Mastered for vinyl by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in September 2020.
Cutting by SST Germany on Neumann machines for optimal quality on all levels ...
The double punch Viking landed during their initial four-year career was remarkable, and while the Californians’ first full-length “Do Or Die” (1988) still ranks among the strongest thrash debuts that fell under the mainstream’s radar for its brutality and scathingly harsh production, its successor is where the group really began to shine.
Originally released in 1989, “Man Of Straw” showed a band that had matured while honing their chops on tour with heavyweights such as Sacred Reich or Forbidden. While old school thrash was on the wane, Viking successfully managed to incorporate slower parts and a degree of technicality without dulling any of the sharp edges they’d become known for in underground circles.
Even today you needn’t look any further for strong arguments in Viking’s favour than the catchy yet diverse b-side opener ‘Winter’ and ‘Creative Divorce’ with its equally addictive chorus or ‘Case Of The Stubborns’, where drummer Matt Jordan strikes just the right balance between propulsion and finesse.
Speaking of which, ‘They Raped The Land’ conveys the epic spirit of Metallica’s “… And Justice For All” or Dark Angel’s “Time Does Not Heal” while the four-string flourishes in ‘The Trial’ stand right beside Megadeth’s ‘Peace Sells …’ in terms of memorability.
All this got topped off by a classy rendition of Pat Benatar’s ‘Hell Is For Children’ – which was, predictably, turned upside-down by a combo that left many a question unanswered when it suddenly disbanded – that is, until its reunion in 2011 …
For High Roller Records’ 2020 limited LP-only edition (150x black, 150x cyan blue, 200x bone vinyl in heavy cardboard sleeve with insert and poster), “Man Of Straw” was faithfully remastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple Of Disharmony and cut by SST Germany on Neumann machines for optimal quality.