Thor – Beyond The Pain Barrier
Thor is truly an amazing performer and has survived a long time in the rock and roll world. Starting as a title winning bodybuilder he became a muscleman who incorporated music in his show. Eventually he was fronting a band performing glam rock in the ’70s (Keep The Dogs Away), hair metal in the ’80s (Only The Strong) and hard alternative rock in the ’90s (Dogz II). In the 2000s and beyond he has returned more to his roots releasing albums encompassing many rock and metal styles.
In the late 1980s Thor acted in the cool, fun and hilariously cheesy rock and horror movies Rock And Roll Nightmare and Zombie Nightmare, both directed by his friend, genre film great, John Fasano. Thor provided the soundtracks for these movies as well. Fast forward to 2015 and Thor starred in another film, his own documentary called I Am Thor, which is certified 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The success of the documentary coupled with Cleopatra/Deadline Records releasing his classic albums in deluxe editions as well as 2015’s guest star studded Metal Avenger album, has put Thor back on top of Mount Olympus.
Now Thor, returns once again to bring us mere mortals a dozen more tales of heroes, battles, quests and gods from Beyond The Pain Barrier. This is a solid record for Thor and it takes a different approach than Metal Avenger. The only guests to be found here are the return of The Imps’ guitarist Frank Soda for a couple of songs. Many of the songs are more shredding and thrashy than Thor usually tends to be with lots of double kick drum. There are also some killer slower ballads like “When A Hero Dies” and “On Golden Sea” which were recorded with a different band lineup than the rest of the album. The record closes with an awesome extended epic “Quest For Valor” that is pure Thor – “Long ago this kingdom was peaceful …now death is everywhere”.
As a parting note, if you ever get the chance to see Thor perform live you must go. The guy has more costume changes than Cher and by costumes I mean different pieces of rubber armor. He uses many fun props and cool masks too. Often his shows include battles with evil characters in equally bad costumes who storm the stage. Thor usually performs feats of strength like blowing up hot water bottles until they explode, bending steel bars and wrapping mic stands around his own neck or having concrete blocks smashed on his chest. It is all great fun and not to be missed.