Thor: Metal Avenger

Metal Avenger

Deadline Music
Released: 11/21/2017

Many critics and fans alike are claiming this to be the best studio recording of Thor's career and I couldn't agree more. I wasn't sure of what to expect when I loaded this album onto my iPod, but the opening track "Out of Control" roars into life with a vengeance. There are heaping amounts of hard rock swagger and all I can say is that the tone of the album was set up right from the get go.

But before I get into the heart of this review, let me say that Thor has made a comeback of sorts and along with this new album – the documentary I Am Thor (due out on Nov 20th) should help to remind rockers everywhere that Thor is still here and kicking ass. With that being said, Thor has been on a tear since reforming the band back in 1997 and his latest offering Metal Avenger is his most complete album to date.

His last release was in 2011, but a mere 4 years later proves that Thor is still as strong and vital as ever. In fact there are 15 tracks on this new release and a bevy of special guests hop on for the ride of a lifetime. The second track sees Fast Eddie Clarke (of Motorhead fame) helping on the guitar giving "Metal Avenger" a blistering riff – blowing my ears off in the process! The next track "The Kings of Thunder Lightning" welcomes the gritty guitar playing of Replusion's Scott Carlson – adding some gristle onto the bone. Henry Rollins helps out on vocals for "Master of Revenge", working in tandem with Thor trading barbs back and forth.

Brian Forsythe of the band Kix helps out on guitar, allowing the bluesy/rock riffs behind "Destruct" to melt your face off. The next song "The Hammer" comes down hard and it brings a fistful of hard rock swagger – including Twisted Sister's Jay Jay French on guitar. I really love this track and it shows how Thor can still bring the metal in spades, so expect a good reaction when hearing this live. "Taste of Victory" goes a little punk and gets some vocal assists from Bitch's Besty Bitch and Rikk Agnew from Christian Death on guitar.

The eighth track features no supporting guests and you get Thor and his bandmates hitting a home run here with "Heavy Load" and proving this to be a solid rocker from start to finish. Thor's vocals here are topnotch and this might be the best track of the entire album. The next track is an interesting choice – first it features Virgin Steele's Jack Starr on guitar and lyrically it gets into a weird/sci-fi scenario that I am sure will make "The Legions of the Psykon World" a cult hit down the road.

The next track dips a bit into a standard punk/rock mold – "Drive" featuring Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys on guitar and "Stars Upon Stars" brings back Besty Bitch for vocal assists and I can say this is probably the only real clunker for me. The duo attempt a ballad here but I didn't think this was as successful as it could have been. We do get back to some punky/greasy overtones on "T.H.O.R." courtesy of D.O.A.'s Joe Shitthead on background screams/vocals.

"Atomic Man" welcomes Krux drummer Peter Stjarnvind to spice things up, but the real treat for me is the inclusion of Wolf's Niklas Stalvind on guitar for "Wings of Destiny". The track is fueled with harmonious guitars and Thor's patented vocal delivery to really help make this number stand out for me. Then the last track features no quests and it essentially allows Thor and the band to shine on "Laws of the Universe". The song is a slow burn number, reminding me of its lyrical convictions by way of Manowar and it seems to be a most fitting ending to a colossal album.

On a whole though, Metal Avenger feels like a love letter to the music genre Thor has been a part of since 1977. Bombastic at times and purely coming across as unadulterated metallic bliss, Thor once again proves why he's still going strong in 2015. The biggest selling point for me is how he could assemble such a wide ranging group of guest musicians from so many different genres like gothic, punk, glam, power, and death to help give this album some extra zip. It works like a charm as far as I am concerned and it proves just how much Thor is revered and respected in the music community.

Most will say this is a comeback album for Thor, but did he really go away at all? Probably not, so if there is one album you should go out and buy this year – then Metal Avenger is that album. I hear Thor is still going strong on tour and continuing to bend steel bars to wildly prove he is still the man. So be sure to catch him live and marvel at a man who has walked among us as a god of rock. May he never leave us!

Be sure to read our interview with Thor here!

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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Jon Mikl Thor, better known as simply Thor, is a Canadian bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician. As a bodybuilder, he was the first Canadian to win both the Mr. Canada and Mr. USA titles. During his bodybuilding career, he has achieved over 40 titles around the world. – Wikipedia