THOR
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THOR

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


“Thor, the original rock warrior, has returned to walk among his people and safeguard his dominion. Since his emergence in 1977 with Keep the Dogs Away, he has had countless imitators -- girlie-men musicians who thought a few well-placed chest plates and a foam ax or two could mask their puny physiques and poofy lineage -- but none was Thor.” - SF Weekly


Thor was recognized as one of the “Greatest 100” Frontmen of All Time, a list compiled by polling professional rock journalists that landed him alongside Steven Tyler, Elvis Presley, Robert Plant and Jim Morrison. - Classic Rock


"Thor is a genial host for
an evening of some murderously effective and hard music....Thor is a showman, his expression and antics are all there to enliven the proceedings, but the quality of his band and his voice should not be underestimated." - Melody Maker


"He's constantly moving and
flexing his muscles, but has a sense of humor about it that's winning." - Variety


"Thor flew into town and put on one of the most outrageous shows
I've ever seen." - Kerrang!


Let's face it. Metal is dumb. Metal has always been dumb. And hopefully, metal will always be dumb. (I could, however, do without the "Metallica bleating 12-step recovery program slogans over a tin drum" kind of dumb. Because that's just not metal.) And why fight the dumb? Metal is loud; it's obvious; it's incurably theatrical. Dumb is the way of metal, and the dumber the better. Leather! Flames! Swords! Warriors! Skulls! Hot chicks and motorbikes! Hell, yeah!

John Mikl Thor (his real name) was at one time a winner of the Mr. Canada and Mr. USA pageants, a champion bodybuilder with a taste for training to heavy rock. Back in the '70s, when it was still (relatively) cool to wear studded leather collars and sing about the hammer of the gods, Thor stole a page from Alice Cooper and KISS and took his act on the road as Thor The Rock God, blending metal with Norse mythology and epic stage shows (he claims to have been an influence on GWAR and Manowar). Throughout the heyday of metal (roughly the late '70s through the mid-'80s), he toured the globe doing mock battle with evil warlords, brandishing sword and shield, and perform feats of strength such as bending steel bars, smashing bricks against his chest, and blowing up hot water bottles until they burst. He has been known to ride onstage in Charlton Heston's chariot from Ben-Hur.

And even though the world has moved on and metal has turned to rap and diary excerpts for new inspiration, Thor is still making music. His new album, Thor Against The World is out next month on Smog Veil Records.

So what does the rock god’s new album sound like? Well, it's goofy, it's bombastic, and it's as satisfying to the primitive part of my lizard-brain where the metal receptors are located as anything I've ever heard. Thor Against The World rocks in the finest tradition of AC/DC, Alice Cooper, KISS, WASP, Judas Priest, and all the other great deep-shag acts of the golden age of hard rock. Is it an instant classic? No. But it is one hell of a lot of fun.

Being that Thor seems bent on partying like it's 1979, the album is rife with classic drum sounds, shouted choruses ("Creature! Feature! I wanna meetcha! Meetcha!") heroic guitar solos, and the occasional soaring synth (on "Megaton Man"). The lyrical content mainly dwells on tough love, universal battles, and the glory and power of Thor. As it turns out, all those years of bodybuilding and bursting hot water bottles have given Thor quite a set of pipes. While he's no Ronnie James Dio, he sings the hell out of his eleven sword-sorcery-and-sex tales in a leathery baritone in the finest tradition of the Alice Cooper/Paul Stanley school of bombastic frontmen. And really… how can one not like a record that features a legion of warriors shouting "Thor! Thor! Thor!" and includes songs called "Creature Feature," "Easy Woman," "Serpents Kiss" and "The Coming of Thor?" The cherry on top is a surprisingly affecting ballad ("Turn To Blue") in the finest SWOBHM* tradition.


Thor has dedicated himself to stoking the flame of that primal, stooped, over-the-top school of rock that went out about the time Gene Simmons took off his makeup. If you long for the days of Trans Ams, pop-top beer, and WASP, KISS, and Alice Cooper, there is no possible way to do better than Thor Against The World. As long as you have a taste for the dumb side of metal (and what red-blooded American doesn't?), I can't recommend this highly enough.

*(That's "Second Wave of British Heavy Metal." Dweeb.)


- Blogcritics.com


Behold all that is utterly absurd, overly-macho and ultimately fun about metal, and prepare for a musical trip that's so outlandish, you'll have to rub your bloodshot eyes to make sure you're not completely stoned. Thor Against the World is so full of metal clichés that after a few spins, you'll feel like a black t-shirt-clad headbanger hanging out in the concert parking lot. Crank up the Camaro's stereo, crack open a Tall Boy and get ready to par-tay!

Fronted by former Mr. Canada and Mr. USA bodybuilding champion Jon Milk Thor, this band of meathead rockers predicates its music on swarthy rock 'n' roll riffs and plenty of raw metal muscle. For you latecomers, it's important to note that THOR has been wielding his heavy metal hammer since the mid '70s. Forget demon worshipping, corpse desecration or murderous undertones -- THOR doesn't need any of that headline-stealing stuff to smash his message home. The self-proclaimed Legendary Rock Warrior has pounded out an album of substantial rockers that lands somewhere in between Manowar, Meatloaf and Masters of the Universe.

Backed by Sweet Justice (featuring former members of The BellRays, The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and The Adz), THOR stakes his claim to metal's throne with a commanding title-track performance. The drawn-out introduction is a murky mixture of fantasy and sci-fi, with swirling winds, blurry synthesizers and a distant crowd chanting "Thor!" It's arena-ready rock that shakes the very ground. THOR proves that he hasn't lost his knack for powerful vocal delivery; his initial musical salvo is reminiscent of .45 Grave's "Party Time", with husky THOR replacing the banshee-like Dinah Cancer. Get ready for a musical fight that you'll soon not forget, and a chorus that's so lugheaded, you won't be able to help singing along to it.

"Easy Woman" has a swaggering rock 'n' roll stride; the boogie-woogie beat and garage-rock guitar match THOR's gritty but melodic delivery note for note. The sex-driven epic is everything you'd expect from an aging rocker, from the preposterous verses to the captivating chorus of "Hey, hey, woman, I wouldn't trade you for three / Hey, hey, woman, you mean a lot to me." Now isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

THOR takes a break from fighting his enemies and maintaining control over the universe on the contemplative "Turn to Blue". This metal power-ballad is as close as the musical muscle-man comes to shedding a tear. Rich acoustic guitar is accented by bluesy electric solos as THOR pays tribute to a long-lost lover.

Given THOR's professional involvement in cinema (writing and acting in several films), it's not much of a shock to find out that B-movie monsters have made their way into his music. The sinister "Creature Feature" gives props to Superman, Wolfman and Dracula with a Rocky Horror-like chorus, but the album's real monster is the magnificent "Megaton Man". Galloping drums introduce the song as a laser-like synth track pierces the rumbling percussion. It's difficult to tell whether THOR is telling the tale of the crime-fightin', monster-maulin' comic-book superhero with a pea-sized brain or simply glorifying his own awesome presence. Either way, "Megaton Man" is the album's crowning achievement, exemplifying all that is ridiculous but wickedly enjoyable about THOR and his music.

With the spotlights all shining down upon THOR, it's pretty easy to forget about the backing band. Sweet Justice does an extraordinary job, embracing the rock jock attitude without ever losing sight of the tight chord progressions and irresistible riffs. There's a recklessness in songs like "Megaton Man" and "Glimmer"' that magnifies THOR's already larger-than-life image. Sweet Justice know when to lay low and let THOR deliver his lines, but when the time is right, they throw in the blazing solos and attention-grabbing intro riffs with rare precision.

THOR may be a few decades older, but he still has a strong set of pipes and a great sense of humor. The band revels in lowbrow culture and grandiose rock theatrics, but the resulting metal-influenced tunes aren't meant to change your perspective on global economics or political injustice. It's charming, in a juvenile sort of way, and THOR never takes himself so seriously that the tongue-in-cheek humor is overlooked. Is there more in store from the almighty THOR? From the sounds of Thor Against the World, Mr. Muscle still has what it takes. And if you thought GWAR and Alice Cooper could put on a memorable stage show, be sure to check out THOR's live set, which includes impossible feats of strength, mock battles and enough eye candy to wow even the staunchest critic.
-- Andrew Magilow - Splendid


Discography

VH1 program to air in August/September 2005, details to follow. Current radio play: "Glimmer" and "Thor Against The World" from the new CD out July 12, 2005. "An-THOR-Logy" DVD out Ju1y 12, 2005.

"Glimmer" also appears in the USA Networks film, 'Murder at the Presidio'

Discography includes numerous worldwide LPs, EPs, and CDs released sing 1976. See the THOR website for full details.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Jon Mikl Thor (a.k.a. Thor the Rock Warrior) is an enduring icon of heavy metal and glam rock, and one of the true originators of rock ‘n’ roll theatre. His unique vision, thunderous hard rock sound and incredible showmanship has won over crowds across the globe, garnering him a dedicated following of hardcore fans (the Thor Korr, to you mere mortals). He recorded a slew of classic albums that straddled the ground between glitter rock and aggressive power metal, and became known for onstage feats of strength such as bending a steel bar, having concrete jack-hammered off his chest and blowing up a hot water bottle with his lung power. Looking like a cross between David Lee Roth and Lou Ferrigno, and belting tunes like “Thunder on the Tundra,” “Anger (Is My Middle Name)” and “Let the Blood Run Red,” Thor made quite an impression upon his arrival to the rock scene and continues to do so to this day.

Thor’s unique career kicked off with his testosterone-fueled appearance on the internationally televised Merv Griffin Show in 1976 and he has maintained a steady pace ever since. He has explored the tongue-in-cheek Sweet/Mott the Hoople/Bowie glitter-rock of the ‘70s, hard hitting metal of the ‘80s, and even nu-metal of the ‘90s. Yet on his latest effort, Thor Against the World, the mighty one delivers the album fans have been waiting for.

Teaming up with Los Angeles producers Messiaz (a.k.a. Frank Meyer and Bruce Duff) and a slew of punk and metal all-stars, Thor has made an album that harkened back to his glitter days, yet harnesses all the power and glory of his heavy metal era. Thor Against the World finds the iron giant backed by a who’s-who of underground favorites, including Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Sweet Justice), Bruce Duff (ADZ, Sweet Justice), Chris Markwood (Sweet Justice, ex-Bellrays, ex-Blare Bitch Project), Vince Meghrouni (ex-Mike Watt, ex-Bellrays) and Brian Kehew (Air, Mother Superior, Moog Cookbook) for an album filled with catchy songs, hook-laden choruses and kick-ass riffs.

I won’t grow old
I’ll never settle
I’m still gonna play my Heavy Metal
It’s Thor against the world
- “Thor Against the World”

Jon Mikl Thor first made waves in the bodybuilding world in Vancouver during the 1970’s soon becoming Mr. Canada and Mr. USA, while using heavy music as an intensive training tool. Blending a powerful physique with powerful rock and, inspired by comic book heroes and love of Norse mythology, he created the character Thor the Rock Warrior, thus beginning a long reign in the hazy area between superstardom and the dark underground. Along the way, Thor invented “gladiator rock,” later popularized by acts he influenced, such as Manowar, Armored Saint and GWAR. Clad in a loincloth, and wielding a sword and hammer, Thor fought epic battles onstage to the sounds of barbaric hard rock, often fighting monsters and evil warlords.

“I grew up on bands like Black Sabbath, KISS and Alice Cooper, who always put on an extravagant stage show,” says Thor. “I wanted to take it one step further and make the show more extreme and the music even heavier.”

His theatrical, over-the-top stage shows gained him notoriety outside of the bodybuilding world he cut his teeth in, and found him gracing the pages of rock magazine like Kerrang!, NME, Sounds, Punk, Hit Parader, Creem and more. Concerts with W.A.S.P., Raven, and Motorhead found him playing to thousands of screaming metalheads during the genre’s heyday.

With the success of albums like Keep the Dogs Away and Only the Strong, it wasn’t long before Hollywood came a-calling and Thor found himself fielding offers for film and TV roles. He soon was in front of the camera alongside talents like Roger Corman, Adam West and Tia Carrere in films like Recruits, Zombie Nightmare and the cult classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare which he scored, starred in, wrote and produced. Working on Zombie Nightmare and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare teamed Jon up with award winning director John Fasano.

After years of rigorous touring and film-work, Thor decided to take a break and turned his talents toward film producing, working on the indie favorite FUBAR, for which he wrote the title song “Fubar is a Super Rocker.” Soon enough though, the call of rock was too loud to ignore and the mighty warrior suited up to fight the good fight for rock ‘n’ roll. Inspired by a slew of whatever-happened-to articles, Thor began his comeback ascent. He has since released albums such as Triumphant, An-Thor-ology, Dogs II, and the concept album and accompanying graphic novel Beastwoman from the Center of the Earth to critical acclaim ( Classic Rock and Uncut have all covered him in 2004). He starred in upcoming films such as Graveyard and Intercessor, all of which have prepared him for latest and greatest achievement, Thor Against the World.

Equipped with a new multi-media deal with Smog Veil Records that will see the July release of Thor Against the World and a ca