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Review of the Album "Man of Straw" by American Thrash Metal Band Viking

Updated on December 11, 2020
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

What is Viking and Who Formed the Band?

Viking is a thrash metal band that has origins in Los Angeles which I hadn’t even heard of until April 2018. I was referring to the fact that I hadn't even heard of the band until April 2018. This band was formed in 1986 in Los Angeles and has a vocal style of early James Hetfield and H. Smith of the band Acid Reign. The band was formed by brothers Ron Eriksen (guitars and vocals) and Brett Eriksen (guitars). Their 1989 album Man of Straw is a solid offering of aggressive thrash metal that beats American bands Whiplash and Hexen. The 1980’s was a very dominant time for thrash metal especially in the United States.

The Front Album Cover for Man of Straw


Basic Information About the Band Viking

Genre: thrash metal with a little progressive influence

Record label: Caroline Records

Release date for Man of Straw: August 8, 1989

Man of Straw: the First Three Songs Including White Death and They Raped the Land

The album starts with a Holy Moses influenced song called White Death. The riffing is very Germanic in nature that’s what I can detect. There is a man that has to prove that he is formidable force to deal with as he feels the need to prey on unsuspecting foes. The next song called They Raped the Land is a song about what has happened over the centuries as the over watering of the land and the greed of man has led to soil erosion, mountaintops becoming barren desert and Mother Nature feeling like she has been taken advantage of. Soil erosion is definitely a man-made sin if we can call it that. When you plant crops in the soil you have to make sure that you don’t over water the plants. Twilight Fate is a fast song that briefly addresses the problem of child labor as children are forced to work overtime for the benefits of the wealthy few. Corporations will do what they can to maximize their profit margins at the expense of people sometimes children.

The Back of the Cover for Man of Straw

Man of Straw Songs 4 Through 8 Including the Crafty Song Creative Divorce

The Trial is a song that tells the story of what happened in the life of Jesus Christ as HE rose from the dead as that final sign. Was HE the true prophet of Christianity? The Bible certainly regards HIM as that but Jesus came to Earth to establish relationship with man. Case of the Stubborns is a song that states the obvious: human life is not meant to be more than a century and there are those people that would try to cheat death of they could. As the body dies, the flesh stiffens and the person’s face can turn blue. Human life is designed in a way that the organs will break down eventually and stop functioning. That is why humans are mortal beings. Winter is a very long song that basically says that winter can be deadly with excess snowfall. It is human nature to want to see the sunshine and then ask for the rain. The album does have melody in it but the album can get stale after a while due to the same kind of fast riffing style and Ron Eriksen’s shouting style vocals. Creative Divorce is a song about how a once happy marriage goes down the drain and one of the partners in the marriage is now revolting at the thought of lifetime matrimony. Where there was once love in the marriage has been replaced by loathe and dislike. But who would hate their spouse so much that they would want to see them asphyxiated? Some marriages become so toxic that there is no choice but to end these kinds of partnerships.

"White Death"

All the Studio Albums From the Band Viking

Year of Release
Album Title
Do or Die
Man of Straw
No Child Left Behind

"Creative Divorce"

Man of Straw and Final Thoughts About the Album

The title track and last song "Man of Straw" has a definite Iron Maiden influence. The song is about the struggles that a person with schizophrenia goes through. The standout songs in Man of Straw through the second full listen through are White Death, They Raped the Land and Creative Divorce. Man of Straw was the last album for this band before they disbanded. Viking would reform over 2 decades later in 2011.

Final grade for the Album Man of Straw: 80 out of 100 points

"Case of the Stubborns"

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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