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Even Better Than Their Previous Classic! - 90%

brocashelm, December 31st, 2008

Still ahead of the Eurometal curve, Heavy Load were back with this highly ignored sophomore album that has become steadily more legendary as the years have passed. Rightly so, because these Swedes had already given us the classic Death Or Glory back in ’82, and Stronger Than Evil continues their commitment to quality in all areas. The sound is a bit more bright, and the guitars slightly less cutting here, but the band’s song writing has only improved further, adding more developed melodies and granite chiseled riffs. Witness opening cut “Run With The Devil,” which features layered vocals and guitars, all in the service of a passionate, crafty metal anthem. “Singing Swords” does what Manowar does, but with seemingly much less effort, the title cut is ambitiously epic, and the bright and catchy “Free” features none other than Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) helping out on bass! Better still, the whole thing winds up with the mournfully anthemic “Roar Of The North,” a doomed metal march filled with the kind of heartbreaking melodies and princely guitars Heavy Load employed with an almost distressing ease. They could have been fancier and more ostentatious sure, but that would have damaged their songs. It’s this restraint that is one of their hallmarks, and one of the many reasons people greedily search for these records nowadays. Simply put, alongside Mercyful Fate and Accept, Heavy Load are at the top of the European metal food chain.