Heavy Load – “Stronger Than Evil” (1983)

Heavy Load!  There was no band quite like these Nordic sword wielders!  From the frozen tundra of Sweden they roared forth.  Heavy Load had a unique sound all their own.  I have yet to hear the “Heavy Load sound” duplicated by any other metal band.  Their calling card?  Rich, old-fashion melodies (almost like oldies rock and roll) sung over coal-fired metallic riffs and barbarian drums.

Heavy Load released their first album in 1978, making them Sweden’s first real metal band.  The brothers Wahlquist (Ragne on guitar and Styrbjörn on drums) were the core of Heavy Load.  Pocket ace Eddie Malm was a significant force in the band as well, playing guitar and sharing vocal duties with the Wahlquists.

The fiercely independent Wahlquist brothers formed their own record label, Thunderload Records.  It was on this label that Heavy Load released Stronger Than Evil.  It was to be the band’s last full-length LP.

Stronger Than Evil is a bit more benevolent than the album that preceded it, Death Or Glory (1982), though it is still very much armor-plated and glory bound.  Saturday Night and Free are downright jubilant, with memorable refrains that soar like Valkyries on their journey to Valhalla.  These two tracks are my personal faves.  I will say this, a few tracks languish a bit, and that may be because of a bit of “been there, done that” syndrome on my part, since I had already devoured Death Or Glory (1982) and Metal Conquest (1981) before I finally heard Stronger Than Evil.  Nevertheless, an album (and a band) worthy of full investigation.  My score: B


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