Heavy Load – Riders of the Ancient Storm – 2023

Riders of the ancient storm

I knew that Heavy Load was working on a new album. I didn’t know it would have such a kiss-ass title as Riders of the Ancient Storm though! Furthermore, I didn’t know that it was released in October 2023. It was quite a while since I listened to Heavy Load even if I reviewed their album Death or Glory a couple of years ago. It was an album that meant a lot to me as a kid. I’m not sure that I thought it had aged particularly well though.

But as I said, I knew there was a new album in the works. Call it inside information if you like. Maybe it was common knowledge and it was just me that found the information very aimed at me, I don’t know. But now the album is here. Riders of the Ancient Storm is here and we can all listen to it. I have the old albums on vinyl, most of them anyway, but for this, I went to Spotify. If I’m actually gonna get it on vinyl as well, as my interest in vinyl recently has resurfaced or not, is not certain. Maybe I’ll get the CD. Maybe I’ll just settle with the streaming services.

In either case, I don’t own it in a physical format as of now. I have listened to it a few times by now though and I can formulate a few opinions and deductions of it. First of all, it sounds just like it hasn’t been 40 years since the last album. Riders of the Ancient Storm sounds like it could have been produced in the mid- to late 80s. That’s now necessarily a bad thing but it sounds kind of “weak”, there’s not enough dynamics to it. In today’s music climate I think this is an album that will face a hard to breaking through the enormous amount of music produced these days. It sounds pretty ordinary, for lack of better words.

I haven’t heard the songs of course. There’s no way of telling how old they are though since it’s clearly stated that the album was produced between 1983-2023. Did they really work on it for 40 years? I don’t know. I don’t know the songs, but I feel like I have heard a few of them before. The strongest resemblance for me is a track that reminds me of the Monsters of the Night single. I a great song back in the day. But in this version… I don’t know. And maybe it’s just me hearing the similarities. There are other similarities as well but I can’t put my finger on the exact song I’m hearing in my head when listening to the new album.

I can make a conclusion about the hits, or number of plays, each song has got on Spotify as of now though. It’s steadily declining figures the furth along the playlist you get. That concurs a bit with my own feelings about the album. It’s a good nostalgia trip, the song from the start is fun and nice to hear but as you go down the list of songs it becomes boring. Nothing really stands out. There are no hardrock hits on there. I wonder if there will ever be another Heavy Load Album after this? I think they cannot live on nostaliga alone. But still, it’s a nice effort.


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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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