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Thor: Rising

You have to take your hat off to Jon Mikl Thor, the man mountain that has carved out a career under the Thor banner and who, in recent times, has released albums at an incredible rate - including compilations I make it something like 14 this last decade. It would then be safe to assume that there’s a hungry market for what this man and his band have to say and sing and yet, in all honesty, what I’ve heard has been lukewarm at best and as is the case with Rising, verging on awful.

Whatever his past exploits, if this latest proclamation from Valhalla reveals two things, its that firstly, Thor can no longer sing and secondly, that neither he nor Kevin Stuart Swain - who co-produced the whole shebang - have been able to polish this set of ten songs into something that either masks that fact, or even sounds cohesive as a single listening experience. With volume and clarity variable from track to track, I must admit that before I checked the blurb in the booklet, I presumed that this was a collection of demos raised from the vaults. But no, that excuse can’t even be raised by way of explaining things away. Spend time with lead single “Rising Through The Flames” to experience the simplistic, muffled riffage that’s trying to make an impact here, with a strangely spoken-word rasp of a vocal sitting loud and proud on top. Then add in a few guitar lines that sound as if they’ve been dropped in from a different song and the whole effect is complete.

Clearly there must be a thirst for this type of fare, or Thor wouldn’t be churning it out at such a rate but considering the highly proficient bands that can’t seem to make any impact these days, that this type of fare is out there really has me scratching my head. By way of an album introduction, “Wormhole” does actually possess something of a keen guitar attack but then, with a drum sound reminiscent of empty tubs being clattered with wet newspaper, the effect is lost as Thor gives an unsteady vocal that he clearly believes in 100%. That this is a highlight reveals the issues here, with “We. Will. Destroy. You” seemingly desperate to implode in on itself at any second, whereas the acoustic ballad “Power Mask” is simply toe curling.

You really do have to wish Thor well and simply bow to the fact that he has a fan base keen to lap this stuff up. For the uninitiated, it would be easy to believe that at least some of this album is done for laughs, but then there’s no getting away from the fact that the whole thing takes itself remarkably seriously. That in itself is baffling but no doubt there’ll be a new set of songs along in just a minute to compound my utter confusion.


Track Listing
1. Wormhole
2. Defend or Die
3. The Game Is on! (Stadium Mix)
4. We. Will. Destroy. You
5. The Rut
6. Rising
7. The Party Never Ends
8. Power Mask
9. Son of Thunder
10. Starmaster

Added: August 27th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Rising @ Cleopatra Records
Hits: 194
Language: english

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