The last of these four songs – the title track – is the only place to start. Not only is it a fine song, it might also be the most important one that Luke Appleton has written so far in his solo career.

Dedicated to a friend who died of Covid, it clearly had a profound affect on the songwriting here.

Appleton had released an acoustic ep a few years before and this was scheduled to be another, until the genesis of “…..Viking” came together. Performing as a trio last summer with former Babylon Fire guitarist Rishi Mehta playing lead guitar and Adam Harris (Dakesis) drums, clearly sparked something. That’s the line-up here although backing vocals on ‘What Heroes Do’ were added by Becky Baldwin (bassist with Fury, Hands Off Gretel, formerly of Triaxis and more recently live session bass player with Mercyful Fate).

The results are a perfect example of Appleton’s skill. His love of – and skill for – the music is evident throughout the wonderful opener, “Before Your Eyes”, while the bass groove on “A Thing Called Fate” owes a clear debt to the classic NWOBHM sound. What this does, though, is remain fresh and modern and the words are rooted in reality.

The grooves are huge and expansive too. “What Heroes Do” dreams of arenas, and you can’t fail to see the ambition on this collection.

Luke Appleton has shown on many occasions that he has as much talent and ability as anyone else out there, and whether it was originally designed to be or not, then “Forever Viking” is a fine metal EP.

Rating 8/10

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