HEAVY LOAD - Riders of the Ancient Storm (October 6, 2023)

HEAVY LOAD – Riders of the Ancient Storm


New release from: HEAVY LOAD – Riders of the Ancient Storm (October 6, 2023)

Forty years have passed since Heavy Load released their album Stronger than Evil (1983). Now, at last, on October 6th, Heavy Load will release their long-awaited comeback album titled: Riders of the Ancient Storm.

Heavy Load’s comeback album reflects their well-known sound and songwriting. Still, many songs echo these pioneers’ famous Viking themes and existential
lyrics. The compositions are dramatic and render a great variety of moods. At the same time, passionate innovation and creative fervour shine bright in every song on the album.

The first Swedish heavy metal band and the first Viking metal band…

Heavy Load started in the middle of the 1970s. In addition, they are considered to be the first Viking Metal Band.

The first Swedish Heavy Metal Band

It is a generally held belief that Heavy Load was the band that started the Swedish wave of heavy metal. The band was formed by the brothers Ragne and Styrbjörn Wahlquist in the middle of the 1970s: first concert in 1976, first album release in 1978. Before long, the brothers started their own studio. As time went by, many famous bands would come to record in the brothers’ Thunderload Studio. Among those were Candlemass with Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, which was produced by Ragne Wahlquist and came to create a new sub-genre “Doom Metal”. Candlemass next album Nightfall was also made by Ragne in the Thunderload Studio. Examples of other famous bands who worked with the Wahlquist brothers in their studio are Hammerfall, Morbid, Electric Boys, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

The first Viking Metal Band

The Viking heritage has been an important source of inspiration ever since their childhood. The brothers’ emotional connection to people of a remote past, people with whom they share everlasting human challenges, was destined to find an outlet in their music. As a consequence, the brothers merged 70s Hard Rock with Viking settings and sentiments, resulting in the band’s distinctive style of music, lyrics, and artwork for their album covers: Viking Metal – a style that came to inspire later bands in Sweden and elsewhere, a style that now has many followers around the globe. However, although the Viking themes have always been a salient trait in Heavy Load’s songwriting, some of their songs rendered stories with other settings. For the new album, this variety remains.
No matter the setting, however, all songs have their source deep down in the brothers’ emotional life.

Their start in the mid-70s

Heavy Load was established in Stockholm during the grim winter of 1974-1975 by the two brothers Ragne Wahlquist (vocals, guitars and keyboards) and Styrbjörn
Wahlquist (vocals and drums). The vision and the passion of the Wahlquist brothers were always the kernel of the band’s determined drive – their drive to venture out on musical journeys and to spread their music and lyrics to the world; and now, this time around, also novel writing.

Original line-up: Three out of four members

From 1979 and onwards, Heavy Load was a four-piece band. Besides the founding Wahlquist brothers, the band members were Torbjörn Ragnesjö and Eddy Malm. Torbjörn Ragnesjö is still the bass player, and Eddy Malm is an occasional special guest and joins the band on a few songs at certain concerts.

Niclas Sunnerberg on rhythm guitar – a fan since childhood

For the reunion concerts in 2018, the former Steelwing member Niclas Sunnerberg joined Heavy Load on rhythm guitar. Niclas grew up as a huge Heavy Load fan and played Heavy Load covers with several bands. In Niclas’ own words:

The song that opened my eyes for Heavy Load was “Run with The Devil” (Stronger Than Evil, 1983). I came to love Heavy Load. […] When I found out that Heavy Load was going to play at Sweden Rock Festival [2018], I bought my ticket the very moment they were released. […] Sometime later, I was stunned by the fact that the Wahlquist brothers asked me to join the band. I ended up on the stage in front of this enormous audience myself. Yes, life can really have the most unexpected things in store for you!

Riders of the Ancient Storm – tracks

Ride the Night
We Rock the World
Walhalla Warriors
Angel Dark
Slave No More
Raven Is Calling
Sail Away
Butterfly Whisperings*
*bonus track on CD


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