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Thor - Thunderstryke

    Ian Jane

  • Thor - Thunderstryke

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    Thor - Thunderstryke
    Released by: Rock Savior Records
    Released on: Novemeber 13, 2012.

    The first of two albums that legendary rock warrior Jon Mikl THOR has agreed to release through Germany's Rock Savior Records, Thunderstryke is an interesting mix of old and new. Seasoned fans of Thor's output will no doubt recognize some of the material here, but there's enough new material to make it worth checking out even if you've got all of his past releases. On top of that, the more familiar songs included on this recording differ from the originals - in short, Thor has rerecorded some of his classic hits (so they are different versions) and included them on this collection with some material that hasn't been heard before.

    The end result is a pretty bad ass collection of glam rock mixed with metal and just a little bit of punk that does an impressive job of capturing that 'vintage Thor' sound while at the same time taking advantage of the improvements in sound recording technology that the modern age has to offer.

    Things kick off with Collider, a brief instrumental opening followed by a voice over that lets us know that Thor has no commandeered his golden winged chariot that will take him on a course and rocket he and Galaxina to the sacred halls of Valhalla. At that point we burst into the opening riff of Der Thunderstryker, in which Thor talks about his love of yelling out into the sky and beating his chest. It's got some keyboards in the background but it's straight up classic Thor. Once we hit the chorus and Jon's singing about riding his bike down the highway and liking girls, we know what kind of territory we've entered, and we wouldn't have it any other way. It's a statement, a promise to live life to the fullest and to rock as hard as possible.

    Hey With You starts off with some pretty bluesy guitar playing and Jon's vocals slide in alongside and fit perfectly. A song about a girl who has everything wrong with her, it's got a bit of a sleazy sound to it, a very seventies vibe, very low-fi and fairly raw. This song was originally written for Mikl Body Rock back in the early days of Thor's career and is released here with some additional guitars by Frank Soda overtop to fill it out. Metal Warriors will be more appealing to those who like Thor's eighties output more than his seventies output but it's definitely got a serious groove to it, as the lyrics expound on the virtues of trusting in the power of metal and fighting evil. As Thor sings about the need for a justice league, we have no choice but to follow suit and join the battalions of metal warriors!

    High Times is a party song, no more no less. Guitar and keyboards pound out the opening before a quick solo leads way to the vocals, at which point Thor sings about rolling this joint into a rock n roll number and smoking it up until he feels the thunder. Yep. It's a party song. A product of its time and catchy as Hell. Rock N Roll is, as you might have a guessed, a pretty blistering cover of one of Led Zepplin's best songs. A Led Zepplin cover? Yeah, I can hear people complaining already, but give this a shot. If you didn't think Thor could hold his own against Robert Plant, he proves here that he can - and without sounding so damn nasal. He puts 100% into this one, with an obvious love for the original but with the explicit intent of making this version his own. Zepplin are untouchable in certain circles but this is a very, very respectful cover.

    Flight To The Stairs is the into to Warriors Of The Universe, a slightly slower, more mid tempo rocker that builds nicely after a spoken word intro and a song featuring a ridiculously catch chorus, the kind that will stick in your head long after the album is over and which you'll find yourself singing to yourself, without realizing it, and grinning slyly once you realize what you're doing. We are warriors of the universe, we live by the sword, we die by the edge of the blade. Manowar, you hear this? Thor did it first.

    Megaton Man is up next, and while you can hear that song on Thor's awesome album Thor Against The World, the version here is different. It's a bit more slowed down than that 2005 version with heavy synthesizers laying down a layer of sound that the later recording doesn't have. It gives the song a completely different sound - it's not necessarily better, but it's definitely not worse - just different, and very cool to hear. Gladiator's Arena is a different version of the song Gladiator Stomp that was released on the split album that Thor did with D.O.A. entitled Are U Ready. Lady is up next, another fairly blues heavy number about a wicked woman, the kind who dances to and fro and hypnotizes to the radio. Female backing vocals proclaiming the fanciness of this specific lady, who Thor likes, will get this one stuck in your head. It kind of sounds like early Van Halen in a strange sort of way, female backing vocals notwithstanding.

    That Girls Is Poison is not a Bell Biv Davoe cover but instead a pretty serious slice of glam infused rock n roll, again with some cool female backing vocal filling in the song really nicely. It'll get your foot tapping and your ass shaking - some heavy bass lines keep it moving along nicely. Interception is a straight up rock n roll song, it's quick, catchy and is a slightly different variation on the song that would become Intercessor (from the movie Intercessor: Rock N Roll Nightmare 2). Now Comes The Storm will also sound familiar to fans, as it was included on the classic album Only The Strong, though this version differs from that one - some more backing vocals and it moves at a slightly slower pace. It's like a glam version compared to that later version, which is straight up power metal, and it uses the riff from Thunder On The Tundra, which is interesting to hear.

    Last but not least, we get We Came Here and Ceremony Of The Goods. We Came Here is a mid-tempo track with a strong backbeat and some quick guitar work. The vocals are solid and the chorus is slick. Ceremony Of The Goods is the right way to close out the album, as a chorus of HAIL THOR's warms us up before the drums start to pound and the guitars start to build while the last voice over picks up where the first one left off. It brings things full circle as it dubs the loyal 'The Thor Corp' and comes to a close.

    All in all, this is a pretty fantastic collection of music. Yeah, some of it does sound familiar but loyal Thor fans will appreciate the opportunity to hear some of this stuff for the first time. It's an interesting mix of Thor's past and present, a very seventies sounding collection of songs that still have the power to rock today as they would have back then. As of right now, this album is an import from Germany and not particularly easy to find, but interested parties are encouraged to keep an eye on the Thor Website THORCENTRAL as it'll inevitably be for sale there soon.

    The track listing for this album is:

    Collider / Der Thunderstryker / Hey With You / Metal Warriors / High Times / Rock 'N Roll / Flight To The Stars / Warriors Of The Universe / Megaton Man / Gladiator's Arena / Lady / That Girl Is Poison / Across The Sky / Now Comes The Storm (With "Thunder On The Tundra" Riff)
    / We Came Here / Ceremony Of The Gods
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