Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Thor: The Canadian Heavy Metal Band You've Never Heard Of

One of the most outrageous heavy metal acts is one you've probably never heard of. Yet , Thor, from Vancouver, British Columbia, has been hard rocking for decades. The band's onstage theatrics are much like the American group KISS in many ways, with very elaborate stage shows and heavy uses of lazers and special effects, and led by a championship body builder by the name of Jon Mikl Thor.

Since the late 70's, and with the debut of the pretty good 1977 album, KEEP THE DOGS AWAY, Thor has been hard rocking Canada, but has really completely failed to make much of a dent in the United States market, despite some of the very best stage shows of any musical act. Today, after more than 30 years, the band still plays shows and still records albums. In fact, the band is working on a new album right now, and has a great catalog of 10 studio albums, 4 live or compilation albums and 5 EPs. That's an impressive catalog for a band that's mostly meant for Canadian market consumption only.

Early in the career of the band, Thor would use a three level stage, and Jon Mikl Thor would battle with lazer generated dragons onstage. Canadian kids thought this was great. It was like Canada's own version of KISS. Thor was like a real life comic book hero-type. But it never really caught on outside of Canada.

But the debut album, KEEP THE DOGS AWAY, has recently been reissued as a 30th anniversary edition by the band. And while most of the band's songs are always largely forgettable, they were still a great footnote in the Canadian heavy metal scene and probably deserved far more success than they actually attained for all of the effort. Afterall, Jon Mikl Thor spent a lot of time in gym to get that ultra muscle-bound look. At least you could listen.

CD Universe does a real nice job offering as many of Thor albums still in print as possible. Check them out. This is a pretty good heavy metal act that went nowhere, but worth a listen or two.


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