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Thor: Hammer Of Justice + Return Of The Thunderhawk DVD

The latest thundering offering from the rejuvenated Thor proclaims to weigh heavy with the Hammer Of Justice. It also comes replete with a Return Of The Thunderhawk DVD which, after the success of his An-Thor-Logy film, looks to chronicle a more current era of the band as it centres around the coming together of the line-up that recorded the 2017, Beyond The Pain Barrier album and the trials, tribulations and marriage proposals of the subsequent tour.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of Thor’s more recent albums and I must admit that they’ve left me, at best, nostalgic but hardly impressed but it’s hard not to get involved with the veteran singer and his younger, hungry band as they play heavy metal old and new for the sheer love of it. Thor himself is a self fashioned figure of fun, more known for rippling muscles, bricks being smashed on his chest and bending iron bars on stage than his music, and there’s no denying that there’s something ever so slightly tragic about watching an ageing, ever so slightly portly frontman roam the stage in body armour while wearing all manner of masks and brandishing hammers. However, Jon Mikl Thor himself comes across as a gracious, passionate band leader and his core charges, guitarist John Leibel, drummer Tom Croxton, bassist Ted Jedicki (a few other guitarists come an go during the course of the album construction and tour and festival dates that followed) clearly love hitting the small club stages and larger festival fields. Even for someone who can’t class himself as a particular fan of the band in question it’s hard not to get caught up in this meat and potatoes outfit hamming it up and clearly loving it. And from fans sharing their ridiculously huge Thor record collections to the singer receiving awards from festival organisers it’s a hell of an enjoyable ride.

All of which makes me slightly more disappointed that the main event here, Hammer Of Justice, isn’t a stronger album that I can enthuse over. Compared to some of the more recent releases from the band the likes of “Beginning Of The End” can hit harder than expected in a WASP like fashion, while the album’s title track pulls few punches as it smashes its intention right into your chest. However, Thor was never the greatest singer and age certainly hasn’t improved his delivery and while his efforts come form the heart, there are moments when you kinda wish he’d keep it there - oh and the backing vocals don’t help, especially on the aforementioned “Hammer Of Justice”. It’s an affliction that also infects the otherwise excellent “Return Of The Thunderhawk”, with the harmony backing vox so bad you wonder if it isn’t intentionally bad but with nothing here played for laughs, it’s doubtful that could be the case.

“Destroyinator” is fun in a decidedly throwaway manner, while “Wotan” is just ridiculously clumsy metal delivered with a worryingly loose edge. Therefore, in the end it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the dedication and belief shown throughout the DVD portion of this release triumphs mightily over the music itself.

I can’t say that I’ll ever be likely to listen to Hammer Of Justice ever again, but on the strength of the Return Of The Thunderhawk DVD, if Thor and his band ever come to a club near me I might just join in the revelries. The songs may not be all that great, but the theatrics and (heavy metal) heart with which they are all delivered will guarantee a fun night for all.


Track Listing
1. Beginning of the End
2. Warp 5000
3. Return of the Thunderhawk
4. Victory
5. As the Dragon Flies
6. It's our Right
7. Beyond the Wall
8. Destroyinator
9. Hammer of Justice
10. Wotan
11. The End

Added: December 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Hammer Of Justice @ bandcamp
Hits: 185
Language: english

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