In some respect, reviewing a debut is the best. You have nothing in the history of releases, you do not have to consider previous albums or songs. Nor do you have to consider anything but just this album. This is how I try to attack the music that comes my way, but it is hard to not look back to what is already there in the discography.

So; my verdict is that it is always refreshing to get the chance to review first releases. And with having a chat or two with the lads as well helped to get a bit more insight into what they are trying to achieve.

Now, we shall start by saying that Viral as a band are not ashamed about or unclear about their influences. We are talking straight up early eighties NWOBHM and some others. But I would say if you like early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Accept this will be an album for you.

The nice thing about this album is that it sounds well. The recording, mixing and mastering is solid. Money well spend on Niels Nielsen. What we don´t have is rehearsal sounding true (read shitty) sound. We have a modern clean sound. Not to polished or artificial but respecting the music and history that comes with the sources of inspiration.

Originality is not the first word you think about, but the love for the music and dedication to create their own songs makes this obsolete, and it is not something you put much thought into. There are other bands that copy, Viral are inspired by in my book. Yes, as said, references are clear. But we are not talking theft here.

The album starts fast, energetic and you get a clear idea what they want to deliver. A fist pumping metal sandwich with extra sauce. Scarred and Going down set the pace with galloping guitars, and fitting riffs. Machine that follows keeps the tempo up. This is by many means a pre-party album with a lot of feel good sounding songs. Deeper lyrics and stories to go along with them, but first and foremost this to me is a straightforward party entertaining album.

My favorite track of the album is the song Viral that is more of an epos of this album. Think Iron Maidens Wratchild & Hallowed be thy name baked together and you have got the picture.
All in all, this is a great first album for me for 2021. I hope this group will benefit if we get some relief during this year from the pandemic and they can have the chance to hit the roads for a bit and share their music on the live circuit. It is an album that entertain and that I do think I will continue to listen to and enjoy for a while.

Band: Viral
Title: S/T
Label: Self-financed
Date of release: 2021-01-08
Rate: 8/10
Stand out track: Viral
Country of Origin: Sweden
Playing time: 40 minutes

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