Swedish newcomers Viral are one of the examples to prove that sometimes, you can actually judge a book by its cover. The beautiful artwork and stylish logo immediately draw the attention and scream classic heavy/power metal. The surprise actually comes from the first few minutes of music, when one realizes Viral have much more in common with the NWOBHM trademarks of Iron Maiden than the euro power metal of Helloween or Stratovarius.
Having in mind that this debut album is produced by the band, it is at first striking to hear how good it sounds, but the info comes with the joker that Niels Nielsen (Ghost, Night, In Flames, Witchery) has been hired for the mix and mastering. Songs like the opener Scarred or third track Machine are energetic double-guitar old school celebration, but there are also tracks like Gallows and Selo’s Tale, which sound a bit more complex and engaging. I have to mention that the gruff voice of singer Albin Forsell adds a lot of individuality and charm to Viral, so – job well done here. For now, there are strong vibes of classic Blind Guardian/ Iron Maiden worship, but this is not a flaw. The band has potential to stress further on its individuality and I am sure the best is yet to come.
Viral was released on January 8th and can be purchased directly from the band’s bandcamp profile. Do yourselves a favour and check this band out.