Viking is an American thrash metal band, from Los Angeles, California, which had existed for four years, between 1986 and 1990. However, they reformed in 2011. To date, Viking has released two studio albums, Do or Die (1988) and Man of Straw (1989), and is currently finishing a third one, No Child Left Behind, which is due for release in 2014.
Initial career and breakup (1986-1990):
Viking was formed in Los Angeles in the spring of 1986 and held the same personnel until they broke up in 1990. The band signed a record contract with Metal Blade Records after their second live appearance and went on to record two full-length albums and open up for bands like Dark Angel, Megadeth, Forbidden, and Sacred Reich as well as headlining many other shows.
In 1988, they released their debut album called Do or Die. Although the brutality of the songs was appreciated by thrash metal fans, the frenetic tempos and bad production were not well received by the critics.
Following Do or Die, they moved to a new level of songwriting and musicianship. Adding half-time mosh bridges and more technical riffs, the songs for Man of Straw demonstrated a marked improvement over the previous offering.
Shortly before they started to record Man of Straw, Ron Eriksen became a born-again Christian and changed some of the lyrics to avoid blasphemies. Before embarking on a tour with Texas-based Helstar in 1990, Ron felt that his new faith could not endure the tour, and he left the band, which immediately broke up upon his departure. Prior to their breakup, Viking demoed new material for their third album for a 1990 release, and one song, "Abortuary", was released as a bonus track on the 2006 reissue of Man of Straw.
Ron and drummer Matt Jordan soon after moved to Oregon, Brett Eriksen joined Dark Angel full-time (he'd filled in on the Leave Scars tour) and bassist James Lareau pursued a career in sculpture.
Before Viking, Ron (whose stage name Ronny Devious had been carried over from his days with The Hags), Matt, and James were in Tracer and released a 3-song demo entitled Sudden Death with vocalist Tony Spider (Tony Vargas from L.S.N / Vermin). Following a temporary split, Brett began jamming with the band, and Ron began singing.
After the release of Man of Straw, Matt Jordan also converted to Christianity. (Interestingly, Ron Daniel has said that Matt's conversion had nothing to do with his own.) Some years after the band broke up, Ron became a Bible teacher.
In early 2011, Ron Daniel (guitar, vocals) resurrected VIKING after a 20-year hiatus.
Ron recruited former Dark Angel members Gene Hoglan and Michael Gonzalez and Justin Zych (Vindicator, Valhalla, Argonaut) to record VIKING's first release in over 20 years titled, "No Child Left Behind."
In 2013, VIKING played its first shows in over 20 years with the addition of Cody Johns (Argonaut, Eighty Thousand Dead, Population Control) on drums. Headlining the Childhood Hero's Festival in New York City and Ragnarokkr in Chicago, VIKING has come back with a vengeance.
"No Child Left Behind" is due to be released sometime in 2014.
Cody Johns - drums (2013 - Present),
Ron Eriksen = Ron Daniel - guitar, vocals (1986-1990, 2011-present),
Justin Zych - guitar (2013-Present),
Michael Gonzalez - bass (2012-Present),
James Lareau - bass guitar (1986-1990),
Brett Eriksen / Brett Sarachek - guitar (1986-1990)