The name Thor brings many images to mind. Some think of the mythical hero. Others think of the comic book hero. More still think of Chris Hemsworth. Thor is a god, a comic book superhero, and a mad Viking warrior. Another version of Thor exists, however. One version brings all of those things together and adds metal guitars. That version is Jon Mikil Thor’s creation, the heavy metal band — THOR.

metal
It looks exactly like it sounds.

What is this version of Thor? How does the God of Thunder sing heavy metal? Would fans of the comic enjoy it? Since you’re all wondering let’s find out.

The Band

metal

THOR came to be in the 1970’s. Canadian Jon Mikil Thor lived as a bodybuilder/musician, playing in a concept band. Because of the nature of the band, Thor functioned as Mikil’s alter ego on stage. As a result, the band eventually restructured around the character. They recorded their first album on God of Thunder Records (really) and earned a residency in Las Vegas. Most noteworthy, producer Merv Griffin was amazed by the band and helped sign them to RCA. THOR released albums like KEEP THE DOGS AWAY and UNCHAINED, which got them noticed in England. THOR experienced massive success overseas and released albums through 1987. Mikil stopped performing after many years but resurfaced in the 1990’s, as THOR released new albums and has toured extensively since. Furthermore, they released a new album in 2015 called, THE METAL AVENGER, and in 2017, recorded BEYOND THE PAIN BARRIER.

READ: THOR might play with the Norse myths, but Marvel does too!

The God

Mikil’s career spans music, acting, and bodybuilding. He holds forty body building titles across the US and Canada (including Mr. Canada AND Mr. USA). Mikil stated he listened to heavy metal working out. Hence, THOR was his way of combing the two. Therefore, Mikil became famous for performing feats of strength on stage. He bent steel bars in his teeth, inflated hot water bottles to bursting, and broke bricks on his chest.

Also, Mikl wrote THOR’s material, peppering heavy metal posturing with Viking myth.  The rigors of the music industry took their toll, however. Mikl suffered a nervous breakdown and retired from music. He acted in some films but eventually resurfaced to perform once again. A documentary, I AM THOR, chronicles his full story (100% at RottenTomatoes).

READ: Canada gave us a metal god.  Japan gave us… a zebra?

Myth, Music, and Metal

THOR’s image functions as a huge part of the band. The music could easily be window dressing to the epic album covers and live shows. Mikl is not the best singer either; his voice is capable, but that’s all. Thankfully, the music slams home with the force of a hammer. THOR’s albums vibrate with as much energy as any classic 80’s metal. Therefore, the riffs are hard, the hooks are strong, and Mikl gives his all to every performance. The albums fail to capture the live experience, but they are a damn fun listen. It’s a good, cheesy, slice of metal for anyone who likes to bang their head and have a good time.

Comics fans will find true joy in the lyrics. First of all, Mikl lives his gimmick to the fullest, penning metal anthems of pure fantasy. Consequently, the lyrics read as the epic stories fans love reading in Marvel’s THOR. Titles like “Kings of Thunder and Lightning,” “The Hammer,” “Asgardia,” and most of all, “Raganarok” showcase a love of the myth. Mikl knows his material and gleefully embraces all the heavy metal posturing and faux-epicness. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it silly? Oh yeah. Would fans of Marvel’s THOR sing along to epic tales of Asgard, blood, and thunder?

Oh hell yeah.

Final Echoes of Thunder

In conclusion, THOR may not be for everyone. There is a great deal of silliness to the band, and Mikl’s lyrics of strength and power can seem repetitive. That same silliness and simple nature showcase the beauty of the band though. THOR is a comic book brought to life with metal guitars and epic costumes. Think about it. Comic fans spend time dressing at their heroes. Hence, THOR shows how to live the dream. The enthusiasm and joy of epic cosplaying shine through, with plenty of respect to the source material.  So, if you enjoy metal or myth or comics, pick up a THOR album and take a head banging trip across the Bifrost.

It’s not like Thor was gonna sing acoustic ballads, anyway.

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