays on the entire album.

Brett Live Scars pic



Metallic Overdrive - Various Artists

Metallic Overdrive

In 1990, Metal Blade Records released a compilation album of bands such as VIKING, HERETIC, LIZZY BORDEN, and ANVIL entitled "Metallic Overdrive." The VIKING track featured was "Man of Straw." This would be the last record from Metal Blade on which Viking appeared.
ENIGMA 7 73427-2 1990 USA

Ron face



Man of Straw Reissue

By 2006, Man of Straw CDs had become such a valued collectible that Lost and Found Records entered into agreement with Metal Blade to reissue the CD. It was not only digitally remastered, but four bonus tracks were added as well:
- Prelude/Scavenger (from 1986 demo)
- Do or Die (from 1986 demo)
- Abortuary (1989 demo for unreleased 3rd album)
- Valhalla (live from MEGADETH show, Dec. 1986)
LOST AND FOUND RECORDS LFR1002


Note: the Man of Straw tracks available for download on the iTunes Music Store are the old mixes from 1989. They are NOT the remastered tracks available only on this reissue from Lost and Found Records.







Ron Eriksen Brett Eriksen
Ron

Brett

Matt Jordan James Lareau
Matt

James






Viking Band Photo

Although VIKING had a six-album contract with Metal Blade Records and an upcoming U.S. tour with Helstar, Ron knew that his young Christianity would not withstand the temptations of the road. He quit the band in 1990 along with Matt Jordan, who had also recently become a Christian. With only two members remaining, VIKING immediately disbanded.




Brett promo pic
Brett live with Dark Angel

Brett, having replaced DARK ANGEL's Jim Durkin on a world tour, joined the band full time, and released "Time Does Not Heal" before exiting the band himself. In the meantime, Ron and Matt had moved to Oregon, and James pursued a career in sculpture.




Fast-forward 22 years. Bootleggers continue to produce Viking records and merchandise. The voices of a new generation of thrash fans join the relentless requests from long-time followers in demanding the return of Viking.

A new Viking page on Facebook gains over a thousand fans the first week — and continues to grow. An album featuring a combination of new tunes, old recordings, and even some never-before-heard songs from the earliest days is in pre-production. Announcements regarding the band's lineup, record contract, distribution, and shows are expected anytime.




Here's a tiny fraction of Viking's followers on Facebook. Join them to keep up with the latest news!

What fans are saying:

"I heard of these guys back in the 80's, but there was so much stuff out then, I never got the chance to listen to them. This is a first, and I wish I listened to them in the past. Ahead of there time. The riffs are quick as hell, drums crushing, and solo's are excellent. These guys are great."" — Gary C.

"Gotta admit; I really like your songwriting style, arrangements, and especially the lyrics. :)" — Brionn X.

"Viking, you guys are among my favorate thrash metal bands ever! (and I have alot, i mean almost every thrash band from 80-93 era with all of each band's records) Your my band's inspiration, keep thrashin on!" — Eric K.

"HOOAH! VIKING RAWKS! \,,/ Thank you VIKING \,,/" — Walter L.

"total savage assault of deadly thrash metal!!! Stoked to hear the new album from you MANIACS!!!" — Darren W.

"Listening to the man of straw album....You guys are awesome:)" — Andrew G.




Randall Amplifiers RG100ES

The guitar sound on the "Man of Straw" album has been described as "a great clear guitar tone that sounds good even after a few decades" (metal-archives.com). This was a simple combination of Seymour Duncan Invader pickups and the Randall RG100-ES stacks that Ron and Brett had begun using. These amps soon became must-haves when Pantera's Dimebag Darryl began playing them as well.



Seymour Duncan Invader pickup