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Only The Strong
November 2013
Released: 1985, Viper
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: JP

“Thor, The Mighty! Thor, The Brave! Crush the infidels in your way.” (Manowar, 1984)

Before Iron Maiden. Before Metallica. Before Slayer. Even before Manowar… there was THOR! In 1973, a young musician records his first demo/single in Vancouver, Canada what was to become the germination of ‘Body Rock, and the eventual evolution into one of Metal mightiest warriors and most prolific and enduring acts...THE MIGHTY THOR! In celebration of his 40th anniversary and in tribute to Canada’s longest running Metal band, I am very proud to present short reviews of 13 releases from across his career. Feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature including…

-Keep The Dogs Away (1977)

-Unchained (1983)

-Only The Strong (1985)

-Live In Detroit (1985)

-Anthorology (1997)

-Thunderstruck (1998)

-Dogz II (2001)

-Mutant (2003)

-Beastwomen From The Center of The Earth (2004)

-Thor Against The World (2005)

-Rock And Roll Nightmare (2006)

-Into The Noise (2008)

-Thunderstryke (2012)

Bar none, ONLY THE STRONG is Thor’s best album. This is the one that brought him the world stage with world tours, videos and great songs. This record has been released and released many times in many variations all over the world, and this was my first introduction to the mighty Thor back in 1985, when I was at the tender age of 15. The album opens with a spoken word intro entitled 2045 which is a classic ‘post-apocalyptic wasteland fantasy’ story where…’Only The Strong Can Survive! In the year 2045, I’ll only be 75 years old so I’ll let you know if this tale comes true. I can guarantee you I’ll be rocking out to the 60th anniversary reissue, which will be a satellite download directly into my bio-cyber, microchip implanted deep in my cerebellum frora few global credits.

The ten songs on Thor’s second album, just blow away everything he did previously. The great things hinted on the UNCHAINED EP in 1983 all came to realization on this record. The first single was ‘Knock ‘Em Down’ and a video was shot at the Ontario Science Center (there some trivia for ya kids!) and went into heavy rotation on Much Music and MTV. The whole album is quite heavy for 1985 and Thor howls his lungs out and the bands grounds and pounds like an MMA fighter in his prime. Every song is an anthem of Metal, a winner with not a weak track, many of these songs still make his set list to this day. If I had to pick one cut I’d might pick ‘When Gods Collide’ as my favourite, although ask me tomorrow and it might be ‘Thunder On The Tundra’.

ONLY THE STRONG is a fine example of how pure and heavy early Metal could be, with energy and even a sense of fun. This is his most known and popular album and some critics suggest that Thor peaked early and retread common ground ever since, which I don’t believe is the case as he had many great albums later in his career, but this was certainly a band with the looks, the sound, the charisma, the energy, the fire and enthusiasm of youth. Thor delivered the goods; the power and the glory, riding the razor on the cutting edge of 80’s Metal. Only the strong survive and almost 30 years later this album still stands the test of time. As trite as it may seem, if you only get one Thor album in your life, get ONLY THE STRONG.
Track Listing

1. 2045
2. Only the Strong
3. Start Raising Hell
4. Knock 'Em Down
5. Let the Blood Run Red
6. When Gods Collide
7. Rock the City
8. Now Comes the Storm
9. Thunder on the Tundra
10. Hot Flames
11. Ride of the Chariots


Thor Vocals
Pantera Vocals
Steve Price Guitar
Keith Zazzi Bass
Mike Favata Drums

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