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Hell Bent For Leather – again. - 40%

Corimngul, March 12th, 2006

Thor is a band with quite a story. The drummer and the first guitarist had been playing in a lot of bands, but in 1982 they bumped into Mabel Diaz, who was the girlfriend of Norberto “`Pappo” Napolitano, frontman of Riff, one of the more successful Argentinean heavy bands. She made the other band members help her forming a heavy metal band. Her relation with the Riff guy gave them several gigs, but without proper equipment they had to borrow instruments from the bands they played with.

They sold a few demos on their shows, and finally, in 1984 they got a record deal with the minimal company Umbral Records, and got a foot onto the Aleacion compilation. One of their songs on that disc is an instrumental, because the singer was sick in Hepatitis, and was unable to keep up with the others’ tempo. In 1985 they recorded El Pacto, which sold 5000 copies, cassettes included. Later they recorded their second album, finished it just in time to see the label go bankrupt and the boss fleeing to Mexico. Their tapes disappeared and the band split up.

The memory of Thor more or less faded away, until 2003 when CD-R:s of El Pacto started to circulate. They were sold in some shops in Buenos Aires, bringing back Thor’s forgotten heavy metal to the minds of the metalheads there. Thor probably wouldn’t be as sadly overlooked if their label hadn’t collapsed, but their satanic, Spanish-speaking music in the vein of Judas Priest’s Hell Bent For Leather is perhaps a the reason why they never succeeded.

The production is bad, but except for V8 south-american mid-eighties bands did have bad production. Except for that, what can I say; it’s just a weaker copy of Hell Bent For Leather. The song structures, the riffs, and the tempos – it all reminds of classic Priest. It does however lack the greatness of the original. The production is one factor; the weaker guitar parts and the repetitive drums are other factors. The main minus though, is the vocalist. Obviously it takes a lot to really compare to Halford, but this one has one annoying way to end each strophe, going up a little and making some twisted grimace towards the end.

The real low-water mark is Blasfemias which doesn’t go anywhere, plodding along in its own useless tempo for four minutes and a third, featuring the vocalist’s stupid laughs and an intro like a wrong mix of The Green Manalish. Siglo XV is the best song, mainly because of its excellent main riff, which once again, I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere else…

This is just metal we’ve heard before, and either you approve with hearing it again, this time from Argentina, or you do as I do, get one of the classics down and enjoy something that’s way better in every thinkable way. You know, after all, it’s more fun having a copy than actually listening to it, than actually listening to it all. There are worse albums, much worse albums but most of all there are albums being better, original with nicer production and a vocalist who doesn’t sound like an idiot. Strictly Thor’s music isn’t bad, but I’d much rather hear it from another band.