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No Child Left Behind
July 2015
Released: 2015, Independent
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Back in the genre’s heyday of the late ‘80s, Viking was one of the more polarizing thrash metal bands, with many fans and a seemingly equal number of detractors. I actually came to Viking’s thrash party late in the game, well after the band broke up in the early ‘90s but have immensely enjoyed the band’s music since then. When I heard that Ron Erikson was rekindling the Viking flame, I was excited to find out if the band still had “it”.

I happy to say then, that after many listens to the independently-released NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, that Viking is just as great as they were back in the day. The minute that frantic opener “9:02 on Flight 182” kicks in, it’s clear that the album will be a thrash fan’s paradise, continuing the considerable Bay Area legacy. Erikson’s vocals are as frenzied as ever, being a perfect complement to the Dark Angel backbone of Mike Gonzalez and Gene Hoglan, along with new man Justin Zych’s impressive leads. As the album moves from strength to strength, it becomes clear that Erikson has resurrected the band for the right reasons, namely, the love of thrash metal.

Viking has always had a hint of the progressive in their music, and NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND continues that trend. While the first few songs are relatively conventional thrash, once the bizarre “Eaten by a Bear” hits, it becomes clear that Viking have not lost the sense of musical adventure. The song’s highlighted by odd lyrics and a vocal performance from Erikson that isn’t afraid to stretch his vocal chords. It’s not the most enjoyable song on the album, but it certainly is memorable. Simlarly, “Wretched Old Mildred” and “Helen Behind the Door” attempt to inject new ideas into the music, for which Viking must be congratulated, even if the results tend to make me want to scurry back to the more orthodox head bangs of “Debt to Me” and “By the Brundlefly”.

So, was Viking’s return triumphant and worth the wait? Absolutely! NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND is a masterclass of authentic thrash and proves that these old dogs still have a thing or two they can teach the younger bands.
Track Listing

1. 9:02 on Flight 182
2. By the Brundlefly
3. Blood Eagle
4. Debt to Me
5. An Ideal Opportunity
6. Eaten by a Bear
7. Wretched Old Mildred
8. A Thousand Reasons I Hate You
9. Helen Behind the Door
10. Burning from Within


Ron Erikson: Vocals, Guitar
Justin Zych: Lead Guitar
Mike Gonzalez: Bass
Gene Hoglan: Drums



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