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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Metal Avenger

Review by Gary Hill

The latest disc from Thor features a lot of exceptional guests. Musically, it’s actually pretty diverse, working its way out of metal a lot of the time. Still, Thor’s catalog is metal and a lot of this qualifies, so I’m still putting it in that genre at MSJ. I have to say that this disc doesn’t work as well for me as some of his others. Some of it seems a bit awkward. Some leans on being trite. That said, there are enough really strong songs here to make it work as a whole. There are a few here that I’d consider “must have.” When you add in all the cool guests, this is well worth owning.

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Track by Track Review
Out of Control

Musically this is a killer old school metal tune. Some of the vocals are spoken and rather theatrical. Other parts are more classic metal. There are some parts of this (both musical and vocal) that call to mind European epic metal). It even turns toward thrash a bit at one point.

Metal Avenger feat. Fast Eddie Clarke
This is a more mainstream metal song. It still gets a little theatrical, but overall this screamer feels like a modern epic metal song, but set at the hard edged furious end of that sonic spectrum.
Kings of Thunder and Lightning
This screamer makes me think of Manowar in a lot of ways. It’s another fast paced and thundering jam. The guitar solo lands closer to melodic hard rock than metal at times, though.
Master of Revenge feat. Henry Rollins
Less metal and more just seriously hard rock, I like this song quite a bit. It’s also just cool that Rollins is included. It’s a bit of a change, which is a good thing. It’s still furious, though.
I love this scorching hot tune. It’s all metal, but there is some Alice in Chains and maybe Godsmack in the mix. It’s one of my favorites here. It’s a screamer that’s accessible.
The Hammer feat. Jay Jay French
This scorcher feels like a cross between Rob Zombie and Black Label Society to me. It’s another highlight of the set. I can also make out some Alice in Chains and Guns ‘N Roses, too.
Taste of Victory feat. Rikk Agnew
I like the choruses on this, but the verses don’t work all that well. It’s basically an anthemic metal cut with a vocal duet.
Heavy Load
This stomper is a real grind. I like it. It’s nothing fancy, but it just works really well. I particularly like the psychedelic grunge metal jam mid-track.
Legions of the Psykon World
This is definitely very much an epic metal cruncher. Yet, I can also make out some hints of Alice Cooper here. This screamer is a science fiction story.
Drive feat. Cheetah Chrome
I’ve always been a big fan of The Dead Boys and their guitarist Cheetah Chrome. So, that makes this an obvious winner to me from the start. This has a fierce hard rock sound to it. It’s probably not metal, but it’s on fire. I can hear some hints of Alice Cooper on this thing, too. The “tonight, tonight, tonight” part almost makes me think of Cheap Trick. This is a highlight of the set, really.
Stars Upon Stars feat. Betsy B***h
This balladic cut is a bit weird. There’s sort of a 50s music vibe and a duet. I don’t really like this. It’s a little cheesy and overproduced.
T.H.O.R. feat. Joey S***head
Now, this is more like it. This does feel a bit like DOA. I can make out some Alice Cooper here, too. The killer chorus is awesome, but the whole piece is meaty. It might not be metal, but it sure works. It’s one of my favorites of the disc.
Atomic Man
We’re back into more pure metal territory here. This song is good, but it’s not all that special.
Wings of Destiny
There’s a bit of a punk edge to this. I can also make out some Sweet-like glam rock. Yet, it’s also metal, ala Manowar. This is another that’s not great, but definitely good.
Law of the Universe
More or less a power ballad, this has its moments, but parts of it are a bit awkward. I don’t think I would have ended the set with this, really.


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