Thor - Ride of the Iron Horse / Cleopatra Records (2024)

Thor – Ride Of The Iron Horse (Album Review)

Of the extensive collection of bands that arose around the globe during Heavy Metal’s formative years, few have sustained the longevity of Thor. Initially begun as a concept project by Jon Mikl Thor back in 1973, he would take on the persona of Thor in the band, and with a diverse background in music, history, and bodybuilding, he became known as The Legendary Rock Warrior. With a flair for theatricals, Thor’s live shows would become must attend experiences, and Jon Mikl Thor would harness his energy into even starring in various films throughout the ‘80s; including known Horror flicks such as 1986’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare and 1987’s Zombie Nightmare. A force to be reckoned with, as a band, Thor would also build a following in the Heavy Metal world, and their tenacity would earn them a platinum record in their home country of Canada with 1985’s Only the Strong.

Simply put, if you fancy yourself a Heavy Metal fan, then you have to know of Thor, but did you know they are now celebrating an epic 50 years of music? A grand milestone, in honor of the occasion Thor strikes the hammer to earth in 2024 with the new album Ride Of The Iron Horse. A follow up to the impressive 2021 album Alliance (which features guest appearances from Raven’s John Gallagher to Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid), Ride Of The Iron Horse arrives on March 22nd through Cleopatra Records on CD, Coke Bottle Green vinyl, as well as digital platforms. A total of 15 tracks (including 2 bonuses), as a celebration of 50 long years, what you get is a mix of brand-new Thor tunes, but also previously, never before, unreleased recordings. So, the question is – what does this latest Heavy Metal party have to offer?

Well, if you have followed Thor through the decades then you are aware of the band’s propensity for creating loud, power, energized Heavy Metal. Something all their own, you could easily enjoy listening to their music next to Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, or Judas Priest; and Thor albums such as 1977’s Keep the Dogs Away, as well as 1985’s Only the Strong are essential listens. This in mind, Thor has kept true to Heavy Metal through the years with plenty of tasty music to dig into. Now, with Ride Of The Iron Horse, the sounds of Thor are uniquely brought to forefront.

As mentioned, Thor himself has a very eclectic barrel of experience. Very much a literate man, his lyrics combine storytelling, history, but also emotions of the human spirit. With this he fearlessly creates music in his own light without concern of the shallow outside world’s opinions. Keeping this in mind, Ride Of The Iron Horse really dips and dives all over the spectrum. For example, the album’s lead/title-track almost takes on a Country Rock infused with traditional Heavy Metal vibe. This is while “Lightning” mixes an almost New Wave style into the rhythm and it becomes quite addictive.

Just two of the new songs from this collection, in total there are eight, with other standouts including “Peace by Piece,” “No Time For Games,” but also “Unlock The Power.” Joining these you have seven unreleased tracks and demos ranging from archival material between 1979 and 2002. Something quite interesting, you cannot help but be taken in by 1987 unreleased “Flight Of The Striker” or 1979’s killer “Thunder On The Mountain.” Then there is the very head-turning, but impossible to ignore 1999 song “To The Extreme;” something which would give Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit a run for their money in the Nu-Metal realm. 

Overall, Thor is a treasure of Heavy Metal glory. The band has sustained themselves through the ebbs and flows of the modern music landscape and triumphed to say – Never mind you, we’ll do what we want! That is why Ride Of The Iron Horse is a great way for them to celebrate 50 years and counting, and as a result, Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thor - Ride of the Iron Horse / Cleopatra Records (2024)
Thor – Ride of the Iron Horse / Cleopatra Records (2024)

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