Heavy Load

Stronger Than Evil

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Having established their ‘80s metal credentials with 1982's Death or Glory -- an album that may sound retroactively archaic and cliché-ridden but, in its time, was in fact altogether "modern" -- Sweden's Heavy Load proceeded to repeat the very same formula on their third and final full-length, Stronger Than Evil. Unfortunately, that formula didn't sound quite as fresh this next time around, as evidenced by new standard-bearing metal marches like "The King," "Roar of the North," and the title track -- although the latter did help Heavy Load's case for being the first Viking metal band (not that this constitutes much of a revelation for a bunch of Swedes, of course). Another batch of tracks, including opener "Run with the Devil" and the battle-ready "Singing Swords" helped the group stay current with the emerging speed metal trends, while more melodic hard rockers like "Free" and "Saturday Night" were accessible enough to border on AOR, recalling England's Praying Mantis in the process. However, Heavy Load's lone attempt at the obligatory metal ballad, via the sparingly named "Dreaming," once again failed miserably and proved that this gimmick simply wasn't their strong suit. Unfortunately, the quartet would continue to tempt the heavy metal gods with radio-focused fodder on their next release, 1985's Monsters of the Night EP, which coincided with their signing by the local WEA affiliate, and ironically spelled their final demise when fans rejected it in droves. (On a trivia note, Thin Lizzy legend Phil Lynott is rumored to have played bass on Stronger Than Evil songs "Free" and "Stronger Than Evil," after befriending the Heavy Load boys while touring Scandinavia.]

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