Los Angeles thrashers VIKING have released a rough, pre-release mix of the song "An Ideal Opportunity" from their long-awaited comeback album, "No Child Left Behind". The track features drummer Gene Hoglan (DETHKLOK, ex-DARK ANGEL, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD), bassist Michael Gonzalez (ex-DARK ANGEL), and original VIKING member Ron Daniel Eriksen on vocals and guitar.
According to a press release, "An Ideal Opportunity" thunders throughout with Hoglan's ferocious double kicks from the start, and periodically breaks into the frantic thrash metal speeds listeners have grown to expect from VIKING. The heavy riffing, screams, and solos also mean old-school thrashers won't be disappointed with the new offering. Lyrically, the tune addresses suicidal thoughts from a first-person perspective.
In a recent interview with The Metal Crypt, Eriksen said of the song, "'An Ideal Opportunity' has probably the most transparent lyrics I've ever written. I've struggled with major depression my whole life — it's just something that happens chemically — and I've learned to recognize it for what it is. It's like a storm front that moves in and covers me in darkness for a few hours or a few days and then fades away and I'm fine. One day I decided that if I was going to have to put up with this crap, at least I could get a song out of it. The next time the storm started moving in, I started writing down everything I was feeling."
Clinical depression affects over 350 million people worldwide. Though not completely understood, its causes often involve genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Chemicals called neurotransmitters can be abnormally imbalanced, affecting moods. In the new song, Eriksen describes this as being "blinded by chemicals coming from inside me. Black clouds of darkness — oppressive and hovering."
VIKING also recently released on its Facebook page a partial preview of the cover art for "No Child Left Behind". In a gritty '90s-esque graphic novel style, it depicts a horde of Vikings invading a burning village. With the three-layered photo, they offered this description: "This is just a portion of the album cover for 'No Child Left Behind'. On the left is the original ink, on the right a preliminary quick color. In the center is where we are so far with the final coloring."
No release date for "No Child Left Behind" has yet been announced. Bandmembers have previously stated that they are still deciding on whether to release it independently or to sign on with a record label.
Founded in the spring of 1986 in Los Angeles, VIKING released two full-length albums on the Metal Blade label, 1987's "Do Or Die" and 1989's "Man Of Straw".
Long hailed as one of the most rare and hard to find speed/thrash metal albums by collectors, "Man Of Straw" was re-released in 2006 via Lost And Found Records. This fully licensed CD release was remastered and contained rare and never-before-heard bonus tracks.
In early 2011, Ron Daniel Eriksen and Matt Jordan (drums) resurrected VIKING after a 20-year hiatus.
Video footage of Hoglan in the studio with VIKING can be seen below.