Reviewed: October, 2021
Released: 2021, Deadline
I’ve written so many reviews of Thor albums that I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself. Thor is one of Canada’s longest running, most prolific and best selling Metal artists and he is back with album # 27 or something. I’ve honestly lost track.
What is really cool is that Thor’s career can be categorized into four or five distinct phases and here we are deep into the fifth era.
ALLIANCE goes far beyond the cliche of ‘comeback’. Back about 10 years ago Thor said, ‘At what point do you stop saying ‘comeback’ and say, I’m here?’ Thor’s real comeback album, THUNDERSTRUCK was released in 1998. That was 23 years ago! He had released almost 20 studio albums since his ‘comeback’!
As a side note some would argue, myself included that TRIUMPHANT in 2002 was his real comeback after a pair of poorly received, experimental albums (THUNDERSTRUCK, DOGZ II) around the turn of the century. On TRIUMPHANT he returned to his core style and had not looked back.
What distinguishes his fifth phase is his band. Thor is a true charismatic rock personality has worked with tons of people over the years. However back in 2017 with the BEYOND THE PAIN BARRIER album he stabilized his band with the core of John Liebel (guitar), Matt Hamilton (guitar), Ted Jedlicki (bass) and Tom Croxton (drums). THOR will always be Thor but now it is a band perhaps more than ever. Unlike some periods in the past, the band is stable, productive, have a good record deal (by 2020 standards!) and they are killing it.
The band has really made Thor bring his A-game over the past few albums; the songs are heavier, faster, more dynamic. They are (slightly) younger Metal warriors who bring new influences and styles while staying true to the Thor sound.
ALLIANCE is a very strong Thor album. This is one of Thor’s ‘all star’ albums. Back in 2015 he did the METAL AVENGER album with guest appearances by veteran performers such as Jack Starr, Betsy Bitch, Jay Jay French and Fast Eddie Clarke. Now he is revisiting the concept again with ALLIANCE that features about 18 guest stars!
What cool is that many of the guests are from a younger generation of Metal warriors; people like Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid (Soilwork), Dan Cleary (Striker), Sean Peck (Cage), Trevor Church (Haunt) and Fang Vonwrathenstein of Lords Of The Trident, all who probably grew up listening to some Thor! That is the influence of John, Matt, Ted and Tom that I mentioned earlier, they are keeping Thor…. fresh is a stupid word… let’s call it contemporary!
Thor also has some of the elite, old guard on board, John Gallagher of Raven, Neil Turbin of Anthrax, Ross the Boss, man about town, Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. and Thor’s old buddy Frank Soda.
However, we all know just because an album has a bunch of high profile guests doesn’t give it a free ride across the rainbow bridge to the halls of Valhalla. The album has to be battle-tested and earn its righteous place in Odin’s great hall. ALLIANCE has passed that test.
The band is still on Deadline and we have a digipak with a booklet and a gorgeous album cover. ALLIANCE is also long! At 17 songs and 67 minutes it is his longest album. I might have dropped a couple of the mellower songs but I will never complain about too much Thor!
This is probably the fastest, heaviest Thor album in recent memory. All the guest stars shine making this album even more special. The lyrics are your standard Thor fare; battles, warriors, fighting and being true and I would not expect anything less. Combine rock solid production with great catchy, simple buy heavy songs and you have a victory.
Maybe you’ve been sitting in the fence about Thor. This would be the album to get. Maybe you are a member of the Thor Korr, in that case you are going to get this anyway. Either way, you need ALLIANCE in your library.
1. We Need Musclerock
2. Niflhel (Realm of the Dead)
3. The Ultimate Alliance
4. Ode to Odin
5. We Will Fight Forever
6. Because We Are Strong
7. Rock Around the World
8. Queen of the Spiders
9. Power Hungry
10. Bounty Hunter
12. Thor vs. The Juggernaut (War of the Gods)
13. Generation Now
14. After the Laughter
15. Good Stuff
17. We Will Fight Forever (Reprise)